Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

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Case Western Reserve University
School of Medicine
Established 1843
Type Private
Academic staff
Students 1,206
Location Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
File:Casemed logo2010.png

Case Western Reserve School of Medicine (CWRU SOM, CaseMed) is one of the graduate schools of Case Western Reserve University, and is located in the University Circle neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. The School of Medicine is among the top 25 medical schools in America and is the top-ranked medical school of Ohio in research per U.S. News & World Report.[1] Additionally, Case School of Medicine is the largest biomedical research center in Ohio.[2] In 2015, the average MCAT score for the entering class was 36.

Prospective students have the option of three degree paths leading to a medical degree at the School of Medicine: the "University Program;" the "College Program" at the Cleveland Clinic; and the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP).

In 2002, the School of Medicine became only the third institution in history to receive the best review possible from the body that grants accreditation to U.S. and Canadian medical degree programs, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.[3]


On November 1, 1843, five faculty members and sixty-seven students began the first medical lectures at the Medical Department of Western Reserve College (also known as the Cleveland Medical College).[4]

File:CaseMed in 1843.jpg
Medical Department of Western Reserve College 1843-1885 located at E. 9th and St. Clair.

The School of Medicine has trained medical students, served the community, and been at the forefront of discovery in the City of Cleveland for over 165 years.

File:Emily Blackwell.jpg
Emily Blackwell – 1854 MD alumna. CaseMed graduated six of the first seven women to receive U.S. allopathic medical degrees.

Women in Medicine: In 1852, the medical school became the second in the U.S. to graduate a woman, Nancy Talbot Clarke. 1854 MD alumna, Emily Blackwell became the third woman in the US to receive a regular medical degree. Six of the first seven women in the United States to receive medical degrees from recognized allopathic medical schools graduated from Western Reserve University between 1850 and 1856.

Flexner Survey:

In 1909, Arbraham Flexner, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University surveyed and evaluated each of the one hundred and fifty-five medical schools then extant in North America. The results of his investigation proved shocking: most "medical schools," for example, had entrance requirements no more stringent than either high school diploma or "rudiments or the recollection of a common school education."

File:Cover of the Medical School catalog of 1868-69.jpg
Cover of the Medical School catalog of 1868-69.

Only sixteen schools required at least two years of college as an entrance requirement, and of these, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, and Western Reserve were still the only ones to require an undergraduate degree. Although Johns Hopkins represented his ideal, Flexner also singled out the Medical Department of Western Reserve University for its praiseworthy admission standards and facilities. Flexner referred to Western Reserve as "already one of the substantial schools in the country." In a letter to Western Reserve president Charles Franklin Thwing he said, "The Medical Department of Western Reserve University is, next to Johns Hopkins..., the best in the country."

Western Reserve Curriculum: A little over forty years later, in 1952, the Western Reserve University School of Medicine revolutionized medical education with the "new curriculum of 1952" and more advanced stages in 1968. This was the most progressive medical curriculum in the country at that time, integrating the basic and clinical sciences.

Research History: Development of the modern technique for human blood transfusion using a cannula to connect blood vessels; first large-scale medical research project on humans in a study linking iodine with goiter prevention; pioneering use of drinking water chlorination; discovery of the cause of ptomaine food poisoning and development of serum against it and similar poisons; first surgical treatments of coronary artery disease; discovery of early treatment of strep throat infections to prevent rheumatic fever; development of an early heart-lung machine to be used during open-heart surgery; discovery of the Hageman factor in blood clotting, a major discovery in blood coagulation research; first description of how staphylococcus infections are transmitted, leading to required hand-washing between patients in infant nurseries; first description of what was later named Reye's syndrome; research leading to FDA approval of clozapine, the most advanced treatment for schizophrenia in 40 years at the time; discovery of the gene for osteoarthritis; and creation with Athersys, Inc., of the world's first human artificial chromosome.

Integrated MD-PhD Training: In 1956, CWRU School of Medicine began an explicit M.D. and Ph.D. dual-degree training program. This served as a template for other research medical schools who quickly adopted the idea. In 1964, the National Institutes of Health began to fund some of these programs through its prestigious Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). Today, the MSTP trains nearly a thousand students at any given time.

CaseMed Today: Today the CWRU School of Medicine is the largest biomedical research institution in Ohio and one of the largest in the nation, as measured by funding received from the National Institutes of Health. The School of Medicine has eight Nobel Prize holders among its alumni and former and current faculty, and also has graduates who have distinguished themselves as U.S. Surgeons General: Jesse Steinfeld, MD, and David Satcher, MD, PhD, and the current the Director of the CDC, Julie Gerberding, MD.

Notable alumni and faculty

Nobel laureates

File:Jay MacLeod at Case1.jpg
John J.R. Macleod, 1923 Nobel Prize winner for discovering Insulin and Western Reserve University Professor of Physiology teaching class.


