How can we help you?



Comments, compliments or concerns?
We look forward to your feedback.


Cutting-edge medicine for the musculoskeletal system

Balgrist University Hospital is a private non-profit institution managed according to economic principles.

Key competences

  • Balgrist University Hospital is a highly specialized center of competence for the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients with musculoskeletal system problems.
  • As a university institution, we train future doctors on behalf of the University of Zurich. This training covers the fields of orthopedics, spinal cord injuries, rheumatology and physical medicine, sports medicine, neuro-urology, chiropractics, radiology and anesthesiology.
  • We focus on improving the quality of future health care, particularly in musculoskeletal medicine, through research, innovation and development.

Evolution in musculoskeletal medicine

Balgrist University Hospital sees it as its responsibility to critically question and expand current knowledge. In the "Evolution in Musculoskeletal Medicine" process, we identify orthopedic complaints and translate these into scientific questions that we address through our own fundamental research. This is followed by translation - taking the findings back to the patient and monitoring the evidence. This task is performed by so-called "Physician Scientists". These are genuinely interested, scientifically trained doctors who work together with fundamental researchers. Balgrist University Hospital and the Balgrist Campus collaborate under this doctrine as a highly efficient unit for the benefit of current and future patients.

History of Balgrist University Hospital

Balgrist University Hospital developed from the ‘Balgrist Sanatorium,’ which was founded in 1912. This was an institution dedicated to treating, caring for, educating and training physically disabled children to enable them to join the working world. Balgrist University Hospital was, and still is, operated by the Swiss Balgrist Association, which was established in 1909. Over time, the demands placed on the hospital became increasingly more complex. In 1945, it became known as the University of Zurich Orthopedic Hospital. In 1990, the third center in Switzerland for people with spinal cord injuries opened its doors in a large, purpose-built complex. We rely on sponsors to help us perform and finance our numerous tasks. Our grateful thanks go to our benefactors for their active support.

Balgrist history (PDF)

Orthopedic milestones at the Balgrist

Wilhelm Schulthess first Chief Physician (1912)

Wilhelm Schulthess (1855–1917) used his personal authority to help shape the destinies of physically disabled children throughout Switzerland. He was the founder, first Chief Physician and Director of the Balgrist Sanatorium. He acquired worldwide renown through his research into scoliosis.

University Orthopedic Hospital (1945)

Shortly after the end of the Second World War, the hospital started to specialize in orthopedics and its Director, Richard Scherb, became the first Associate Professor for Orthopedics at the Faculty of Medicine in Zurich University.

Opening of the building extension (1966)

There was an increasing shortage in the number of beds. 24 million Swiss Francs were used to build a multi-level ward, a treatment wing with a connected lecture hall, an office wing and large nurses’ home. The hospital was now able to offer 250 beds, changed its structure and became known as the "Swiss Balgrist Association".

Opening of the first research building (1995)

This was followed by a general restructuring: an interdisciplinary research wing was brought into operation in former building 2. During the last stages of the project, the newly structured residential facilities and the administration department moved into former building 1 in 1996. Christian Gerber (*1952) was appointed as Hospital Director and Chief Orthopedic Physician. He ran the Balgrist for the next 22 years.

A patient-focused university hospital (2017)

Mazda Farshad (*1982), a spinal surgeon, is appointed as Professor of Orthopedics and Medical Director of the hospital. He is co-founder of the Department for Clinical and Applied Research and the University Spine Center. His innovative drive and high quality standards enable Balgrist University Hospital to continue developing as a leading orthopedic hospital.

New hospital strategy outlined (2019)

Today, Balgrist University Hospital is led by a Medical Director, Mazda Farshad, and a Managing Director, Thomas Huggler. Our patients are the focus of all our activities, together with performing our mandate as a university provider of tertiary care when handling very complex cases.