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Stanford University School of Medicine is affiliated with Stanford University and is located at Stanford University Medical Center in Stanford, California, adjacent to Palo Alto, California and Menlo Park, California. Originally based in San Francisco, California as Cooper Medical College, it is the oldest continuously running medical school in the western United States. The medical school moved to the Stanford Campus in 1959. Stanford is now well known for its small class size and pass/fail grading system. The school has one of the best student-faculty ratios, with more than 200 basic science faculty as well as 400 in clinical disciplines. In 2008, 93% of graduates were admitted to one of their top three choices in residency programs, and 75.0% to their first-choice. Stanford faculty members also have among the highest per capita funding in the country. Students also boasted the highest average scores in the country on the Step 1 medical licensing exam (Stanford average: 237).

Rotations occur at several hospital sites. In addition to the Stanford Hospital and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford has formal affiliations with Kaiser Permanente, Santa Clara Valley Hospital and the Palo Alto VA. Stanford medical students also manage two free clinics: Arbor Free Clinic in Menlo Park and Pacific Free Clinic in San Jose. Stanford is a cutting-edge center for translational and biomedical research (both basic science and clinical) and this emphasis on novel methods, discoveries and interventions is brought into its curriculum.


The School of Medicine's mission is to be a premier research-intensive medical school that improves health through leadership and collaborative discoveries and innovation in patient care, education and research.


In the 2007 medical school survey, Stanford came in 7th position for research. It is also the school with the largest proportion of Asian-American students in the U.S.


In 1908, Stanford University adopted the Cooper Medical College in San Francisco, CA as its affiliated medical institution. The school expanded and built up a reputation for excellence and providing cutting edge clinical care. In the 1950's, the Stanford Board of Trustees decided to move the school of the Stanford main campus in Palo Alto. Since then the faculty and students at the School of Medicine have made numerous contributions to both clinical and basic science innovations, cementing Stanford's international reputation as a leader in medicine.

In the 1980's the Medical Center launched a major expansion program. A new hospital was added in 1989 with 20 new operating rooms, state of the art intensive care and inpatient units, and other technological additions. The Lucile Packard Children's Hospital was completed in 1991, adding even more diversity to the Center. More construction is currently underway to further expand teaching and clinical opportunities.

The recently completed Clark Center houses interdisciplinary research endeavors and serves to reinforce Stanford's commitment to providing the best possible patient care through innovation.

New Curriculum Fall 2003[]

Classroom lectures are reduced from 30 hrs/week to 12-22 hrs/week. There are no classes on Wednesdays. The grading scheme is completely pass/fail and there is no AOA or other forms of an honor system as to encourage cooperation among students. Each student can choose from 1 of 12 Scholarly concentrations/majors. Students at Stanford learn to think and act as scientists- a unique angle in medical education.

Notable Research/Achievements[]

  • 1957 - Arthur Kornberg (then at Washington University) discovers the first DNA polymerase.
  • 1968 - first heart transplant in the USA by Norman Shumway.
  • 1970 - Leonard Herzenberg develops the fluorescence-activated cell sorter (FACS) which revolutionizes the study of cancer cells and will be essential for purification of adult stem cells
  • 1973 - Berg and Cohen (and Boyer at UCSF) essentially starts the biotechnology era with developments in methods of DNA cloning
  • 1990 - Roger Kornberg discovers the Mediator of transcriptional activation, which links gene regulatory signals to the RNA polymerase machinery in all eukaryotes.
  • 1996 - Matt Scott identifies gene for basal cell carcinoma
  • 2006 - Roger Kornberg gets the Nobel prize for reporting the structure of eukaryotic RNA polymerase II at atomic resolution, the most complex protein structure solved to date.

Notable Alumni[]

  • John Baldwin - Former Dean of Dartmouth Medical School
  • Diana Bianchi - Natalie Zuckeer Professor of Tufts; noted genetics researcher
  • William Brody - President of Johns Hopkins University
  • David D. Burns - Psychiatrist and author
  • Amy Chow - Olympic gold medalist.
  • Esther Clarke - One of the first women physicians in the country
  • Lawrence Cohn - Chair of Harvard Cardiac Surgery, Hubbard Chair at Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Thomas Elmendorf - Former California Medical Association president
  • William Frist- Cardiology Fellow; United States Senator, former presidential candidate
  • Dave Griffin - Former chair of neurology, Johns Hopkins
  • Peter Kim - President of Merck Research Laboratories
  • Rusell Lee - Founder of Palo Alto Medical Foundation
  • Milt McColl - Former NFL linebacker
  • Michael McCoy - Associate Dean, UCLA School of Medicine
  • Neil Moran- Former chairman pharmacology, Emory.
  • Joshua Prager - Renowned pain medicine specialist
  • Vic Richards - Chief of staff, Children's Hospital, Presbyterian Medical Center
  • Kathy Rodan & Kathy Fields - Co-Founders: Proactiv Skin
  • Julius Scholtz - Dermatology pioneer
  • Windsor Cutting- studied and characterized the botulinum toxin
  • Belding Scribner - Professor, University of Washington,inventor of the Scribner shunt
  • Irving Weissman - Leading Stem Cell Biologist. Founder of Systemix and Stem Cells Inc.
  • Augustus White - Surgeon-in-chief, Orthopedic surgery, BIDMC-Harvard
  • Ray Lyman Wilbur - President of American Medical Association, President of Stanford (1916-1943), personal physician of President Harding
  • Hyman Zimmerman - Renowned liver specialist
  • Cheri Blauwet- professional cyclist, winner of Boston Marathon
  • Scott Parazynski - NASA Astronaut, veteran of 5 Space Shuttle missions