Ferid Murad, 1998 Nobel Laureate and CaseMed MD-PhD alumnus.
Case Alumni who received 2003 Nobel Prizes - Paul C. Lauterbur and Peter Agre (1st and 2nd from right) with President George Walker Bush


Public health


  • 1912 - Professor Roger Perkins pioneered the process of chlorinating drinking water.[29]
  • 1915 - Henry Gerstenberger (alumnus and pediatrics professor) first simulated milk formula for infants.
  • 1927 - Immunologist Enrique Ecker discovered the cause of ptomaine food poisoning and development of an antiserum.
  • 1935 - Claude Beck (Surgery residency alumnus; 1924-1971 Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery - first such position in US)[30] -
    • Performed first surgical treatment of coronary artery disease (1935)[31]
    • Performed first defibrillation using machine he built with James Rand (1947)[32]
    • Developed concept of Beck's Triad
    • Started the first CPR teaching course for medical professionals (1950).
  • 1950s - Professor Frederick Cross developed first heart-lung machine for use in open heart surgeries.
  • 1961 - Professor Austin Weisburger performed first successful genetic alteration of human cells in a test tube.
  • 1969 - William Insull, MD describes the role of cholesterol in blood vessel disease.
  • 1975 - Discovery that human renin, an enzyme produced by the kidney, is involved in hypertension
  • 1990 - National team led by rheumatologist Roland Moskowitz discovers gene for osteoarthritis.
  • 1991 - James A. Schulak, MD, and colleagues perform first triple organ transplant in Ohio-a kidney, liver and pancreas.
  • 1997 - Team led by Professor Huntington Willard (Chair of Genetics) create world's first artificial human chromosome.
  • M. Scott Peck (1963 MD alumnus) - psychiatrist and author of The Road Less Traveled
  • Amit Patel - stem cell surgeon who demonstrated stem cell transplantation can treat congestive heart failure.
  • 2004 - Craig Smith (1977 MD alumnus) leads the cardiac surgery team which performs President Bill Clinton's coronary artery bypass surgery.[33]
  • Richard Walsh, MD (Chair of Medicine, Case Medical Center) - Current editor of Hurst's The Heart Manual of Cardiology.[34]
  • Peter Tippett (1983 MD-PhD alumnus) - Inventor of early anti-virus software.[35][36]
  • Alfredo Palacio (Internal Medicine alumnus) - President of Ecuador (2005–2007).
  • David Jenkins- won the men's gold medal for figure skating during the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley[37]


2010 US News and World Report National Rankings[38]

Medicine Area National Rank
Overall 20
Biomedical Engineering 11
Family Medicine 15
Pediatrics 16

2008 NIH research rankings[39]

Area National Rank
Overall 17
Nutrition 1
Pediatrics 3
Orthopedics 6
Dermatology 7
Family Medicine 12
Urology 14
  • Case School of Medicine is the largest biomedical research center in Ohio.[40]


Building on its reputation for innovation in medical education, the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine introduced the WR2 curriculum with the class entering in 2006. The goal of the new curriculum is to unite the disciplines of medicine and public health. It is designed to emphasize independent study, and scheduling choices, while providing mentored experiences in research during the first 18 months of school. All students are required to complete a dedicated four-month research block during their second, third, or fourth year of study.

Small group learning

Small group learning is a central part of the curriculum. Students are required to review selected readings and engage in their own research to prepare for these sessions. When the group convenes, the students discuss their findings, driving an active and engaged learning process. Furthermore, the participation guidelines are structured in a manner to simulate the type of small-group experiences students will encounter with attending physicians in their clinical years (as medical students and medical residents).

Primary teaching hospitals

File:Case-UH affiliation.jpg
In 1896, the first affiliation agreement was approved between Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland[41]

Other teaching affiliates

Student life


Case Medical School is divided into four societies named after famous CaseMed alums. Upon matriculation, students in the University Program are assigned to a society. Each has a Society Dean who serves as an academic adviser to the students. The societies are:

Every year, the four societies compete in "ISC Picnic" for the infamous Society Cup in a series of events (e.g. soccer, flag football, relay races etc.) to test physical talents of the students in each society.

Doc Opera

Every year, students at Case Western Reserve SOM write, direct and perform a full length musical parody, lampooning Case Western Reserve, their professors, and themselves. In recent years, the show has been a benefit for the Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland.

Role in Cleveland and Ohio

CaseMed is located 15 minutes from downtown Cleveland.

During 2007, the economic impact of the School of Medicine and its affiliates on the State of Ohio equaled $5.82 billion and accounted for more than 65,000 Ohio jobs.[42] The role of Case Western Reserve University in the Cleveland economy has been reported on by The Economist magazine.[43]

In popular culture

See also


  17. Case Alum Ferid Murad Nobel page.
  31. Case faculty Claude Beck -
  32. Case faculty Claude Beck's first defibrillation article - "Ventricular fibrillation of long duration abolished by electric shock", JAMA, 1947
  33. Case alums leads Bill Clinton's surgical team:
  34. Richard Walsh:
  36. Case alum Peter Tippett developed Norton AntiVirus -
  37. "News About Skaters", Skating magazine, November 1960
  38. US News #20 in 2010:
  39. 2008 NIH research rankings -
  40. Case-UH largest biomedical research center in Ohio -
  42. CaseMed's $5.82 billion impact on Cleveland -

External links

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