The forerunner of Emory University School of Medicine dates from 1854, when the Georgia General Assembly granted a charter for the Atlanta Medical College. Students attended the first session the following year, and in 1859, with a $15,000 appropriation from the state legislature, the first building was erected at Butler and Armstrong streets near the site now occupied by Grady Memorial Hospital.
A series of mergers followed. In 1898, Atlanta Medical College joined with the Southern Medical College (founded in 1878) to form the Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons. Fifteen years later, this college merged with Atlanta School of Medicine (founded in 1905) under the historic name Atlanta Medical College. Then in 1915, the amalgamated school became Emory University School of Medicine. At a meeting of University alumni in 1919, it was decided that graduates of the antecedent institutions would become alumni of Emory University School of Medicine.
Incorporating the old medical college into Emory University led to noteworthy developments. When construction of the John P. Scott Anatomy Building and the T. T. Fishburne Physiology Building on the Emory campus was completed in 1917, the first two years of medical instruction were moved from downtown Atlanta to Emory. That same year, the University constructed the J. J. Gray Clinic Building on Armstrong Street for outpatient care of the indigent sick and for most of the clinical instruction of third-year students. Fourth-year work was carried out in the old college building at Butler and Armstrong streets and in nearby Grady Memorial Hospital, established in 1892.
Also in 1917, the School of Medicine was accepted into membership in the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and was approved by the Council on Education of the American Medical Association (AMA), now the Council on Medical Education and Hospitals. Today, the School of Medicine is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education of the AMA and the AAMC. Emory University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia, 30033, telephone 404.679.4501, to award associate, baccalaureate, master¿s, and doctoral degrees.
Today the School of Medicine is part of the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, named for the legendary leader of The Coca-Cola Company, whose first gift to Emory benefited the School of Medicine. In 1937, he donated $50,000 for the Robert Winship Clinic for Neoplastic Diseases, now known as the Winship Cancer Institute.
Other important developments occurred in this era. The AAMC recommended more emphasis on bedside teaching. Instead of relying exclusively on volunteer faculty, the School of Medicine began hiring full-time faculty. All have shaped the medical school's history in some way: They served valiantly in the Emory Unit in World War II (just as the Emory Unit had done in World War I). They helped ensure a firm financial base for the school with the organization of The Emory Clinic in 1953. And they forged Emory's reputation as one of the finest institutions in the country in education, patient care, and research.
In 2010, Emory University School of Medicine Faculty reached 2, 292 full and part-time members. 966 are Volunteer Clinical and adjunct faculty who along with full and part-time faculty teach more than 3, 202 learners including 522 medical students, more than 1,100 residents and fellows, approximately 170 MD/PhD students, and more than 445 students in the Academic Health Professional Programs. Faculty clinicians in affiliated hospitals and Emory's own teaching hospitals are responsible for 2,500 patient beds and more than 3.3 million patient encounters annually. In 2009-2010, Emory School of Medicine received $417 million in research funding; NIH-supported research accounted for $272 million. The school has more than 5,000 medical school alumni and 9,000 residency alumni, approximately one-fourth of all physicians practicing in Georgia.