Harvard Medical School
Coat of arms
|Established||September 19, 1782|
|Affiliation||See list for affiliations|
|Dean||George Q. Daley|
Harvard Medical School (HMS) is the graduate medical school of Harvard University and is located in the Longwood Medical Area of Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1782, HMS is one of the oldest medical schools in the United States and is consistently ranked first for research among medical schools by U.S. News & World Report. Unlike most other leading medical schools, HMS does not operate in conjunction with a single hospital but is directly affiliated with several teaching hospitals in the Boston area. Affiliated teaching hospitals and research institutes include Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dana–Farber Cancer Institute, and Boston Children's Hospital.
Harvard Medical School was founded on September 19, 1782, after President Joseph Willard presented a report with plans for a medical school to the President and Fellows of Harvard College. It is the third-oldest medical school in the United States, founded after the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
The founding faculty members of Harvard Medical School were John Warren, Benjamin Waterhouse, and Aaron Dexter. Lectures were first held in the basement of Harvard Hall and then later in Holden Chapel. Students paid no tuition but purchased tickets to five or six daily lectures. The first two students graduated in 1788.
In the following century, the medical school moved locations several times due to changing clinical relationships, a function of the fact that Harvard Medical School does not directly own or operate a teaching hospital. In 1810, the school moved to Boston at what is now downtown Washington Street. In 1816, the school was moved to Mason Street and was called the Massachusetts Medical College of Harvard University in recognition of a gift from the Great and General Court of Massachusetts. In 1847, the school was moved to Mason Street to be closer to Massachusetts General Hospital. In 1883, the school was relocated to Copley Square. Prior to this move, Charles William Eliot became Harvard's president in 1869 and found the medical school in the worst condition of any part of the university. He instituted drastic reforms that raised admissions standards, instituted a formal degree program, and defined HMS as a professional school within Harvard University that laid the groundwork for its transformation into one of the leading medical schools in the world.
In 1906, the medical school moved to its current location in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area. The Longwood campus's five original marble-faced buildings of the quadrangle still remain in use today.
Harvard Medical School faculty have been associated with a number of important medical and public health innovations:
- Introduction of smallpox vaccination to America
- First use of anesthesia for pain control during surgery
- The introduction of insulin to the US to treat diabetes
- Comprehending of the role of vitamin B12 in treating anemia
- Identification of coenzyme A and understanding of proteins
- Developing tissue culture methods for the polio virus, which paved the way for vaccines against polio
- Mapping the visual system of the brain
- Development of the first successful chemotherapy for childhood leukemia
- Development of the first implantable cardiac pacemaker
- Discovering the inheritance of immunity to infection
- Development of artificial skin for burn victims
- The first successful heart valve surgery
- The first successful human kidney transplant
- The first reattachment of a severed human limb
- Discovery of the genes that cause Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Huntington's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease), and Alzheimer's disease, among many others
- Establishing the importance of tumor vascular supply (angiogenesis) and seeding the field of vascular biology
- Discovery of the cause of preeclampsia.
In mid-1847, Professor Walter Channing's proposal that women be admitted to lectures and examinations was rejected by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. While Harriot Kezia Hunt was soon after given permission to attend medical lectures, this permission was withdrawn in 1850.
In 1866, two women with extensive medical education elsewhere applied but were denied admission. In 1867, a single faculty member's vote blocked the admission of Susan Dimock. In 1872, Harvard declined a gift of $10,000 conditioned on medical school admitting women medical students on the same term as men. A similar offer of $50,000, by a group of ten women including Marie Elizabeth Zakrzewska, was declined in 1882; a committee of five was appointed to study the matter. After the medical school moved from North Grove Street to Boylston Street in 1883, professor Henry Ingersoll Bowditch's proposal that the North Grove Street premises be used for medical education for women was rejected.
In 1943, a dean's committee recommended the admission of women, the proportion of men and women being dependent solely on the qualifications of the applicants. In 1945, the first class of women was admitted; projected benefits included helping male students learn to view women as equals, increasing the number of physicians in lower-paid specialties typically shunned by men, and replacing the weakest third of all-male classes with better-qualified women. By 1972, about one-fifth of Harvard medical students were women.
