Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, USA

Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM), located in St. Louis, Missouri, is the medical school of Washington University in St. Louis on the eastern border of Forest Park in St. Louis. Founded in 1891, the School of Medicine has 1,260 students, 604 of which are pursuing a medical degree with or without a combined Doctor of Philosophy or other advanced degree. It also offers doctorate degrees in biomedical research through the Division of Biology and Biological Sciences. The School has developed largephysical therapy (273 students) and occupational therapy (233 students) programs, as well as the Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences (100 students) which includes a Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree and a Master of Science in Deaf Education (M.S.D.E.) degree.[1] There are 1,772 faculty, 1,022 residents, and 765 fellows.

The clinical service is provided by Washington University Physicians, a comprehensive medical and surgical practice providing treatment in more than 75 medical specialties. Washington University Physicians are the medical staffs of the two teaching hospitals -Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. They also provide inpatient and outpatient care at the St. Louis Veteran’s Administration Hospital, hospitals in the BJC HealthCare system and 35 other office locations throughout the greater St Louis region.

U.S. News and World Report ranks the college high; the school is currently ranked 6th for research and has been ranked as high as 2nd in 2003 and 2004. It has been listed among the top ten medical schools since rankings were first published in 1987. The school ranks first in the nation in student selectivity.

Medical classes were first held at Washington University in 1891 after the St. Louis Medical College decided to affiliate with the University, establishing a Medical Department. Robert S. Brookings, a University benefactor from its earliest days, devoted much of his work and philanthropy to Washington University, and made the improvement of the Medical Department one of his primary objectives. This especially became a cause for concern after an early 1900s Carnegie Foundation report derided the organization and quality of the Medical Department.

Following a trend in medical education across the country, research and the creation of new knowledge became a stated objective in a 1906 course catalog for the medical department. For Brookings and the University, incorporating the Medical Department into a separate School of Medicine seemed to be the next logical step. This process began in 1914 when facilities were permanently moved to their current location in St. Louis’s Central West End neighborhood in 1914, and was completed in 1918 with the official naming of the School of Medicine. The first female faculty member seems to have been biochemist and physiologist Ethel Ronzoni Bishop, who became an assistant professor in 1923.

The Medical School began its escalation from regional renown in the 1940s, a decade when two Nobel Prizes were awarded, in 1944 and 1947, to groups of faculty members. In 1950, a Cancer Research Building was completed, being the first major new building addition to the School of Medicine since its relocation in 1914. More buildings were added in that decade, and in the 1960s the School of Medicine focused on diversifying its student body by graduating its first African-American and substantially increasing the percentage of graduating students who are female to nearly 50%.

Washington University Medical Center comprises 164 acres (0.5 km²) spread over approximately 17 city blocks, located along the eastern edge of Forest Park within the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis. Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, part of BJC HealthCare, the teaching hospitals affiliated with the School of Medicine, are also located within the medical complex. Many of the buildings are connected via a series of sky bridges and corridors. As of 2008, the School of Medicine occupies over 4,500,000 square feet (420,000 m2) in the entire medical complex.

In the expansive Medical Complex are several especially large buildings. Recently completed is the 700,000-square-foot (65,000 m2) BJC Institutes of Health, of which Washington University’s Medical School will occupy several floors. It is the largest building constructed on Washington University’s campus. Called the BJC Institute of Health at Washington University, it will house the University’s BioMed 21 Research Initiative, five interdiscplinary research centers, laboratories, and additional space for The Genome Center.

The Medical Complex is accessible via the Central West End MetroLink station, which provides transportation to the rest of Washington University’s campuses.

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