1854 Atlanta Medical College, the earliest forerunner of Emory University School of Medicine, is founded by the Georgia General Assembly. Tuition for the first 16-week semester is $105. The school's first dean is John Westmoreland, who helped found the Atlanta Medical & Surgical Journal and Atlanta's first medical society.
1856 The first building of the Atlanta Medical College opens at the corner of what was then Butler and Jenkins Streets. This location continues to serve as a center of medical education in Atlanta, even today (Emory’s new Faculty Office Building now stands on this site).
1857 The Atlanta Medical College is represented for the first time at a meeting of the American Medical Association, held in Nashville.
1861 Classes are suspended during the Civil War. The college’s building is damaged by shellfire, and its furnishings and equipment are destroyed. Classes resume on August 16, 1865.
1866 The city council donates $5,000 in city bonds to repair and refurnish the college’s building.
1876 Atlanta Medical College, under the leadership of Dean J.T. Johnson, introduces special clinics for eye and ear treatment, diseases of women, and venereal diseases, in addition to the regular medical and surgical clinics.
1878 Atlanta Medical College faculty member, Thomas Powell, joins with other doctors to establish the Southern Medical College.
1879 Atlanta Medical College extends the length of its semester from 16 to 20 weeks.
1880 Atlanta Medical College graduates 48 students—the largest class since the Civil War.
1887 Enrollment at Atlanta Medical College rises to 117. Expected revenue is $7,000.
1892 Grady Memorial Hospital opens to serve a largely underserved indigent population. The site on Butler Street is selected because of its proximity to Atlanta Medical College (which is across the street). A new building for the rival Southern Medical College, is erected on Butler Street, next door to the Atlanta Medical College.
1895 Atlanta Medical College installs a telephone in its building. Professors are no longer required to issue a ticket for admission to class for each student. Curriculum changes from two to three lecture courses per semester.
1896 Enrollment at Atlanta Medical College is reported at 171 students, with revenue of $16,500.
1898 Atlanta Medical College and Southern Medical College agree to consolidate their schools to form the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons. The building for Southern Medical College closes, and the new school meets in the original building of the Atlanta Medical College at Butler and Armstrong Streets.
1905 Dean W.S. Kendrick resigns from the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons and establishes a competing school, the Atlanta School of Medicine. The new school shares headquarters with the Atlanta Dental School.
1906 The original building of the Atlanta Medical College, now operating as the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons, is razed and a new building is erected on the same site.
1908 Rivalry between the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons and the newer Atlanta School of Medicine becomes fierce, with the new school publicizing its enhanced teaching methods, including the use of drawings to teach anatomy and an emphasis on bedside learning.
1910 Enrollment at the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons climbs to 334—the highest to date. In this same year, the Carnegie Foundation commissions Abraham Flexner to take the pulse of medical education in America. His report is a scathing critique, concluding that medical education in this country was in a sorry condition. He recommends that medical schools either align with a university or get out of the business of teaching medicine.
1913 The Flexner Report of 1910, combined with pressure from the American Medical Association, convinces the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Atlanta School of Medicine to consolidate to form the Atlanta Medical College (reprising the name from the original institution of 1854).
1915 Coca-Cola founder Asa Candler donates $1 million to establish the Emory University campus in Atlanta. Emory College is moved from Oxford, Georgia to join the Atlanta campus. Emory University School of Medicine was formed this same year when Atlanta Medical College transferred its holdings to the university. The university pledged to endow $250,000 to the medical school.
1917 During WWI, Lt. Col. Edward C. Davis, who had served on the faculty of the Atlanta School of Medicine, develops and organizes the Emory Unit, also known as Base Hospital 43, stationed in Blois, France. This medical unit, largely composed of medical school faculty and alumni, specializes in the treatment of victims of war gas.
1917 The Scott (anatomy) lab and the Fishburne (physiology) lab open on Emory’s Atlanta campus. The medical school moves its first- and second-year students from Grady Memorial Hospital to the Emory campus.