In 1968, in response to a petition signed by hundreds of medical students, the faculty established a commission on relations with the black community in Boston; at the time less than one percent of Harvard medical students were black. By 1973, the number of black students admitted had tripled, and by the next year it had quadrupled. In 2011, HMS appointed its first African American full Professor of medicine, Valerie E. Stone. That year they also appointed their first African-American Professor of Radiology, Stone's former classmate Tina Young Poussaint.
Harvard Medical School has gone through many curricular revisions for its MD program. In recent decades, HMS has maintained a three-phase curriculum with a classroom-based pre-clerkship phase, a principal clinical experience (PCE), and a post-PCE phase.
The pre-clerkship phase has two curricular tracks. The majority of students enter in the more traditional Pathways track that focuses on active learning and earlier entry into the clinic with courses that include students from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. Pathways students gain early exposure to the clinic through a longitudinal clinical skills course that lasts the duration of the pre-clerkship phase. A small portion of each class enter in the HST track, which is jointly administered with MIT. The HST track is designed to train physician-scientists with emphasis on basic physiology and quantitative understanding of biological processes through courses that include PhD students from MIT.
Admission to Harvard Medical School's MD program is highly selective. There are 165 total spots for each incoming class, with 135 spots in the Pathways curriculum and 30 spots in the HST program. While both use a single application, each curricular track independently evaluates applicants.
For the MD Class of 2023, 6,815 candidates applied and 227 were admitted (3.3%). There was a matriculation rate of 73%.
PhD degree programs
There are nine PhD programs based in Harvard Medical School. Students in these programs are all enrolled in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) and are part of the HILS (Harvard Integrated Life Sciences) inter-program federation.
Master's degree programs
Harvard Medical School offers two types of Master’s degrees, Master of Academic Discipline degrees and Master of Medical Sciences (MMSc) degrees. 
Affiliated teaching hospitals and research institutes
Harvard Medical School does not directly own or operate any hospitals and instead relies on affiliated teaching hospitals for clinical education. Medical students primarily complete their clinical experiences at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, and Massachusetts General Hospital.
- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
- Boston Children's Hospital
- Brigham and Women's Hospital
- Cambridge Health Alliance
- Dana–Farber Cancer Institute
- Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute
- Hebrew SeniorLife
- Joslin Diabetes Center
- Judge Baker's Children's Center
- Massachusetts Eye and Ear
- Massachusetts General Hospital
- McLean Hospital
- Mount Auburn Hospital
- Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
- VA Boston Healthcare System
|John R. Adler||1980||academic|||
|Robert B. Aird||academic|
|Tenley Albright||figure skater|
|William French Anderson||geneticist|
|Christian B. Anfinsen||biochemist, Nobel laureate|
|Paul S. Appelbaum||1976||academic|
|Babak Azizzadeh||facial surgery specialist and surgeon for Mary Jo Buttafuoco after she was shot by Amy Fisher in 1992|
|Arie S. Belldegrun||director of the UCLA Institute of Urologic Oncology and is Professor and Chief of Urologic Oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine|||
|Rebecka Belldegrun||ophthalmologist, businesswoman|
|Herbert Benson||cardiologist, author of The Relaxation Response|
|Ira Black||neuroscientist and stem cell researcher, first director of the Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey|||
|Walter Bradford Cannon||physiologist|
|William Bosworth Castle||hematologist|
|George Cheyne Shattuck Choate||physician|
|Gilbert Chu||physician, biochemist|
|Aram Chobanian||President of Boston University (2003–2005)|
|Godwin Maduka||doctor, philanthropist|
|Albert Coons||physician, immunologist, Lasker Award winner|
|Hallowell Davis||hearing researcher, contributor to the invention of the electroencephalograph|||
|Martin Delany||one of the first African Americans to attend, first African-American field officer in the US, expelled after a faculty vote to end the admission of blacks|||
|Allan S. Detsky||physician|
|James Madison DeWolf||soldier, physician|
|Daniel DiLorenzo||entrepreneur, neurosurgeon, inventor|
|Lawrence Eron||infectious disease physician|
|Paul Farmer||infectious disease physician, global health|
