Howard University College of Medicine (HUCM)

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Howard University
College of Medicine
Howard University seal.png
Howard University seal
Latin: 'Veritas et Utilitas'
Motto Truth and Service
Established 1868[1]
Type Private
Dean Edward E. Cornwell, III, M.D., FACS, FCCM [2]
Location Washington, D.C., USA
Campus Urban

The Howard University College of Medicine (HUCM) is an academic division of Howard University, and grants the Doctor of Medicine (MD), Ph.D., MS, and the MPH. HUCM is located at the Howard University Health Sciences Center in Washington, D.C., and was founded in 1868 in response to the city's growing population. The College of Medicine ranks among the top three schools in meeting the nation’s medical needs and social mission.[3] With more than 4,000 living alumni, the College has produced a sizeable share of the African-American physicians practicing in this country.

The mission of the College of Medicine includes improving health care through training programs and initiatives, discovering knowledge through research and supporting the education and training of postgraduate physicians, other healthcare providers and graduate students in biomedical sciences. Many College of Medicine students gain professional experience at Howard University Hospital, the primary teaching hospital for the school.


Founders of Howard University appreciated the urgent need for medical education in the District of Columbia after the Civil War. Howard University is named after Major General Oliver Otis Howard.[4] The civil war had just ended, and freed African-American people were migrating to the nation's capital in large numbers.[4]

The first opening exercise for the newly created Medical Department was held at the First Congregational Church of Christ on November 5, 1868. The charter approving incorporation of Howard University specified that a department would be devoted to medicine. Dr. Silas Loomis, one of the University’s founders, was named the Medical Department’s first dean in 1868.[5] One of the first five faculty members was Dr. Alexander Thomas Augusta, reportedly the first African-American to serve on a medical school faculty in the United States.[4]

The first classes began on Nov. 9, 1868, with eight students and five faculty members (Drs. Silas Loomis, Robert Reyburn, Joseph Taber Johnson, Lafayette Loomis and Alexander Thomas Augusta).[6] Dr. Augusta is often recognized as the first African American to serve on a medical school faculty in the United States.[7]

In 1869, a building for the Medical Department and Freedmen’s Hospital was constructed by the Freedmen’s Bureau on Pomeroy Street, presently Fifth Street NW. The building housed the medical and pharmacy program (and later the dental program), as well as the Freedmen’s Hospital. In 1927, a new facility was constructed on W Street. [5] The College of Medicine’s first alumni association was formed in 1871 by the five graduates of that year (William Bennit, James Bowen, George Brooks, Danforth Nichols and Joseph Sladen). In 1945, the Howard University Medical Alumni Association (HUMAAA) was incorporated in the District of Columbia.[8]


The current interim dean of Howard University College of Medicine is Edward E. Cornwell, III, M.D., FACS, FCCM.

Former Deans:[9]

  • Silas L. Loomis—1868-1870
  • Robert Reyburn—1870-1871
  • Gideon S. Palmer—1871-1881
  • Thomas B. Hood—1881-1900
  • Robert Reyburn—1900-1908
  • Edward A. Balloch—1908-1928
  • Numa P. G. Adams—1929-1940
  • John W. Lawlah—1941-1946
  • Joseph L. Johnson—1946-1955
  • Robert S. Jason—1955-1965
  • K. Albert Harden—1965-1970
  • Marion Mann—1970-1979
  • Russell L. Miller—1979-1988
  • Charles H. Epps, Jr. -- 1988-1995
  • Floyd J. Malveaux—1995-2005
  • Robert E. Taylor—2005-2011
  • Mark S. Johnson—2011-2014

Graduate Programs[edit]

Howard University College of Medicine has six training programs leading to the MS or Ph. D. degrees. These are anatomy, genetics & human genetics, microbiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, and physiology & biophysics.

The largest training program in the College of Medicine is their 4 year MD program. HUCM is known for producing physicians who provide healthcare to under-served communities throughout the United States. A major emphasis of HUCM is preparing physicians for under-served communities. Much of the experience these medical students gain with under-served communities is at Howard University Hospital, the primary teaching hospital for HUCM, but students also gain experience with other demographics by working at other hospitals in the DC Metropolitan Area including Washington Hospital Center, St. Elizabeths Hospital and Inova Fairfax Hospital. Howard University Hospital's surrounding community is under-served and serves as an excellent teaching environment for HUCM's students.

The Howard University Health Sciences Simulation Center opened a major state-of-the-art virtual medical training facility to advance the education of medical students and healthcare professionals. The center provides students with hands-on hospital experience using cutting-edge technology. The simulation center, a 6,000-square-foot facility, is a simulated hospital environment that promotes improved communication skills between healthcare workers and their patients.[10]


The Howard University College of Medicine, in conjunction with the New York chapter of the National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians (NOAH) and the Haitian American Alliance, has engaged in an ambitious service-learning-based medical project in Haiti. The team from the College of Medicine consists of doctors from the departments of obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine, pediatrics, pathology and anatomy. The team began traveling to the country four years ago as a humanitarian response to the devastating earthquake in 2010.[11]

Notable Alumni/Faculty[edit]


  • Dr. Daniel Hale Williams – Surgeon-in-chief of Freedmen’s Hospital, 1893-1898
  • Dr. Charles R. Drew – Head of the Department of Surgery, 1941-1950
  • Dr. W. Montague Cobb – Chairman, Department of Anatomy, 1947-1969
  • Dr. Roland B. Scott – Chairman, Department of Pediatrics/founding Director, Center for Sickle Cell Disease
  • Patricia Bath, M.D. – Class of 1968, first African-American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical invention
  • Alexander Darnes, M.D. – Class of 1880, first African-American physician in Jacksonville, Florida.
  • Lena Frances Edwards—Class of 1924, recipient of the 1964 Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Roselyn P. Epps, M.D. – Class of 1955, first African-American woman elected president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Washington, DC Chapter, and American Medical Women’s Association.
  • Dr. Charles DeWitt Watts – Class of 1943, first African-American surgeon in North Carolina


  1. ^ "Overview and History". Howard University. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  2. ^ "Dean's Welcome". Howard University. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  3. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ a b c "A short history". Howard University. Retrieved 2010-02-15. 
  5. ^ a b "Short History". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "Short History". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Alexander Thomas Augusta". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "HUMAA". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  9. ^ "List of Leadership". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "Simulation Center". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  11. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "List of Howard University People". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 

External links[edit]