George Washington University Medical School

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George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Washington DC George Washington University Denkmal Brunswyk (2012).JPG
Motto Seek Truth and Pursue It Steadily
Established 1824
Type Private
Parent institution
George Washington University
Endowment US $1.57 billion [1]
Provost Steven Lerman
Dean Jeffrey S. Akman
Academic staff
677 (Full-Time)
Students 712
Location Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Campus Urban
Website [3]

The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (GW SMHS for short) was established in 1824, due to the need for doctors in the District of Columbia (DC). The school formally opened its doors a year later in 1825. It is the eleventh oldest medical school in the United States and the first medical school established in the nation's capital. The school has more than 700 medical students currently enrolled in its Doctor of Medicine (MD) program.[2]

Over the past few years, GW has seen a dramatic rise in the number of applications it receives. For the past six years, it has been the most applied to medical school in the country, receiving 14,649 applications in 2012.[3]

The George Washington University School of Medicine is at the forefront of technology for research and application. GW's innovations include the six-million volt linear accelerator, a radioisotope laboratory, and the first operating theaters with overhead observation decks, among others. Political figures, such as former Vice President Dick Cheney and former First Lady Laura Bush, also come to GW for routine and emergency procedures.[4] The school was in the national spotlight in 1981 when US President Ronald Reagan, shot at close range, was rushed to its ER for surgery.


Admission to the School of Medicine and Health Sciences is the most competitive of the George Washington University's graduate programs. The School of Medicine has the lowest admissions rate in the United States (2.1% during 2012 admission cycle) according to US News and World Report.[5] For the MD class entering in 2012, a little more than 1,000 applicants were interviewed out of a total number of 14,700 applicants. Approximately 300 individuals were accepted to fill 177 spots. Students had an average GPA of 3.71, and a mean MCAT score of 30.8. [6]

Four out of every ten students holds an undergraduate degrees in the arts, humanities, or social sciences. A unique aspect of the school is the Practice of Medicine (POM) course that spans the entire length of a medical student's education. GW was one of the first in the country to place students in clinical settings from the start of their medical school experience.[7]

Tuition is $52,000 for the first year class while the total cost of attendance is roughly $70,000 a year.


H. B. Burns Memorial Building - corner

The School of Medicine and Health Sciences contains a variety of programs such as the M.D. Program, the Physician Assistant program, and the Physical Therapy program. Multiple nobel laureates have been affiliated with SMHS, including Ferid Murad, Vincent du Vigneaud, and Julius Axelrod. The school maintains numerous research centers and institutes. Among the most notable are the Dr. Cyrus & Myrtle Katzen Cancer Research Center, the GW Heart & Vascular Institute, the McCormick Genomic & Proteomic Center, the W.M. Keck Institute for Proteomics Technology & Applications, the Rodham Institute, Washington Institute of Surgical Endoscropy, the Ronald Reagan Institute of Emergency Medicine, the GW Institute for Neuroscience, and the GW HIV/AIDS Institute. [8]

The school has affiliations with the George Washington University Hospital and the Children's National Medical Center. The school has a partnership with the George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates who have over 800 physicians on staff that provide teaching and professional services to the community.

International Medicine Program[edit]

GW is famous for providing leading US medical school education to international students. The International MD Program was developed by the Office of International Medicine Programs at GW in response to the great demand for US-educated physicians abroad. Differences in educational/teaching styles, language, and culture may present further obstacles to international students who apply to American programs. The International MD Program is designed to facilitate international students who wish to practice medicine, and to further GW's mission to improve the health and well-being of communities beyond its locale by promoting the exchange of knowledge across cultures.[9]

Residency training for graduates of non-US medical schools and colleges is also provided by GW SMHS.

George Washington University Hospital - 2012

Medical Training Programs[edit]


The original location of the Medical School, established as a department of Columbian College in 1824, was at Judiciary Square. It then moved to the northeast corner of 10th & E streets NW and later in the 19th century, to the 1300 block of H Street NW. The Medical School moved in 1973 to its current location at Washington Circle in Foggy Bottom.


Note: The years listed above refer to the years the individuals became the deans of the medical school, not their length of total service at the School

Other programs[edit]

Other programs include clinical laboratory sciences and administration training. The school also offers a nurse practitioner program and a physician assistant program. The school offers many Early Selection options through participating universities, as well as a 7-year accelerated program.

George Washington University Medical School USNWR


In 2008 the LCME or Liaison Committee on Medical Education put the George Washington University Medical School on accreditation probation, citing a number of issues. While declining to publish the entire list, among the problems acknowledged by GW were its outdated system of managing its curriculum, the curriculum itself, high levels of student debt, student mistreatment, and inadequate study and lounge space for its students. Significantly, in 2008 GWU was the only medical school (among 129 LCME accredited institutions) to be placed on probation and the first such in 15 years.[10]

GW implemented a plan to rectify these problems. Its probationary status was lifted in February 2010.[11] Subsequently, the two top GWU medical school administrators were forced to resign over the alleged conflicts of interest.[12]

Notable individuals[edit]



  • James Carroll (Identified germs as the cause of diseases and changed the course of medicine, worked with Dr. Theobald Smith)
  • Peter Hotez (Distinguished Research Professor and Professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine at The George Washington University School of Medicine, and Principal Scientist and Founding Director of the Human Hookworm Vaccine Initiative)
  • Albert Freeman Africanus King (Famous for Manual of Obstetrics that became the national standard)
  • Ferid Murad {Discovered the role of nitric oxide in the cardiovascular system, winner of 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology}
  • Walter Reed (Army Major who identified that yellow fever was transmitted by mosquitoes rather than direct contact with an infected patient)
  • Frederick Russell (Introduced typhoid vaccine into the army)
  • Thomas Sewall (Professor of Anatomy)
  • Theobald Smith (Identified germs as the cause of diseases and changed the course of medicine, worked with Dr. James Carroll)
  • Vincent du Vigneaud (1955 Nobel laureate in Chemistry, Head of the Biochemistry Department at the George Washington University School of Medicine)


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°54′03″N 77°03′03″W / 38.9007°N 77.0508°W / 38.9007; -77.0508