Notable Faculty[]

  • Paul Berg - Biochemist. Nobel Laureate.
  • Patrick Brown - Developer of the microarray for the masses.
  • Andrew Z. Fire - Winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
  • Arthur Kornberg - Winner of the 1959 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (with Severo Ochoa) for their discovery of the mechanisms of the biological synthesis of ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid.
  • Roger Kornberg - Winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and son of Arthur Kornberg. Discoverer of nucleosome and transcriptional Mediator. Member of National Academy of Sciences.
  • Emile Holman- First chair of general surgery at Stanford; Rhodes scholar and considered to be "last" pupil of Halsted.
  • Donald Laub - Founder of Interplast, Inc.
  • Joshua Lederberg - Nobel Laureate.
  • Kate Lorig - Director of the Stanford Patient Education Research Center
  • Norman Shumway - Heart transplant pioneer; Performed first heart transplant in the United States.
  • Irving Weissman - Leading Stem Cell Biologist. Founder of Systemix and Stem Cells Inc.
  • Roger Kornberg gets the Nobel prize for reporting the structure of eukaryotic RNA polymerase II at atomic resolution.
  • Bruce Reitz First combined adult human heart-lung transplant
  • Vaughn Starnes First living lobar lung transplant

Former Deans of Stanford Medical School[]

1858-1864 Richard Beverly Cole, M.D. Dean, Medical Dept. of University of the Pacific

1870-1911 Henry Gibbons, Jr., M.D. Dean, successively, of Medical Dept. of University of the Pacific; Medical College of the Pacific; and Cooper Medical College from 1 June 1870 until his death on 27 Sept 1911.

1909-1910 John Maxon Stillman, Ph.D. Acting Executive Head, Dept. of Medicine, Stanford University: 1 August 1909 - 31 Dec 1910

1911-1915 Ray Lyman Wilbur, M.D. Executive Head, Department of Medicine, Stanford University: 1 Jan 1911 - 22 May 1913 Dean, Stanford University School of Medicine: 23 May 1913 - 31 Dec 1915

1916-1933 William Ophuls, M.D. Acting Dean: 1 Jan 1916 - 31 July 1916 Dean: 1 August 1916 - 27 April 1933 (died)

1933-1953 Loren Roscoe Chandler, M.D. Acting Dean: 1 Sept 1933 - 12 Sept 1933 Dean: 14 Sept 1933 - 31 August 1953

1953-1957 Windsor Cutting, M.D. Acting Dean: 1 Sept 1953 - 30 Nov 1953 Dean: 1 Dec 1953 - 8 March 1957

1957-1964 Robert H. Alway, M.D. Acting Dean: 9 March 1957 - 14 May 1958 Dean: 15 May 1958 - 31 August 1964

1964-1965 Sidney Raffel, M.D. Acting Dean: 1 Sept. 1964 - 30 June 1965

1965-1970 Robert Glaser, M.D. Dean and Vice President for Medical Affairs: 1 July 1965 - 31 August 1970 (Acting President, Stanford University: 1 Sept 1968 - 30 Nov 1968)

1970-1971 John L. Wilson, M.D. Acting Dean: 1 Sept 1970 - 31 August 1971

1971-1978 Clayton Rich, M.D. Dean and Vice President of Medical Affairs: 1 Sept 1971 - 31 Dec 1978

1979-1981 Lawrence G. Crowley, M.D. Acting Dean: 1 Jan 1979 - Dec 1981 Acting Vice President for Medical Affairs: 1 Jan 1979 - 8 Sept 1980 Vice President for Medical Affairs: 9 Sept 1980 - 31 Dec 1985

1982-1984 Dominick P. Purpura, M.D. Dean and Associate Vice President for Medical Affairs: 1 Jan 1982 - 31 August 1984

1984-1995 David Korn, M.D. Dean: 9 Oct 1984 - 31 March 1995 Associate Vice President for Medical Affairs: 9 Oct 1984 - 31 Dec 1985 Vice President: 1 Jan 1986 - 31 March 1995

1995-2001 Eugene A. Bauer, M.D. Dean: 1 April 1995 - 31 March 2001 Vice President for Medical Affairs 1 Oct 1997 -

2001- Philip A. Pizzo, M.D. Dean: 1 April 2001 -

References in Popular Culture[]

  • Dr. Cristina Yang, a character on the popular medical television drama Grey's Anatomy is a Stanford alumna and 'graduated first in her class', despite Stanford's medical school not actually having grades or rankings
  • Nick Rubashkin- Stanford Alum and Co-Editor of What I Learned in Medical School-personal stories of young doctors
  • Bob Kelso, Chief of Medicine on the NBC comedy Scrubs graduated '12th in his class' at Stanford.
  • At the end of Good Will Hunting, the character Skylar leaves Boston to enter medical school at Stanford.

External links[]

Template:Stanford Academics