1921 Frank Boland, former faculty member at the Atlanta School of Medicine and member of the Emory Unit, is chosen as the first president of Emory’s Medical Alumni Association.
1921 Emory physicians are given charge over Grady’s hospital for African-American patients, located in the medical school building across the street from Grady.
1922 Wesley Memorial Hospital, relocated from downtown, is dedicated on the Emory campus (it is now Emory University Hospital).
1923 The medical school receives $10,000 from F. Phinizy Calhoun Sr. to establish the A.W. Calhoun medical library (named for Phinizy’s father).
1923 Home “Butch” Blincoe begins a 21-year “reign of terror” as chair of anatomy at the medical school. His intolerance of lack of mastery of his subject quickly becomes legendary among students. (One former student said that when he was in a foxhole during WWII, he took comfort in the fact that “at least he wasn’t in Blincoe’s anatomy class!”)
1925 Russell Oppenheimer is named dean of the medical school. He is referred to as the “one man medical school” because of his numerous administrative roles (dean, professor, administrative chair of the Department of Medicine, superintendent, and medical director of Emory University Hospital).
1925 Medical alumni who graduated prior to the 1915 merger are given an opportunity to receive a new Emory University diploma in exchange for one awarded by one of Emory’s forebear medical schools.
1929 Evangeline Papageorge becomes the first woman appointed to the full-time faculty at the medical school. She would later become the school’s first female administrator when she is appointed dean of the students in 1956. She is remembered fondly by legions of alumni, who created the Papageorge Teaching Award in her honor.
1930 Daniel Elkin becomes chair of surgery, serving until 1954. He improves the surgical curriculum, elevating classroom teaching to equal footing with clinical training, and adding a year to the surgical residency program.
1930 Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center is established in Florida (later acquired by Emory in 1956, it moved to Atlanta in 1965, and is now called Yerkes National Primate Research Center).
1931 Emory medical instruction at Grady Memorial Hospital, previously restricted to the African-American wards, is extended to the white wards, as well.
1932 Wesley Memorial Hospital changes its name to Emory University Hospital.
1937 Coca-Cola leader Robert W. Woodruff donates $50,000 to found a cancer clinic named for his grandfather (known today as the Winship Cancer Institute).
1940 At the request of the U.S. Surgeon General, Emory organizes its second Emory Unit in preparation for service in WWII.
1940 Crawford W. Long Hospital is deeded to Emory, as a gift from Luther Fischer to take effect at his death. The hospital came under Emory management in 1953, and today is known as Emory University Hospital Midtown.
1940s With other Emory colleagues Eugene Stead 32M helped develop the first cardiac catheterization lab in Georgia, and third in the world, at Grady Hospital.
1943 Elizabeth Gambrell becomes the first woman to be admitted to Emory’s School of Medicine.
1946 Bruce Logue, often called the Father of Cardiology at Emory, establishes Emory’s first cardiology residency at Grady Memorial Hospital. He continues to help establish a strong relationship between cardiology and cardiac surgery.
1946 The VA Medical Center enters into an agreement, stipulating that Emory would be responsible for patient care in return for its use of VA facilities for teaching and research.
1947 Phinizy Calhoun Jr. performs the state’s first corneal transplant at Emory University Hospital, and is later credited with bringing modern ophthalmology to Georgia.
1949 Cardiologist J. Willis Hurst develops the first standard preparation of digitalis for children.
1949 Members of the Emory faculty establish the Private Diagnostic Clinic to be closer to their patients at Emory University Hospital (this clinic is the forerunner to the present day Emory Clinic).
1949 Phinizy Calhoun Jr. helps establish an eye bank (the fifth ever established in the United States) to serve patients in the Southeast needing cornea transplants.
1951 Emory heart surgeon Osler Abbott performs the first intracardiac operation in the Southeast for mitral valve stenosis (not yet “open heart” surgery, as the heart-lung machine was not available until 1955).
