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October 22 2008

Selling a Medical School's NameEthical and Practical Dilemmas

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston (Dr Loeffler); and University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky (Dr Halperin).

JAMA. 2008;300(16):1937-1938. doi:10.1001/jama.300.16.1937

There is an increasing trend in the United States to attribute names to medical schools in addition to that of the host university. For example, a recent news report stated the following:

Pressed to find new sources of cash, the University of Minnesota Medical School leaders are interested in selling the school's name in return for a big-time donation—as much as $150 million. . . . Would the University sell the medical school name to a drug company in return for a big donation? Would Minnesotans object to removing “Minnesota” from the school's name in exchange for cash? It is not clear.1

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