One hundred and fifty years ago this month, something extraordinary happened at the University of Michigan. Its effects have reverberated down through history — not only on the campus, but across the state and nation.

In December 1869, the first patients checked in to the university’s first hospital. It wasn’t a fancy facility — just 20 beds in a converted former professor’s house on North University Avenue, where the Chemistry Building now stands.

Its patients had to travel across the Diag, to the Medical School building built 20 years before, to have an operation or examination by a professor with hundreds of medical students looking on.

But its opening marked the first time an American university had run a hospital, adding patient care to its missions of medical education and research. The birth of the academic medical center now known as Michigan Medicine began a movement that spread to universities across the country, and accelerated medical innovation.

A celebration of that 150th birthday began Dec. 16, and will continue through most of 2020, marking many of the medical and life sciences milestones and achievements that have happened at U-M and helped transform care everywhere.

A new timeline of historical events has just launched on the Michigan Medicine website, along with links to resources to explore U-M’s medical history further and a new overview video.

This video provides an overview of Michigan Medicine’s first 150 years.

Throughout the coming months, new stories and social media posts will bring Michigan Medicine’s history to life, linked by the hashtag #michmed150 on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Michigan Medicine faculty, staff, retirees, alumni and patients will be invited to share their memories and interact with historical content. Units within Michigan Medicine can tap into the celebration by noting events in their own past — all have “firsts” or major national contributions of their own.

In this video, Joel Howell, co-author of the 2017 book “Medicine at Michigan: A History of the University of Michigan Medical School at the Bicentennial” delivers a lecture about the history of U-M hospitals. Howell is the Elizabeth Farrand Collegiate Professor in Medical History and professor of internal medicine, history, and health management and policy.
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