1952 The Woodruff Memorial Research Building, named for Robert Woodruff’s father, is constructed on Emory’s campus.
1953 The Emory Clinic is organized to enable physicians to maintain private practices while also teaching and doing research at Emory. Robert Woodruff funded the clinic, with the idea that the clinic would be self-sustaining and would make the medical school so as well.
1954 Wesley Woods is founded to meet housing and healthcare needs of the elderly. The medical school’s relationship with Wesley Woods continues to make Emory a hub for pioneering advances in geriatric care and research and in teaching geriatrics as a specialty.
1957 J.D. Martin becomes the chair of surgery. He later integrates the disparate surgical residency programs at Grady, Emory, and the VA Medical Center to bring them together as one unified program.
1958 J. Willis Hurst starts a cardiac catheterization lab in a building annexed to Emory University Hospital.
1958 Grady Memorial Hospital’s new 18-story building is completed and occupied.
1959 Henrietta Egleston Hospital for Children (now Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston) relocates from Forest Avenue to the Emory campus.
1960 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is built adjacent to Emory’s campus.
1960 Emory University Hospital, with the aid of grants from the U.S. Public Health Service, becomes one of eight hospitals in the nation to establish an extensive clinical research facility.
1960 Cardiologist Nanette Wenger is appointed director of the cardiac clinics at Grady Memorial Hospital. She would go on to become a leading expert in heart disease in women.
1962 Emory trustees take the lead in ending racial segregation of private higher education in Georgia, successfully suing to overturn restrictive provisions of the state’s constitution.
1962 Charles Hatcher performs Georgia’s first “blue baby” operation using open heart surgery. He goes on to build the heart surgery program at Emory into one of the nation’s largest and most successful.
1963 Hamilton Holmes becomes Emory’s first African-American medical student. He later becomes an orthopedic surgeon and is eventually named medical director of Grady Memorial Hospital.
1963 Charles Hatcher performs Georgia's first aortic valve replacement surgery.
1964 Asa Yancey becomes the first African-American member of the medical faculty at Emory. He later becomes the medical director at Grady Memorial Hospital.
1966 The Robert W. Woodruff Medical Center (later renamed the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center) is established.
1966 Georgia's first intrauterine transfusion to save the life of a fetus threatened by Rh negative blood reaction is performed at Emory University Hospital.
1966 Georgia's first coronary arteriogram is performed at Grady Memorial Hospital.
1966 Georgia's first kidney transplant is performed by Garland Perdue.
1970 Charles Hatcher performs Georgia’s first successful coronary bypass surgery at Emory University Hospital.
1971 A $25 million expansion plan for Crawford Long Hospital is announced, including a nine-story addition.
1972 Emory University Hospital begins a $30 million addition to patient care and teaching facilities.
1974 John Stone founds the residency program in emergency medicine.
1979 Ralph Vogler and Elliott Winton perform Emory’s first bone marrow transplant on a patient with acute leukemia.
1979 Emory University receives $105 million from the Emily and Ernest Woodruff Fund, the largest gift given to an educational institution in U.S. history and the lead gift in the $160 million campaign to support scholarships, teaching, research, and building projects across the University.
1980 The National Eye Institute selects Emory to direct the prospective evaluation of radial keratotomy study, the largest and most comprehensive clinical investigation of the procedure to correct myopia.
1980 Andreas Gruentzig, who developed a catheter to perform angioplasty in heart vessels, joined the Emory faculty. He continued advancing angioplasty and helped Emory teach it to physicians around the world.
1982 The Carter Center is founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn. In partnership with Emory University, The Carter Center is committed to advancing human rights and alleviating unnecessary human suffering. The Atlanta-based center located near the Emory campus has helped to improve the quality of life for people in more than 65 countries.
1982 Emory doctors inject a thrombolytic agent into the coronary artery of a patient to stop a heart attack, the first use of this treatment in Georgia.
