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December 21, 2018

School of Medicine Mini-History

In celebration of the 175th anniversary of the School of Medicine we have compiled this mini-history. A published history of the School was written for the Centennial in 1943. This mini-history just highlights a few aspects of the School’s 175 year history. The University Archives holds over 860 linear feet of records of the School. Two histories and many articles have been published about the School.

School of Medicine Harland Goff Wood Building

The School of Medicine was established in 1843 as the Cleveland Medical College. As early as 1834-1835, WRC trustees had considered establishing a medical school.

1843 - Cleveland Medical College
1844 - Cleveland Medical College renamed Medical Department of Western Reserve College (WRC)
1881 - Medical Department of WRC renamed Medical Department of Western Reserve University (WRU)
1913 - Medical Department of WRU renamed the School of Medicine of WRU

Portrait of Jared Potter Kirtland

1843-3/1844 and 2/1861-5/1873 - John Lang Cassels
3/1844-2/1846 and 10/1846-2/1861 - John Delamater
2/1846-10/1846 - Jared Potter Kirtland
5/1873-7/1881 - John Bennitt
7/1881-3/1883 - William Johnston Scott
3/1883-9/1893 - Gustav Carl Erich Weber
9/1893-5/1895 - Isaac Newton Himes
5/1895-6/1900 - Hunter Holmes Powell
6/1900-1912 - Benjamin Love Milliken
1912-11/1928 - Carl August Hamann
11/1928-7/1944 - Torald Hermann Sollman
4/1945-8/1959 - Joseph Treloar Wearn
9/1959-8/1966 - Douglas Danford Bond
9/1966-6/1980 - Frederick Chapman Robbins
7/1980-7/1989 - Richard E. Behrman
8/1989-7/1990 - Howard S. Sudak, Acting Dean
7/1990-8/1995 - Neil S. Cherniack
9/1995-6/2002 - Nathan Berger (Interim Dean 9/1995-8/1996)
7/2002-3/2003 - Jerold Goldberg, Acting Dean
4/2003-9/2006 - Ralph I. Horwitz
9/2006-6/2020 - Pamela Bowes Davis (Interim Dean 9/2006-9/2007)

While WRC was located in Hudson, Ohio, the Medicial Department was located in downtown Cleveland. The School moved to University Circle in 1924. It was part of the new medical campus which included the new Medical School building (now called the Wood Building), Animal House, Institute of Pathology and University Hospitals' buildings: Lakeside Hospital, Hanna Pavilion, Nurses’ Dormitories (Robb, Mather, Lowman, Harvey). A new Power House was built to service the Medical School buildings and University Hospitals. The dedication of the new Medical School building was in conjunction with the inauguration of Robert E. Vinson as President of Western Reserve University.

1843-1846 rented quarters in the Mechanics Block, southeast corner of Ontario and Prospects streets
1846-1885 Medical School, southeast corner of East 9th Street and St. Clair Avenue
1887-1924 Medical School, southeast corner of East 9th Street and St. Clair Avenue (same site as previous)
1898-1924 Physiological Laboratory, next to main Medical School building at East 9th and St. Clair Avenue
1908-1924 H. K. Cushing Laboratory, East 9th Street and St. Clair Avenue
1924-current use: Harland Goff Wood Building
1924-1943?: Animal House, behind Wood Building
1929-current use: Institute of Pathology
1930-?: Animal House, between Wood Building and first Animal House
1962-current use: Joseph Treloar Wearn Laboratory for Medical Research
1971-current use: Frederick C. Robbins Building (East Wing)
1971-current use: Lester M. and Ruth P. Sears Administration Tower
1993-current use: Richard F. Celeste Biomedical Research Building
2003-current use: Harland Goff Wood Building Research Tower (addition to Wood Building)
Coming in 2019: Health Education Campus

The School has had affiliations with numerous hospitals over the years including: MetroHealth Hospitals System (City Hospital, County Hospital, Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital, Sunny Acres, Highland View Hospital), Mt. Sinai Medical Center, St. Luke’s Hospital, University Hospitals of Cleveland (including Lakeside Hospital, Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, MacDonald Hospital, Hanna House, Hanna Pavilion), Veteran’s Administration Hospital, Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Early Education (taken from Significant Dates in the History of the School of Medicine, Western Reserve University by Frederick C. Waite)
The first classes began 11/1/1843. This first session was 16 weeks. In 1846 two sessions of 16 weeks each was required.

In 1888 graded courses of three years was mandatory. “Required individual laboratory work in Physiology established, the first in the west, and probably the first in the United States.”

In 1895 the optional four year courses established. The first four year class graduated in 1899 (5 men).

In 1901 entrance requirement of three years work in a college of arts and sciences became effective.

Students celebrate at Match Day, 1987

Much has been written about the 1952 Medical School curriculum revision which was widely adopted by other medical schools. For more information you can read the Greer Williams book, Western Reserve’s Experiment in Medical Education and Its Outcome. This curriculum has been revised over time and in 2006 the School introduced the Western Reserve 2 (WR2) Curriculum.

The School of Medicine entered into an agreement with the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in 2002 to form the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of CWRU. This 5-year program trains physician investigators. The first class graduated in 2009.

Absorbed Schools
In 1910 the School absorbed the Medical Department of Ohio Wesleyan University (also known as the Cleveland College of Physicians and Surgeons). The Medical Department of Ohio Wesleyan (1896-1910) was the successor school of several rival Cleveland-based medical schools, including the Charity Hospital Medical College (1865-1869) and the Medical Department of the University of Wooster (1869-1896).

Alumni of the School of Medicine have taken their knowledge around the world and served in a number of capacities beyond their role as physicians. Such roles include missionaries, educators, researchers, military, and government service (such as Surgeon General and head of Centers for Disease Control).

Professor J. J. MacLeod with students, ca. 1910

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