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College of Medicine History

The University of Cincinnati College of Medicine was founded January 19, 1819, when frontier physician Daniel Drake, MD, received a charter from the Ohio State Legislature to establish the Medical College of Ohio in Cincinnati. Twenty-four students attended the first class in 1820, and on April 4, 1821, seven students received medical degrees at the college’s first commencement.

The next 30 years were difficult for the Medical College of Ohio. The college lost many of its students during Cincinnati’s two-year cholera outbreak beginning in 1832 and almost collapsed in 1835. Despite near constant troubles, the college continued. The second half of the 19th century were days of prosperity and prominence for the Medical College of Ohio. Classes grew steadily, and disagreements among faculty and the college’s board were minimal. An influx of outstanding medical teachers and clinicians raised the national stature of the college.

On April 27, 1896, the college merged with the University of Cincinnati and the school moved from downtown to the old McMicken University Building on today’s West Clifton Avenue. In 1899, the college admitted its first female student, Marie C. Boyd, who would graduate in 1903. At the close of the 1908-1909 academic year, the Medical College of Ohio merged with Miami Medical College into a single medical department for the university called the Ohio-Miami Medical College. The college would become known as the UC College of Medicine in 1921.

The college received a significant endorsement in 1913 when the American Medical Association placed it on its list of Class A+ medical colleges, one of just 22 medical schools receiving the highest grade. During this time Christian Holmes, MD, led a new enlightened age for the medical school. A new college building on Eden Avenue opened in 1918. Major donations came in, the first 10 endowed chairs were established between 1909 and 1930, and a new hospital named for Holmes was built. The College of Medicine and Children’s Hospital, today Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, affiliated in 1925.

Significant research growth also was occurring at the College of Medicine. Beginning in 1922, the college’s reputation as a hub of surgical innovation and education skyrocketed with several surgeons coming to Cincinnati from Johns Hopkins University. Following the 1930 opening of the Kettering Laboratories, important toxicology and occupational health research established the college’s international reputation in these fields.

The Medical Sciences Building opened in 1974 allowing the school’s class size to jump by nearly 50 percent. The Cardiovascular Center (1995), the Vontz Center for Molecular Studies (1999) and the CARE/Crawley Building (2008) followed.

Questions and additional information about the history of the College of Medicine can be obtained from the UC Libraries’ Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions.

Significant Contributions to Medicine

First Live, Attenuated Polio Vaccine
First Heart-Lung Machine
UC Stroke Team Pioneers Treatment
Health Effects of Lead in Children
Study of Birth Defects Pioneered
Heart Failure Gene Identified
Development of Benadryl
Saving Preemies
Sniffing Out Disease
First Residency Programs
Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
First Medical Laser Lab
First YAG Laser Used
Organ Transplant Discovery
Pioneering Gene Therapy
Cancer Gene Discoveries

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University of Cincinnati
College of Medicine

CARE/Crawley Building
Suite E-870
3230 Eden Avenue
PO Box 670555
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0555

Mail Location: 0555
Phone: 513-558-7333
Fax: 513-558-3512
Email: College of Medicine