1984 Richard Krause is recruited from the NIH to become dean at the Emory medical school. His mandate is to build Emory’s reputation in research to be on par with that of teaching and patient care.
1985 Surgeons at Emory perform Atlanta's first heart transplant.
1985 Robert W. Woodruff dies on March 7 at Emory University Hospital. During his lifetime, he gave away an estimated $350 million, including $230 million to Emory University.
1986 Luella Klein becomes the first female chair of a department (gynecology and obstetrics) at Emory.
1986 Atlanta industrialist, O. Wayne Rollins, donates $10 million for construction of the Rollins Research Center. The new building doubles the research space at Emory and helps to set the stage for Emory researchers to apply for and receive millions of dollars in research grants.
1987 The nation’s first freestanding geriatric hospital is built at Emory’s Wesley Woods complex.
1987 Emory doctors perform Georgia's first liver transplant.
1987 John Douglas and colleagues perform the first coronary stent implant in the United States.
1987 Emory heart doctors perform the state's first procedure to insert an implantable defibrillator.
1988 Emory doctors perform Georgia's first directional atherectomy to scrape and remove plaque from arterial walls.
1988 Emory surgeon Kirk Kanter performs the state’s first pediatric heart transplant on a 3-year old girl at Egleston Hospital.
1988 Jeffrey Houpt becomes dean of the medical school. During his tenure, annual research income grows to almost $99 million.
1989 Emory surgeons perform Georgia's first kidney-pancreas transplant.
1989 The American Cancer Society moves its national headquarters adjacent to Emory’s campus.
1989 The Emory Eye Center performs its first vision correction surgery with an excimer laser.
1990 The medical school helps to establish a new School of Public Health from its masters in community health program begun in 1975.
1991 Emory geneticist Stephen Warren helped identify the gene mutation responsible for fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability. Emory scientists later develop a diagnostic screening test based on this finding.
1992 Neurologist Mahlon DeLong and colleagues perform their first pallidotomy on a patient, using brain mapping to guide placement of lesions and electrodes. Later, state-of-the-art surgery for Parkinson’s would shift to deep brain stimulation, involving placement of pacemaker-like electrodes to control symptoms of Parkinson’s and other movement disorders. This work would help make Emory known as one of the premier Parkinson’s centers in the world, with more movement disorder specialists than any center in the country.
1993 The Emory Heart & Vascular Center is formed to coordinate Emory’s cardiac services at various locations under one umbrella.
1993 Emory surgeons perform Atlanta's first lung transplant.
1994 The School of Public Health is renamed the Rollins School of Public Health in honor of donor O. Wayne Rollins.
1995 The Emory Eye Center is approved by the FDA to sponsor a study of laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK).
1996 The Robert W. Woodruff, Joseph B. Whitehead, and Lettie Pate Evans foundations create and fund the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center Fund with grants of Coca-Cola stock totaling $295 million. Income from the fund is dedicated to the development of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center and the Winship Cancer Institute.
1996 Thomas J. Lawley is appointed Dean of the School of Medicine. Under his leadership, the School of Medicine achieves unprecedented growth in research space, grants, and collaborative partnerships.
1997 Emory doctors perform the world’s first minimally invasive triple “keyhole” off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery, using mini instruments.
1997 Emory surgeons perform the state’s first split living-related liver transplant, from mother to son.
1997 Emory surgeons successfully split a donated liver into two portions and then transplant the left lateral segment into a 21-month old girl and the larger portion into a 42-year old woman.
1997 Emory doctors implant the first biventricular pacemaker in Georgia.
1997 Emory Healthcare is created to unite Emory's hospitals and clinic into one system of care.
1998 The NIH designates Emory as one of three Parkinson’s Disease Research Center of Excellence.
1998 Emory doctors perform the world’s first unrelated umbilical cord blood transplant for sickle cell anemia on a 12-year old boy at Egleston Children’s Hospital.
1998 Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory create the first joint, two-school Department of Biomedical Engineering in the country.
