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, 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 3 best hospitals in California, after the UCSF Medical Center and the UCLA Medical Center.
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. 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.
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. 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. Furthermore, the Stanford University Medical Center is undergoing a renewal and expansion project which will rebuild Stanford Hospital & Clinics and the Emergency Department, modernize and expand Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, renovate the School of Medicine facilities to accommodate modern technology, and renovate Hoover Pavilion, the original Palo Alto Hospital, to accommodate community physicians.
The School of Medicine’s programs include more than 1,250 enrolled students, matriculating in MD, MD/PhD, PhD, and master’s programs, and more than 2,300 postgraduate clinical and research trainees.
Most Stanford medical students elect to extend their training over five or more years in order to pursue more in-depth research. Approximately 19 percent of its MD students graduate with a joint MD/PhD degree while at Stanford.
The School of Medicine is currently in midst of a process to transform its medical curriculum. It 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, school leaders are heading up a collaborative on the use of the “flipped classroom” approach to content delivery.
The School of Medicine also has a Physician Assistant (PA) program that was added in 1971, called the Primary Care Associate Program. It was one of the first accredited physician assistant programs in California. It is offered in association with Foothill College. The program has graduated more than 1,300 physician assistants since its opening. Most graduates fulfill the program’s mission of serving underserved medical communities.
Our close proximity to the resources of the university — including the Schools of Business, Law, Humanities and Sciences, and Engineering, our seamless relationship with our affiliated adult and children’s hospitals, and our ongoing associations with the entrepreneurial endeavors of Silicon Valley, make us uniquely positioned to accelerate the pace at which new knowledge is translated into tangible health benefits.