The Johns Hopkins University Was Founded In 1867, Dedicated To Scholarship, Teaching, And Patient Care: Johns Hopkins was a Quaker merchant from Baltimore who bequeathed $7,000,000 for the establishment of both a university and hospital. His father wanted his children to live off their own labors, and Johns Hopkins started as an apprentice grocer. He eventually became one of Baltimore’s most successful merchants. After making his fortune, Mr. Hopkins dedicated himself to philanthropy, with a commitment to serve the needs of the less fortunate. In founding the Hospital, he stipulated that it care for “the indigent sick of this city and its environs, without regard to sex, age, or color and the poor of this city and state, of all races.” The School of Medicine was opened in 1893, seventeen years after the University’s founding. Part of this delay was caused by the intent to have a fully equipped hospital before students were accepted. The Johns Hopkins Hospital was completed in 1889, and from the outset its destiny has been inextricably woven with that of the School of Medicine.
Academic Freedom, Premedical Education, and Commitment to Women: Several important innovations became central to the mission of the University. Daniel Coit Gilman, the first president of the University, was a champion of academic freedom. He stated that students should be free to select, under guidance, their own course of study, that professors should be free of routine, that investigators should be “free, competent, and willing”, and that research and teaching should supplement one another. President Gilman also organized a “preliminary medical course” in the Faculty of Philosophy, setting a standard which ultimately became a prerequisite for admission to many medical schools in the United States. His action influenced donor Mary E. Garrett to make her grant to the School contingent on its admitting only students whose preparation had been the equivalent of the Hopkins preliminary medical course. This was a great departure from the accepted standards for admission to medical school. Ms. Garrett and the Committee of the Women’s Medical School Fund made their contribution contingent upon the agreement by the Board of Trustees that women whose training was equivalent to the preliminary medical course be admitted on the same terms as men.
Full-Time Medical Faculty: The opening of The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine marked a new departure in medical education in America because it was the first time that all professors in the preclinical branches served on a full-time or university basis. The chairs of Anatomy, Physiology, Pharmacology and Pathology in the School were from the outset true university chairs, filled by scientists who gave their “entire time and strength” to the University, to use Gilman’s words. Thereafter, medical schools all over the country would follow the lead, and medical education, instead of being largely a proprietary business conducted for profit, would become a major area of academic endeavor.
The Physician Scientist as a Hopkins Innovation: The delay in opening the School of Medicine was a blessing in disguise, for it allowed time to assemble an excellent faculty. William H. Welch, renowned pathologist and the first Dean, began to organize courses in pathology and bacteriology for practicing physicians. He also assembled a group of young faculty with whom he carried out fundamental research which reflected great credit on the Hospital and University. Thus, the principles of postgraduate medical education and research were established even before the School was officially in existence. In 1888, Sir William Osler became the first Physician-In-Chief, followed by William S. Halsted and Howard A. Kelly as Chairs of Surgery and Gynecology and Obstetrics, respectively. This physician-scientist model, combined with the rapid transfer of knowledge from the research bench to the patient bedside, became the hallmark of medical education, physician training, and clinical care. Following its sterling evaluation in the famous Flexner report, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine became the model for medical education in the United States. Medicine at Johns Hopkins counted many “firsts” among its achievements during its early years: the first major medical school in the United States to admit women; the first to use rubber gloves during surgery; the first to develop renal dialysis and CPR. This leadership role created a standard that continues as a model 100 years later.