1998 Emory clinicians begin use of virtual reality devices to treat debilitating fear of flying and later, post-traumatic stress disorder.
1999 Emory doctors implant Georgia's first dual-pump ventricular-assist device.
1999 Emory dedicates a new 4-story, 75,000 square ft. Vaccine Research Center.
2001 Emory doctors implant drug-eluting stents in clogged arteries as part of a landmark study to see if the devices reduce incidence of clots or restenosis.
2001 The Whitehead Biomedical Research Building opens, built with funds from the foundations whose patriarch, Joseph B. Whitehead, was the first to sell Coca-Cola in bottles.
2002 Based on a gene discovery made at Emory, the FDA approves a protein that stimulates bone growth and that provides an alternative to painful bone grafts.
2003 Emory doctors Chris Larsen and Thomas Pearson perform Georgia's first islet cell transplant on a 42-year old patient who had type-1 diabetes since the age of 8.
2003 The Winship Cancer Institute dedicates its new 280,000 square ft building, integrating cancer clinicians and researchers under the same roof for the benefit of patients. Winship also receives a planning grant from the National Cancer Institute, a crucial step toward WCI’s goal of NCI designation as a “comprehensive” cancer center.
2003 Emory clinicians perform the country’s first artificial cornea transplant, the world’s fifth nonsurgical repair of a faulty mitral valve, and Georgia's first endoscopic closed-chest, off-pump cardiac bypass surgery.
2004 The Department of Biomedical Engineering, only six years in existence, is ranked second in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
2004 A neuroscience research building is completed at Yerkes, and a new building for the Emory Children’s Center opens next to the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston on Emory's campus.
2005 Scientists Dennis Liotta (Emory College) and Raymond Schinazi (medical school) capitalized on decades of research, selling the rights to a major new AIDS drug they had discovered and developed. The drug is taken by the vast majority of people in treatment for HIV/AIDS, including more than 90% of those in the United States.
2006 The Emory Children's Center and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta formed an alliance, adding a hyphen to Emory-Children's Center's to symbolize their new integrated relationship.
2007 The school implements a new curriculum that is the culmination of years of planning. It favors small-group seminars over large lectures, teaches the science of medicine in the context of clinical application, exposes students to clinical experience from week 1, allows more time for student research, and organizes students and their faculty mentors into small "societies" that remain together throughout the entire curriculum.
2007 The James B. Williams Medical Education Building opens on the Emory campus with state-of-the-art simulation suites, auditoriums, and classrooms.
2008 The 120-bed Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital opens in Tucker, Georgia.
2009 Emory's Winship Cancer Institute becomes the first medical facility in Georgia to earn National Cancer Institute designation.
2010 A new Emory-directed phase 3 trial of progesterone to treat traumatic brain injury (TBI) begins in 17 trauma centers nationwide. If the trial substantiates earlier findings, this new treatment, developed at Emory, will be the first new TBI treatment in 40 years.
2010 Emory is participating, along with four other medical centers, in a phase 2 clinical trial testing targeted drug therapy for fragile X syndrome. (See 1991.)
2011 Emory and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta form the Emory-Children's Pediatric Research Center and break ground on a new research building that will research in pediatrics, cancer, immunology, and drug discovery.
2011 Emory surgeons perform the Southeast’s first total hand transplant
2011 The FDA approves Nulojix (belatacept) to prevent graft rejection after kidney transplant. This is the first time since the 1990s that a new class of drugs has been developed for transplant. Emory clinician-scientists developed this in collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb.
2012 Thomas Lawley steps down from the deanship after 16 years in office, and Surgery Chair Christian Larsen is named the new dean, effective January 15, 2013, following a national search.
2012 Emory receives NIH designation as an Autism Research Center of Excellence.
2012 Winship Cancer Institute receives renewal of its National Cancer Institute designation and celebrates its 75th anniversary.
2012 A new master’s program in genetic counseling, the first in Georgia, is inaugurated.