The Perelman School of Medicine, commonly known as Penn Med, is the medical school of the University of Pennsylvania. It is located in the University City section of Philadelphia. Founded in 1765, the Perelman School of Medicine is the oldest medical school in the United States.Today, it is a major center of biomedical research and education, and it is widely regarded as one of the country’s top medical schools. Penn Med consistently ranks among the highest recipients of NIH research awards, and is ranked 5th on U.S. News & World Report ‘s “Best Medical Schools: Research” list.
The school of medicine was founded by Dr. John Morgan, a graduate of the College of Philadelphia (A.B. 1757) and theUniversity of Edinburgh Medical School (M.D. 1763). In 1765, after training in Edinburgh and other European cities, Dr. Morgan returned to Philadelphia. With fellow University of Edinburgh Medical School graduate Dr. William Shippen Jr., Morgan persuaded the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania to found the first medical school in the Original Thirteen Colonies. Only months before the medical school was created, Morgan delivered an address to the Trustees and the citizens of Philadelphia, “Upon the Institution of Medical Schools in America” during which he expressed his desire for the new medical school to become a model institution.
Perhaps this medical institution, the first of its kind in America, though small in its beginning, may receive a constant increase of strength, and annually exert new vigor. It may collect a number of young persons of more ordinary abilities, and so improve their knowledge as to spread its reputation to different parts. By sending these abroad duly qualified, or by exciting emulation amongst men of parts and literature, it may give birth to other useful institutions of a similar nature, or occasional rise, by its example to numerous societies of different kinds, calculated to spread the light of knowledge through the whole American continent, wherever inhabited.
The School of Medicine’s faculty was nationally renowned: Benjamin Rush(medicine), Philip Syng Physick (surgery), Robert Hare (chemistry), and, around the 1850s, William Pepper (medicine) and Joseph Leidy (anatomy). In 1847, the group of physicians who organized the American Medical Association effectively gave recognition to the School’s fame by naming the AMA’s first president Nathaniel Chapman, Professor of Medicine at the School.
In 2011, the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine was renamed in recognition of a $225 million gift by Raymond and Ruth Perelman. Raymond Perelman and his son, billionaire Ronald Perelman, are both alumni of Penn’s Wharton School. It was the single largest gift made in the University’s history, and it remains the largest donation ever made for naming rights to a medical school.
In the 1870s, the university closed its campus in Center City, Philadelphia and established a new location across the Schuylkill River inWest Philadelphia, just north of the Blockley Almshouse. As part of this move, the School of Medicine’s faculty persuaded the University’s trustees to build a teaching hospital on the new campus, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). Today, the medical school is affiliated with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Pennsylvania Hospital, Chester County Hospital, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with additional teaching at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center.
The Penn School of Nursing building and the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office are both located within the School of Medicine complex.
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century’s, the School of Medicine was one of the earliest to encourage the development of the emerging medical specialties: neurosurgery, ophthalmology, dermatology, and radiology. Between 1910 and 1939, the chairman of the Department of Pharmacology, Alfred Newton Richards, played a significant role in developing the University as an authority of medical science, helping the United States to catch up with European medicine and begin to make significant advances in biomedical science.
In the 1950s and early 1960s, Dr. Jonathon E. Rhoads of the Department of Surgery (which he would later go on to head for many years), mentored Dr. Stanley Dudrick who pioneered the successful use of total parenteral nutrition (TPN) for patients unable to tolerate nutrition through their GI tract.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Dr. C. William Schwab, a trauma surgeon, led numerous advances in the concept of damage control surgery for severely injured trauma patients.
In the 1990s and 2000s, Dr. Paul Offit, a professor of Pediatrics at the School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, lead the scientific advances behind the modernRotaTeq vaccine for infectious childhood diarrhea.
In 2006, Drs. Kaplan and Shore of the Department of Orthopedics discovered the causative mutation in fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, an extremely rare disease of bone.
“Penn Medicine” is the governing board that administers and coordinates the Perelman School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS). The board reports directly to the trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. It was created by Penn’s former president, Judith Rodin, in response to a $300 Million financial crisis at the Health System.