In 1910, Abraham Flexner, under the auspices of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, published a report on medical schools that led to a revolution in how medicine was taught across the country.
By 1920, Flexner approached Dr. Benjamin Rush Rhees, then president of the University of Rochester, with the idea of establishing a medical school at the university that would utilize his revolutionary ideals in medical education. Flexner and Rhees then approached George Eastman, founder of Eastman Kodak, to help back the idea financially. Additional monies came from the General Education Board of the Rockefeller Foundation and the daughters of the late Henry Alvah Strong, former business partner to George Eastman, to build a university, medical school, and hospital on land located on the southern boundaries of the City of Rochester near the banks of the Genesee River.
The URMC was founded in 1921, and George Hoyt Whipple was recruited from the University of California at San Francisco to become the first dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry. Whipple helped shape the school from its inception, hiring faculty and staff and supervising the design and construction of buildings. The medical school opened in 1925 and Strong Memorial Hospital opened its doors as a 250-bed community facility. The University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry graduated its first class in 1929.
This room served as the Strong Memorial Hospital lobby from 1926 until the opening of the new hospital in 1975. The lobby fell into disuse until it was incorporated into the Edward G. Miner Library as its reading room during an extensive renovation in 1987.
This plaque was dedicated to Henry Alvah and Helen Griffin Strong and is located in the former Strong Memorial Hospital lobby. It reads, “May the kindliness and human sympathy which characterized their lives continue forever through the ministry of this hospital.”
The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) is one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. It forms the centerpiece of the University of Rochester’s health research, teaching and patient care missions.
URMC includes Strong Memorial Hospital, the Eastman Institute for Oral Health, the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, with its faculty practice (University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group), and the University of Rochester School of Nursing.
The University of Rochester’s clinical enterprise, UR Medicine, consists of five hospitals located throughout the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions – Strong Memorial, Highland, F.F. Thompson, Noyes Memorial, and Jones Memorial hospitals – as well as Golisano Children’s Hospital, James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, UR Medicine Home Care, the Highlands at Pittsford and Highlands at Brighton, six urgent care centers, and an extensiveprimary care network.
UR Medicine’s flagship facility, the 830-bed Strong Memorial Hospital, is designated by the New York State Department of Health as a Level One regional trauma and burn center. It is home to nationally renowned clinical care, including Upstate New York’s only cardiac and liver transplant programs, the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience, Golisano Children’s Hospital, and the Wilmot Cancer Institute, upstate’s premier cancer center providing comprehensive cancer care with expertise in precision medicine, complex cancers and clinical trials.
With a solid reputation for quality, Strong Memorial Hospital offers some of the top clinical programs in the nation as recognized by US News & World Report, and has earned the National Research Corporation “Consumer Choice Award” all 21 years since the honor’s inception.
About 3,000 people are dedicated to scientific research, studying common and rare illnesses, from cancer and heart disease to Parkinson’s and pandemic influenza. These efforts have led to therapies that have saved countless lives and have improved human health locally, in the region, and across the globe.
Over the last five years, URMC has garnered more than $1.18 billion in biomedical research, landing the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in the top 26th percentile of U.S. medical centers in federal research funding.
URMC was one of the first 12 academic medical centers to receive a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health and has been continually funded by this grant for a total of $86 million. The University also was awarded a one-in-the-nation $19 million grant to coordinate more than 50 of the top academic medical centers in the nation that are part of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program.