Shriners Spotlight: Twin Cities

22nd June 2023

It’s that special time of the month again as Open Bionics continues through June with special recognition paid to Shriners Children’s. It has been a unique journey so far as we’ve learned about humble fraternity beginnings, everything the amazing Lexington facility has to offer patients, and we’ve taken a good look at a special Hero Arm power user from the Lexington clinic. Shriners Children’s truly has a part to play in the lives of their patients that cannot ever be undervalued. This week, we take a deep dive into another Shriners clinic that is working to make a difference; Shriners Children’s Twin Cities. 

First opened in March 1923, the original 60-bed hospital became the third location in the healthcare system. Eleven acres of land on East River Parkway along the Mississippi River, as close as possible to the boundaries of St. Paul and Minneapolis, was purchased for $20,000. The first patient treated was a boy named John P. Sharp from Browning, Montana. Fast forward a few decades, in 1956, an addition to the facility was built to house a new outpatient department, an auditorium, and a room for the Women’s Auxiliary. In 1976, the first patient at Shriners Children’s Twin Cities was fitted with a myoelectric prosthesis, which uses muscle control and is the same technology used in Hero Arm. 

Shriners Children’s Twin Cities is no stranger to strategic partnerships as well. Since the beginnings in the 1920s, Twin Cities and Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare have maintained a relationship with a shared mission to provide high-quality care to children with orthopedic and neuromuscular conditions, and to this day continue to work together to ensure their patients receive the high-quality specialized care that they deserve. 

Further expansions took place to Twin Cities in 1990, and the second hospital building was built on the same land on East River Parkway and opened in April of that year. The addition included a 40-bed hospital with a parent accommodation center, two surgical suites, an in-house orthotics and prosthetics lab, and a rehabilitation services suite complete with a therapeutic pool. Twin Cities takes special pride in the progression of advanced medical care over the decades, with the average length of stay for a patient being 65 days in 1970. 35 days in 1980, 8.9 days in 1988, and ultimately down to 2.5 days in 2015.

In 2018, Shriners Children’s Twin Cities made the transition from a hospital to an outpatient clinic, performing surgeries at neighboring hospitals. In June of 2020, Shriners Children’s Twin Cities moved from their original home on East River Parkway to a new clinic in Woodbury, Minnesota, an eastern suburb of the Twin Cities. Today, in their Woodbury facility, Shriners Twin Cities provides pediatric orthopedic care; conditions that are bone, joint or muscle related, clinic care, orthotics & prosthetics services, physical & occupational therapy, X-ray, social work, child life care, rheumatology care, and specialized plastic surgery. In addition, Twin Cities orthopedics department is consistently recognized as a leader in pediatric orthopedic care, making their location a top choice for patients. 

Another unique partnership opportunity came about in the fall of 2020, when Twin Cities joined with Blank Children’s Hospital to create Blank Children’s Orthopedics. The idea stemmed from a need to expand orthopedic care at Blank Children’s Hospital, and the new facility is now staffed by two Shriners Twin Cities physicians to continue the mission of both their quality patient care and Blank Children’s. 

Open Bionics is extremely grateful for the service provided to every patient by the Shriners Twin Cities care team. Their commitment to improving the lives of children can never be understated. Shriners Twin Cities has, in addition, provided top notch care to those who’ve been fitted with Hero Arms, and we can’t wait to shine a spotlight soon on a Shriners Twin Cities Hero Arm user. Stay tuned! To learn more about Shriners Children’s Twin Cities, please visit To learn more about Open Bionics and the Hero Arm, visit