Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

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Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Vanderbilt School of Medicine logo.svg
Type Private
Established 1875
Parent institution
Vanderbilt University
Endowment US$551 million[1]
Dean Jeff Balser
Academic staff
2,718 (1,630 full-time, 996 part-time/voluntary, and 92 emeritus)
Students 1029 Total
434 MD
501 PhD
88 MD-PhD
Address 1161 21st Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee, United States
36°08′38″N 86°48′04″W / 36.144°N 86.801°W / 36.144; -86.801Coordinates: 36°08′38″N 86°48′04″W / 36.144°N 86.801°W / 36.144; -86.801
Campus Urban

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine is a gradaute medical school of Vanderbilt University located in Nashville, Tennessee. Located in the Vanderbilt University Medical Center on the southeastern side of the Vanderbilt University campus, the School of Medicine claims several Nobel laureates in the field of medicine. Through the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network, VUSM is affiliated with over 60 hospitals and 5,000 clinicians across Tennessee and five neighboring states, managing more than 2 million patient visits each year. It is considered one of the largest academic medical centers in the United States and is the primary resource for specialty and primary care in hundreds of adult and pediatric specialties for patients throughout the Mid-South.[2]


The Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (abbreviated VUSM) was founded in 1851 as the school of medicine at the University of Nashville and only became affiliated with Vanderbilt University in 1874.[3] The first degrees issued by Vanderbilt University were to 61 Doctors of Medicine in February 1875, thanks to an arrangement that recognized the University of Nashville's medical school as serving both institutions. The arrangement continued for 20 more years, until the school was reorganized under the control of the Vanderbilt Board of Trustees.[3] In the early days, the School of Medicine was owned and operated as a private property of the practicing physicians who composed the faculty and received the fees paid by students. At this time, the course of medical instruction consisted of just three years of schooling, which was extended to four years starting in 1898.[3] Vanderbilt University made no financial contribution to the school's support and exercised no control over admission requirements, the curriculum, or standards for graduation. In 1925, the school moved from the old South Campus across town to the main campus, thus integrating instruction in the medical sciences with the rest of the university.

The school changed fundamentally during the next decades. The new medical campus finally brought together the School of Medicine, its hospital, the outpatient clinics, laboratory space, and medical library into one location.[3] The move also put the school adjacent to the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, which had been founded in 1909.[3] Other internal developments included the establishment of a department of Pediatrics (1928) and a department of Radiology (1936) and the acquisition of one of the school's first large research grants, a $250,000 award from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1932.[3] The research happening at Vanderbilt during this time included advancements that had far-reaching implications for the practice of medicine. Dr. Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas conducted research into Blue baby syndrome that led to their 1933 medical-first neonatal cardiothoracic surgery, which formed the basis for the development of the Blalock–Taussig shunt, a life-saving procedure for infants with the Tetralogy of Fallot.[3][4] And in the early 1940s, the process for culturing vaccines in chick embryos was developed by Vanderbilt's Dr. Ernest William Goodpasture, a feat that allowed for the mass production of vaccines for diseases like yellow fever, smallpox, and typhus.[3] During the latter half of the 20th century, there was a further expansion of the school's clinical mission and research achievements. The school established a formal department of Anesthesiology in 1945 to build on the school's already significant commitment to the use of anesthetics during procedures, which had its roots in the development of the first ether-oxygen apparatus in 1907 by Vanderbilt's Dr. James Gwathmey.[3] The research at the school received a boost with the founding of a federally-funded Clinical Research Center in 1960.[3] The services that the school and medical center provided for children grew tremendously with the start of a department of Neonatology and the world's first Neonatal intensive care unit in 1961,[5] led by Dr. Mildred T. Stahlman, and the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, which opened its doors in 1970.[3] The research at the school of medicine also garnered two Nobel prizes during this time, with the 1971 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine going to Dr. Earl Wilbur Sutherland Jr. for his work on cyclic AMP[6] and Dr. Stanley Cohen sharing in the 1986 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his work on growth factors.[7]

While Vanderbilt University has owned and operated the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) that serves the medical school for much of the its history, in 2016 the hospitals and clinics of the medical center were incorporated into a new entity which operates independent of Vanderbilt University's control. This organization, also called the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, is clinically and academically affiliated with Vanderbilt University.[8]

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine ranks 14th among the nation’s elite programs, according to U.S. News and World Report's annual ranking of top medical schools for research, released in the 2018 edition of America's Best Graduate Schools. Vanderbilt University School of Medicine also ranks 27th in the top medical schools for primary care. Vanderbilt University School of Medicine also ranks No. 8 in the nation among U.S. medical schools in total grant support provided through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The new ranking raises VUSM’s standing two spots from the No. 10 position it held last year. Among VUSM’s basic science departments, Biochemistry ranks third; Cell and Developmental Biology, first; Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, third; and Pharmacology, sixth. Six clinical departments ranked among the top 10, including: Internal Medicine, third; Ophthalmology, ninth; Otolaryngology and Hearing & Speech Sciences, sixth; Pediatrics, fourth; Radiology & Radiologic Sciences, eighth; and Surgery, eighth.

