Stanford University School of Medicine

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Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford University School of Medicine logo.svg
TypeAllopathic Private medical school
Parent institution
Stanford University
DeanLloyd B. Minor
Academic staff
LocationStanford, California, U.S.
37°26′04″N 122°10′34″W / 37.43444°N 122.17611°W / 37.43444; -122.17611Coordinates: 37°26′04″N 122°10′34″W / 37.43444°N 122.17611°W / 37.43444; -122.17611

Stanford University School of Medicine is the medical school of Stanford University and is located in Stanford, California. It is the successor to the Medical Department of the University of the Pacific, founded in San Francisco in 1858. The school ceased operations in 1862,[1] but was later in 1870 refounded by Levi Cooper Lane and renamed Cooper Medical College; the medical school was acquired by Stanford in 1908. The medical school moved to the Stanford campus near Palo Alto, California in 1959.

The School of Medicine, along with Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, is part of Stanford Medicine. It is a research-intensive institution that emphasizes medical innovation, novel methods, discoveries, and interventions in its integrated curriculum. Stanford Health Care was named the third best hospital in California, after the UCSF Medical Center and the UCLA Medical Center.[2]


In 1855, Illinois physician Elias Samuel Cooper moved to San Francisco in the wake of the California Gold Rush. In cooperation with the University of the Pacific (also known as California Wesleyan College), Cooper established the Medical Department of the University of the Pacific, the first medical school on the West Coast, in 1858, on Mission Street near 3rd Street in San Francisco. However, in 1862 Cooper died, and without his leadership, the Medical Department of the University of the Pacific ceased operation.[1] In 1864, surgeon Hugh Toland founded a new medical school, Toland Medical College (today the University of California, San Francisco, and the faculty of Cooper Medical College chose to suspend operations and join the new school.[3]

In 1870 Cooper's nephew, Levi Cooper Lane, established a new campus at the intersection of Webster and Sacramento Streets in 1882; at that time, the school was christened Cooper Medical College.[4] Lane also built a hospital and a nursing school (forerunner of the Stanford School of Nursing) and made provision for the creation of Lane Medical Library.[5]

In 1908, Cooper Medical College was deeded to Stanford University as a gift.[6] It became Stanford's medical institution, initially called the Stanford Medical Department and later the Stanford University School of Medicine.[7] In the 1950s, the Stanford Board of Trustees decided to move the school to the Stanford main campus near Palo Alto. The move was completed in 1959.[8]

In the 1980s the Medical Center launched a major expansion program. A new hospital was added in 1989 with 20 new operating rooms, state of the art intensive care and inpatient units, and other technological additions. The Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine opened in May 1989 as an interdisciplinary center focusing on the molecular and genetic basis of disease.[9] The Lucile Packard Children's Hospital was completed in 1991, adding even more diversity to Stanford Medicine.

Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge.

In the early years of the 21st century the School of Medicine underwent rapid construction to further expand teaching and clinical opportunities. The Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge opened in 2010; it serves as the gateway to the School of Medicine as well as providing a new model of medical education by combining biomedical research with clinical education and information technology. The Lorry I. Lokey Stem Cell Research Building also opened in 2010; it is the largest stem cell and regenerative medicine facility in North America.[10] The Stem Cell Research Building is the first of the planned Stanford Institutes of Medicine. In addition to research facilities it houses offices for faculty from the Stanford Cancer Center and "hotel space" offices for visiting researchers.[10]

Academic programs and students[edit]

The School of Medicine has reversed the traditional teaching method of classroom time being reserved for lectures and problem-solving exercises being completed outside of school as homework; with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,[11] school leaders are heading up a collaboration on the use of the "flipped classroom" approach to content delivery.

The School of Medicine also has a long history of educating physician assistants (PAs). Stanford University partnered with Foothill College in 1971 to form the Primary Care Associate Program (PCAP) which graduated more than 1,500 PAs. The last PCAP class graduated in 2018. Today, the Stanford School of Medicine offers a Master of Science in PA Studies program that not only trains students to become highly qualified clinical PAs who can practice in any area of medicine, but also seeks to train PAs who can be leaders in community health, research, and medical education. The program offers a novel approach to curriculum delivery and expanded clinical opportunities as well as interprofessional education, with PA students taking courses side by side with Stanford MD students. The program is 30 months in length and accepts 27 students each year. Admission to the program is highly competitive: the acceptance rate is less than 2%.

