Our Namesake: First Lady Barbara Bush
The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center was named in honor of first lady Barbara Bush for her long-standing commitment to children's issues around the world. It takes a great deal of support to start a children’s hospital. It was clear when the hospital was founded in 1995 that Mrs. Bush, a well-known advocate for literacy and the well-being of young people and part-time Maine resident, was someone who could help lead the way.
Both President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush were there when the children’s hospital inpatient unit opened in 1998, and both George and Barbara Bush have taken an active interest in the hospital over the years.
Mrs. Bush has visited many times, including on her 86th birthday in 2011, when she read patients a favorite children’s book, “Learning to Ski with Mr. Magee” by Maine author Chris Van Dusen. In addition to promoting health, Mrs. Bush is also a strong advocate for children’s literacy and learning programs. Through efforts like the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, Mrs. Bush helps empower children and families to succeed by embracing reading.
Maine Medical Center is extremely proud to support Barbara Bush’s legacy through The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. In recent years, we have sought to honor and sustain that legacy of support by establishing The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital specialty license plate program. When the former first lady learned a patient was helping to gather signatures in support of the license plate effort, she wrote him a letter of encouragement and later spoke with him over video chat.
“For me, the very best thing to happen was the great honor you gave me when you put my name on your children’s hospital,” Mrs. Bush said in a 2013 interview at MMC. “Now, I know it’s not my hospital. It’s ours. You make each patient and member of the family feel comforted that they are in such loving, caring hands.”