Thursday, July 9, 2020

First medical school in United States

The first physician in the colonies was Dr Laurence Bohune who arrived in Virginia in 1610 as physician for the London Company. The first physician in New England was Dr Samuel Fuller who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620.

In 18th and early 19th century colonial America, colleges for the most part prepared students for the ministry. The faculties of Harvard, Pennsylvania, Yale and Dartmouth were mostly theologians. No colleges in the colonies had a medical school before 1765.

First efforts at formal medical education in the colonies began with preceptors giving lectures on various subjects to multiple students, first just to their own students but then to other students as well.

On the 24th July, 1764 John Morgan, a young doctor from Philadelphia, just graduated in Edinburgh, met Giovanni Battista Morgagni (Father of modern anatomical pathology) in Padua. The visit to the old Morgagni inspired the young Morgan.

The first medical school in the colonies was founded by John Morgan and co-founded with Willian Shippen, Jr. in Philadelphia in 1765 as the Philadelphia College of Medicine. These lectures were conceived initially as supplementary to the preceptorship and were coordinated with it. This school ultimately underwent a name change to become the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. William Shippen, Jr had long advocated the establishment of such school. Like Morgan, he had studied abroad with the intention of preparing himself for the role of some importance. Returning home, he had given three courses in anatomy in Philadelphia. Morgan was appointed Professor of the Theory and Practice of Physic, Shippen, Professor of Anatomy and surgery.

The first lectures were delivered in mid-November 1765. The same year Morgan published “A Discourse upon the Institution of Medical Schools in America”, where he set the principles of Medicine as “The Guardian of life and health, against death and disease”, with a rigorous curriculum studiorum. Since then a terrific development of Medicine occurred in terms of discoveries and inventions, according to the triad “Patient care, teaching and research”.

In 1765, when formal medical education began in the American colonies, Philadelphia was the largest city in Britain's North American territories and was foremost in cultural development among all the towns that had sprung up along the Atlantic seaboard. The College of Philadelphia (later to become the University of Pennsylvania), the Library Company, and the Pennsylvania Hospital had been flourishing for more than a decade.

The second medical school was King’s College (Columbia) in New York, established in 1768. Only these 2 schools had begun prior to the Revolutionary War. Two more schools, both in New England, were started before 1800: Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1782 and Dartmouth Medical School in 1797 in Hanover, New Hampshire.
First medical school in United States
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