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In October 1893 the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine opened. It was the first graduate school of medicine in the United States and the first to admit women on equal terms as men.
The intention of the university trustees and president Daniel C. Gilman had been to have the school built and ready for operation by the time The Johns Hopkins Hospital opened in 1889. However, the income from Johns Hopkins’ 1873 endowment for the university had dwindled over time, limiting options for building the school. Gilman had begun to raise funds when Mary Elizabeth Garrett and her circle of progressive friends formed the Women’s Medical Fund and mounted a nation-wide campaign to raise donations and social awareness, requiring as a provision for receipt of their eventual donation that women be admitted as students, appointed to the faculty, and afforded the same opportunities as their male colleagues. They also required rigorous academic standards for admission. The Women’s Fund campaign finally prevailed after Garrett added a large sum from her personal fortune. The university accepted the donations of Garrett and the Women’s Medical Fund as well as the terms attached to the gift.
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In the years preceding the Women’s Fund campaign the university had assembled a top-notch faculty for the medical school that included William H. Welch, William Osler, William S. Halsted and Howard A. Kelly. Welch, the first faculty appointment to the school of medicine, and Gilman were the main intellectual architects of the curriculum. Over the decades, the school evolved into one of the leading models for medical education.
From the beginning, the school set standards that would be followed by other medical schools. It was the first medical school in the United States to make the college degree a requirement of admission. For the first time, all professors in the preclinical branches served on a full-time university basis. Curriculum advances included extensive intern and residency training and the creation of full-time clinical departments. Medical students at Johns Hopkins became an integral part of the staff of The Johns Hopkins Hospital, learning largely by participation in patient care in addition to attendance at lectures. They also participated in research activities in the laboratories and clinics under the supervision of faculty members.
The school’s faculty has a distinguished history of contributions to medical advances and training outstanding physicians and scientists. There are over thirty academic departments, numerous graduate and clinical training programs, and extensive state of the art biomedical research and treatment facilities. The school trains medical and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in a wide range of specialties, internships, and residencies.
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is now an integral part of Johns Hopkins Medicine, the governing structure which coordinates operations of the school and The Johns Hopkins Health System. The dean of the school of medicine serves as CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine.
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Records document the founding, governance, and executive leadership of the school from its inception to today. There are records pertaining to medical education, research, student life, as well as the school’s academic departments and laboratories, and publications.
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