Stanford Medical School

Stanford University School of Medicine – better known to many as Stanford Medical School – is one of the most prestigious medical schools in the United States, as well as one of the finest medical research facilities. Students who make the cut at Stanford are among the elite academically and the annual competition for places is very fierce.

Stanford Medical School History  

In 1855, a doctor for Illinois, Elias Samuel Cooper, headed to San Francisco to seek his fortune at the height of the first gold rush. Quickly tiring of that he decided to stick to what he knew and establish a medical school, which he called the Medical College of the Pacific. Cooper’s school was the very first medical school on the West Coast, and was, in the beginning located on Mission Street in San Francisco.

As the school grew, Elias and his nephew Levi Cooper Lane, managed to find the funds to establish a new campus at the intersection of Webster and Sacramento Streets  and they changed the name to Cooper Medical College. Lane also decided to build a hospital and a nursing school – an institution that was the early forerunner of the nationally respected Stanford School of Nursing that still thrives today. In 1908, the nearby Stanford University chose the Cooper Medical College as its affiliated medical institution, initially calling it the Stanford Medical Department.

As the school expanded even further, and developed a worldwide reputation for research and superior clinical care the decision was made in 1951 to move it again, this time onto the main Stanford campus in Palo Alto. The college has never been relocated again, but it has undergone a number of expansions.

 One of the most notable additions was a brand new hospital that was completed in 1989. That expansion added a state of the art facility that gave the college twenty brand new operating rooms, a state of the art intensive care and a large number of inpatient units. The addition of another new facility, The Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital was completed in 1991, which added even more diversity to the offerings that Stanford Medical School can provide both to its students and to the patients that make use of the facilities with even better care and educational experiences than ever before.

A History of Firsts  

As it is best known as a cutting edge research facility it is not too surprising that many great medical firsts have occurred on the campuses of Stanford Medical school. These include:

1960 – The first kidney transplant performed in California

1968 – The first heart transplant performed in the United States

1974 – The discovery and isolation of the genome of a virus that causes hepatitis B and a common form of liver cancer

1981 – The very first successful human combined heart and lung transplant in the entire world (fourth attempted worldwide)

2005 – The discovery of a naturally occurring hormone called obestatin that can be used to suppress appetite

A number of the faculty, past and present have even received Nobel Prizes for their work at the institution, the most recent of which was a Nobel Prize for Chemistry awarded to Brian Kobilka in 2012, a man who is a professor of molecular and cellular physiology at the college.

It also stands to reason that the college has produced many notable physicians and research scientists and continues to do so every year.