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Our Heritage

Johns Hopkins dome

The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions were the vision and the gift of Quaker merchant Johns Hopkins, who wished to unite in a single enterprise a three-fold mission: to produce superior physicians, to seek new knowledge for the advancement of medicine and to administer the finest patient care. This mission is reflected in our trefoil logo.

The Johns Hopkins Hospital opened in 1889, with its domed administration building named after John Shaw Billings, the architect, physician and librarian who designed the original hospital. Now registered as a national historic landmark, the Billings dome stands as a familiar symbol of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, a symbol of the many people working daily to provide the best possible care to patients, to train tomorrow's specialists in health care and to challenge the frontiers of biomedical science through research.

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine opened four years after the hospital in 1893. Moving from laboratory to lecture hall to the patient's bedside, students and interns brought the scientific approach to medicine and received first-hand training in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. The "Hopkins experiment" changed the pattern of medical education in the United States and had a tremendous, positive impact on patient care. Within two decades, the hospital and the School of Medicine were models of patient care and education for the nation. 

A new era in disease prevention began when the third of the Hopkins Medical Institutions, the School of Hygiene and Public Health — now the Bloomberg School of Public Health — was established in 1916. It was this nation's first graduate training and research institution devoted solely to public health: health promotion among groups of people, not just individuals.

Today, the hospital, the School of Medicine, the School of Public Health and the School of Nursing constitute the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, which are located on a 44-acre campus in East Baltimore. The William H. Welch Medical Library, also located on this site, collects the medical literature in all fields of teaching, patient care and research represented at the Medical Institutions and contains more than 346,000 bound volumes and an excellent audiovisual section.

Advancements in Medicine

Some of the most far-reaching advances and accomplishments in medicine have been made at Hopkins including: the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of restriction enzymes, which gave birth to the genetic engineering industry; the discovery of the brain's natural opiates, which triggered an explosion of interest in neurotransmitter pathways and functions; the discovery of vitamin D;  the identification of the three types of polio virus; the development of closed-chest heart massage (CPR); and the first "blue baby" operation, which opened the way for modern heart surgery.

Hopkins was also the birthplace of many medical specialties, including pediatrics, endocrinology, neurosurgery and urology.

Looking to the Future

While a heritage of excellence is important to the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, we do not cling to the past. The hospital and School of Medicine have spent more than $200 million in the last decade to rebuild, with another $150 million of expansion planned for the next two years so that we can better respond to the health care needs of today — and tomorrow.

At the School of Public Health, emphasis has shifted from the infectious diseases of an earlier era to chronic diseases, health problems related to the environment and improvement in the organization and delivery of health services.

Although Hopkins draws patients and scholars from all over the globe, the Medical Institutions remain firmly committed to serving the health needs of Baltimore and the state of Maryland.