Medical College of Pennsylvania, USA

The Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMCP) was founded in 1850, was the second medical institution in the world established to train women in medicine and offer them the M.D. degree. The New England Female Medical College had been established two years earlier in 1848.

Originally called The Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, the college changed its name to Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1867. The associated Woman’s Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1861. The school was later renamed as The Medical College of Pennsylvania (MCP) after opening its doors to men in 1970.

The college built a new campus in East Falls in the 1920s, which combined teaching and the clinical care of a hospital in one overall facility. It was the first purpose-built hospital in the nation. In 1993, the college and hospital merged with Hahnemann Medical School. In 2003, the two colleges were absorbed by the Drexel University College of Medicine.

in 1846, the idea for a college that would train female doctors. It was a tribute to his departed sister, who Bartholomew felt could have been a doctor if women had been given the opportunity at that time. Her daughter, Graceanna Lewis, was to become one of the first woman scientists in the USA.

The Female Medical College of Pennsylvania faced difficulties in providing clinical training for its students. Almost all medical institutions were confronted with the demand for more clinical practice due to the rise of surgery, physical diagnosis, and clinical specialties. During the 1880s, clinical instruction at the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania relied mainly on the demonstration clinics.

In 1887, Anna Broomall, professor of obstetrics for the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, established a maternity outpatient service in a poor area of South Philadelphia for the purpose of student education. By 1895, many students cared for three or four women who were giving birth.

In the late 1920s the college raised money to build a new campus. Designed by Ritter & Shay, the most successful of the Philadelphia urban architecture firms in the 1920s, the East Falls Campus was the first purpose-built hospital in the nation. The design allowed both teaching and hospital care to take place in one facility, helping provide for more clinical care. Post-WWII housing shortages in the city were a catalyst for development of additions to the East Falls Campus, the first of which was the Ann Preston Building (designed by Thaddeus Longstreth), which provided housing and classrooms for student nurses.

Today, the building is known as the Falls Center. It is operated by Iron Stone Strategic Capital Partners as student housing, commercial space, and medical offices.

In 1993 the Medical College of Pennsylvania merged with Hahnemann Medical College, retaining its Queen Lane campus. In 2003, the two medical colleges were absorbed as a part of Drexel University College of Medicine, creating new opportunities for the large student body for clinical practice in settings ranging from urban hospitals to small rural practices.

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