|Jonathan Fielding||past president of the American College of Preventive Medicine, health administrator, academic|
|Harvey V. Fineberg||academic administrator|
|Elliott S. Fisher||1981||director of The Dartmouth Institute|
|John "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald||Mayor of Boston (1906–08; 1910–14)|
|Bill Frist||U.S. Senator (1995–2007)|
|Atul Gawande||surgeon, author|
|Charles Brenton Huggins||physician, physiologist, Nobel laureate|
|Laurie H. Glimcher||1976||President and CEO, Dana–Farber Cancer Institute|
|George Lincoln Goodale||botanist|
|Robert Goldwyn||surgeon, editor-in-chief of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery for 25 years|||
|Ernest Gruening||Governor of the Alaska Territory (1939–53), U.S. Senator (1959–69)|
|I. Kathleen Hagen||murder suspect|
|Alice Hamilton||first female faculty member at Harvard Medical School|
|J. Hartwell Harrison||surgeon who performed first kidney transplant, editor-in-chief of Campbell's Urology (4th ed.)|
|Michael R. Harrison||pediatrician|
|Bernadine Healy||Director of the National Institutes of Health (1991–93), CEO of the American Red Cross (1999–2001)|
|Ronald A. Heifetz||academic|
|Lawrence Joseph Henderson||biochemist|
|Edward H. Hill||1867||founder of Central Maine Medical Center|||
|David Ho||infectious disease physician|
|Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.||physician, poet|
|Sachin H. Jain||2008||CEO of CareMore Health System, Obama administration official|
|Mildred Fay Jefferson||anti-abortion activist, first African-American woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School|
|Clay Johnston||Dean of the Dell Medical School at University of Texas at Austin|
|Elliott P. Joslin||diabetolologist|
|Nathan Cooley Keep||physician who founded the Harvard School of Dental Medicine|
|Jonny Kim||Navy SEAL, ER physician, astronaut|
|Jim Kim||physician, global health leader, current President of the World Bank|
|Melvin Konner||author, biological anthropologist|
|Peter D. Kramer||1976||psychiatrist|
|Daniel Laing Jr.||one of the first African Americans to attend, one of the first African-American physicians, expelled after a faculty vote to end the admission of blacks but finished his degree elsewhere|||
|Theodore K. Lawless||dermatologist, medical researcher, philanthropist|
|Philip J. Landrigan||epidemiologist, pediatrician|
|Pam Ling||castmate on The Real World: San Francisco|||
|Joseph Lovell||Surgeon General of the U.S. Army (1818–36)|
|Marek-Marsel Mesulam||1972||characterized primary progressive aphasia|
|John S. Meyer||physician|
|Vamsi Mootha||systems biologist, geneticist|
|Siddhartha Mukherjee||physician, author|
|Woody Myers||Indiana state health commissioner|||
|Joel Mark Noe||plastic surgeon|
|Amos Nourse||1817||U.S. Senator (1857)|
|Borna Nyaoke-Anoke||AIDS researcher|||
|David C. Page||biologist|
|Oswald Hope Robertson||medical scientist|
|Richard S. Ross||Dean Emeritus of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, former President of the American Heart Association|
|George E. Shambaugh, Jr.||otolaryngologist|
|Philip Solomon||academic psychiatrist|
|Paul Spangler||naval surgeon|
|Samuel L. Stanley||5th President of Stony Brook University, academic, physician|
|Jill Stein||1979||physician, activist, politician|||
|Lubert Stryer||academic, coauthor of Biochemistry|
|James B. Sumner||chemist|
|Orvar Swenson||1937||pediatric surgeon, performed first surgery for Hirschsprung's disease|||
|Helen B. Taussig||cardiologist, helped develop Blalock–Taussig shunt|
|John Templeton Jr.||president of the John Templeton Foundation|
|E. Donnall Thomas||physician|
|Abby Howe Turner||academic|
|George Eman Vaillant||psychiatrist|
|Mark Vonnegut||author, pediatrician|
|Amy Wax||1981||Robert Mundheim Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School|||
|Andrew Weil||1968||proponent of alternative medicine and integrative medicine|
|Paul Dudley White||cardiologist|
|Robert J. White||neurosurgeon who performed first monkey head transplant in the 1970s|
|Patrisha Zóbel de Ayala||Chairman of World Medical Association, surgeon, anesthesiologist, neurologist, medical researcher|
|Charles F. Winslow||early atomic theorist|
|Leonard Wood||Chief of Staff of the United States Army, Governor-General of the Philippines|
|Louis T. Wright||researcher, practitioner, first black Fellow of the American College of Surgeons|||
|David Wu||Member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1999–2011)|
|Alfred Worcester||general practitioner|
|Patrick Tyrance||1997||orthopedic surgeon, former Academic All American linebacker for the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team, picked by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1991 NFL draft|||
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