Rankings and admissions[edit]

In the 2018 U.S. News & World Report rankings, Stanford was ranked 2nd in the nation for research, behind Harvard Medical School.[12] Admission to Stanford is highly competitive. The acceptance rate is the second-lowest in the country at 2.5%.[13] In 2016, 7,512 people applied, 516 were interviewed, and 187 accepted for 93 spots.

Stanford is one of several schools in the United States to use the multiple mini interview system, developed at McMaster University Medical School in Canada, to evaluate candidates.[14] The MMI system exposes candidates to multiple interviewers in a short amount of time and has been shown to better predict medical school performance than traditional panel interviews.

Along with the School of Humanities and Science, the Stanford School of Medicine also runs the Biosciences Ph.D. Program which was ranked 1st in 2014 among graduate programs in the biological sciences by the US News and World Report.[15] In specialties, according to U.S. News for 2014, Stanford is #1 in genetics, genomics, and bioinformatics; #1 in biochemistry, biophysics, and structural biology; #1 in neuroscience and neurobiology; #2 in cell biology, #2 in microbiology; #4 in immunology and infectious disease and #4 in molecular biology.


The School of Medicine has 1,948 full-time faculty. There have been eight Nobel Prize winners over the past six decades, and among its current faculty members are:[16]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable current and past faculty[edit]

References in popular culture[edit]

  • Dana Scully, FBI Agent partnered with Fox Mulder, was recruited by the bureau whilst studying at Stanford.
  • Bob Kelso, Chief of Medicine on the NBC comedy Scrubs graduated '12th in his class' at Stanford.
  • Dr. Cristina Yang, a character on the popular medical television drama Grey's Anatomy is a Stanford alumna and 'graduated first in her class', despite Stanford's medical school not actually having grades or rankings.
  • Nick Rubashkin – Stanford Alum and Co-Editor of What I Learned in Medical School- personal stories of young doctors
  • At the end of Good Will Hunting, the character Skylar leaves Boston to enter medical school at Stanford.


  1. ^ a b Haas, James H. (Spring 2007). "Edward Robeson Taylor. Part I: The Pre-Mayor Years". The Argonaut: Journal of the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society. 18 (1): 23.
  2. ^ "Best Hospitals in California". U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals Rankings. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  3. ^ "San Francisco's First Medical Institutions". University of California, San Francisco. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  4. ^ Allen, Wilmer C. (1959). The First Hundred Years. San Francisco: Stanford University School of Medicine. OCLC 15229140.
  5. ^ "The Advent of Cooper Medical College (1870–1912)". Lane Medical Library. Archived from the original on October 11, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2012.
  6. ^ "Stanford University School of Medicine and the Predecessor Schools: An Historical Perspective. Part IV: Cooper Medical college 1883-1912. Chapter 30. Consolidation with Stanford University 1906 - 1912". Stanford Medical History Center. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Stanford University School of Medicine and the Predecessor Schools: An Historical Perspective. Part V. The Stanford Era 1909-. Chapter 34: Dean Wilbur's Administration 1911 - 1915". Stanford Medical History Center. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  8. ^ "Stanford University School of Medicine and the Predecessor Schools: An Historical Perspective Part V. The Stanford Era 1909- Chapter 37. The New Stanford Medical Center Planning and Building 1953 - 1959". Stanford Medical History Center. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
  9. ^ Schechter, Ruth (April 28, 1999). "Beckman Center celebrates ten years at the forefront of biomedicine". Stanford Report. Retrieved August 3, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Conger, Krista (October 25, 2010). "Stem cell central: The Lorry I. Lokey Building". Stanford School of Medicine. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
  11. ^ "Using the "flipped classroom" model to bring medical education into the 21st century". Stanford Medicine. May 26, 2015. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  12. ^ "Best Medical Schools: Research". U.S. News & World Report. 2018. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  13. ^ Friedman, Jordan (March 16, 2017). "10 Medical Schools With the Lowest Acceptance Rates". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  14. ^ "On your mark, get set, interview!". Stanford University. Retrieved August 14, 2015.
  15. ^ "Best Graduate Biological Sciences Programs". U.S. News & World Report. 2018. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  16. ^ "Facts & Figures – School of Medicine". Stanford Medicine. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  17. ^ Aufses Jr., Arthur H.; Niss, Barbara (December 2002). This House of Noble Deeds: The Mount Sinai Hospital, 1852–2002. NYU Press. p. 180. ISBN 978-0-8147-0500-1. Retrieved May 30, 2018 – via Google Books.

External links[edit]