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April 17, 1996

Harvard Med: The Story Behind America's Premier Medical School and the Making of America's Doctors

Author Affiliations

Margate, Fla

JAMA. 1996;275(15):1207-1208. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530390075042

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The Medical Institution of Harvard University opened in 1782 with two students and three teachers. John Warren, a 1771 Harvard graduate and military surgeon, established a curriculum and "an oral examination (not surprising, given that few of the early medical school students could actually write)...."

The school has come a long way over two centuries. Harvard Medical School's current class of 70 women and 95 men comes from 33 states, 15 foreign countries, and 63 colleges and was selected from 2942 applicants by a meticulous admission process. "We didn't just pull your names out of the yellow pages," quips Dr Daniel Federman at orientation.

Harvard's contributions to medical science are legendary: the Henderson-Hasselbach equation, development of the external cardiac pacemaker, the concept of heat-killed vaccines, the first use of electricity to restore cardiac rhythm, creation of the iron lung, and many more. Paul Dudley White introduced the electrocardiogram to the