Medical Center[edit]

The Vanderbilt University Medical Center is the only Level I Trauma Center in Middle Tennessee.[9] The trauma center serves a large geographic area stretching from Southern Kentucky to Northern Alabama in what amounts to a 65,000-square-mile catchment area.[10] A part of Vanderbilt Health, VUMC has 834 licensed beds between Vanderbilt University Hospital, Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital and Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital. According to U.S. News & World Report's 2015-16 rankings, VUMC is the No. 1 hospital in the Nashville metro area and in Tennessee overall. The following units comprise VUMC:[11]

The 11-story Doctor's Office Tower of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, which was completed in 2004.
  • Vanderbilt University Hospital
  • Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
  • Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
  • The Vanderbilt Clinic
  • Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center
  • Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital
  • Eskind Biomedical Library
  • Vanderbilt Sports Medicine
  • Dayani Human Performance Center
  • Vanderbilt Page Campbell Heart Institute
  • Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
  • Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

With over 21,500 employees (including 2,876 full-time faculty), Vanderbilt is the largest private employer in Middle Tennessee and the second largest in the state (after FedEx, headquartered in Memphis). Approximately 74% of the university's faculty and staff are employed by the Medical Center.[9]

Degrees awarded[edit]

As of 2017, the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine offers 10 types of single degree programs:[8]

  • Master of Education of the Deaf
  • Master of Laboratory Investigation
  • Master of Public Health
  • Master of Science in Applied Clinical Informatics
  • Master of Science in Clinical Investigation
  • Master of Science in Medical Physics
  • Master of Science (Speech-Language Pathology)
  • Doctor of Audiology
  • Doctor of Medical Physics
  • Doctor of Medicine

Also as of 2017, the school offers 9 types of dual degree programs:[8]

  • M.D./Ph.D. through a Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)
  • M.D./J.D.
  • M.D./M.S. in Biomedical Informatics
  • M.D./M.Div. and M.D./M.T.S.
  • M.D./M.Ed.
  • M.D./M.P.H.
  • M.D./MBA
  • M.D./M.A. in Medicine, Health, and Society

The school also offers a Medical Innovators Development Program (MIDP), which is an M.D. track tailored to individuals who already hold a doctoral degree in engineering or applied sciences.[8]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Vanderbilt Medicine - Basic Facts". Retrieved February 25, 2007. 
  2. ^ Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of. "About Vanderbilt University Medical Center". Retrieved 2018-05-03. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Wood, Wayne (October 20, 2000). "Vanderbilt Medical School celebrates 125th anniversary". VUMC Reporter. Archived from the original on 2015-03-31. Retrieved May 20, 2017. 
  4. ^ Noonan, Jacqueline A. (2004-08-01). "A History of Pediatric Specialties: The Development of Pediatric Cardiology". Pediatric Research. 56 (2): 298–306. doi:10.1203/01.PDR.0000132662.73362.96. ISSN 0031-3998. 
  5. ^ a b Stahlman, Mildred T. (1 July 1984). "Newborn intensive care: Success or failure?". The Journal of Pediatrics. 105 (1). doi:10.1016/S0022-3476(84)80386-8. ISSN 0022-3476. 
  6. ^ "Earl W. Sutherland, Jr. - Facts". Retrieved 2017-06-01. 
  7. ^ "Stanley Cohen - Facts". Retrieved 2017-06-01. 
  8. ^ a b c d "School of Medicine Catalog" (PDF). Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Vanderbilt University News Service (January 2008). "RE:VU: Quick Facts about Vanderbilt". Vanderbilt University. Archived from the original on 2007-06-25. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  10. ^ Team, VUMC Web Development. "Center for Trauma, Burn, and Emergency Surgery - Vanderbilt Health Nashville, TN". Retrieved 2017-05-20. 
  11. ^ "Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Visitors". Vanderbilt University. Retrieved 2007-07-02. 
  12. ^ "DR. J. T. GWATHMEY, ANESTHETIST, DIES; Leading Authority on Subject Stricken at 80; Aided Our Allies in First World War". The New York Times. 12 February 1944. Retrieved 2017-06-05. [dead link]

External links[edit]