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The MSM Story

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Brief History of Morehouse School of Medicine

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Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) was the first predominantly black medical institution established in the United States in the 20th century. It is a private, freestanding, medical school originally founded as a part of Morehouse College in 1975 during the tenure of college president Hugh M. Gloster, with Louis W. Sullivan, M.D. as dean. The School of Medicine at Morehouse College began as a two-year program in the basic sciences with a mission to train a diverse health professional and scientific workforce and to serve underserved and underrepresented populations with emphasis on people of color. In April 1976 with Louis W. Sullivan M.D. as its first Dean and Director, a Board of Overseers (later to become the Board of Trustees) was appointed by the trustees of Morehouse College to provide guidance for the development of the medical education program. A Charter class of twenty-four students entered the two-year basic medical science program in September 1978. The first three classes transferred to four-year medical schools to complete their clinical medical training and to receive their Doctor of Medicine degrees.

In 1981 Morehouse School of Medicine became independent from Morehouse College and received authorization to plan a four­-year, degree-granting medical education program. The Graduate Medical Education (Residency) Program was also initiated in that year when the Family Practice Residency Program received accreditation by the Accrediting Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). In 1982 the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) gave authorization to proceed with plans to award the Doctor of Medicine degree.

Becoming the sixth institution in the educational consortium known as the Atlanta University Center in 1983, Morehouse School of Medicine third year medical students began their clinical education at Grady Memorial Hospital in cooperation with Emory University School of Medicine. The LCME granted the School full accreditation to award the M.D. degree and the first four-year graduates were awarded the Doctor of Medicine degree on May 17, 1985.

In 1989 MSM President Dr. Louis Sullivan was appointed United States Secretary of Health and Human Services during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. Dr. Sullivan later returned to MSM as president in 1993.

MSM is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to offer the M.D. degree, the doctorate degree (Ph.D.) in Biomedical Sciences and was the first Historically Black College (HBCU) to receive accreditation for the Master of Public Health.

There are seven ACGME-accredited residency-training programs.

Initial Accreditation Specialty
1981 Family Practice
1986 Public Health & Preventive Medicine
1991 Psychiatry
1992 Internal Medicine
1993 General Surgery
1997 Obstetrics & Gynecology
2002 Pediatrics

MSM 40th Timeline 1970 – 1989

In 1999 MSM received the “Outstanding Community Service Award” from the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), in recognition of its extensive community engagement. While opening the doors of the newly constructed Louis W. Sullivan National Center for Primary Care, former President George H.W. Bush and the First Lady visited MSM for the installation of Peter R. MacLeish, Ph.D. as the “George H.W. and Barbara P. Bush Chair” of the Neuroscience Institute. Funded by a $1.5 million endowment from the Texas-based William Stamps Farish Fund, Dr. MacLeish’s appointment represented the nation’s first neuroscience endowed chair at a black university. In 2013 President Obama appointed Dr. MacLeish to The BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies).

The Master of Science in Clinical Research program was initiated and two new buildings opened during the 2003-04 academic year – the Research Wing of the Medical Education Building and the annex to the Multi-Disciplinary Research Center. It was also during this time that Former US Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher became MSM’s interim and later, full president.

In 2009 President Obama nominated MSM Board of Trustee Vice Chair Eric Holder for U.S. Attorney General, while also tapping MSM Trustee and alumnus, Dr. Regina Benjamin for U.S. Surgeon General. Both nominations were confirmed.

As the institution celebrated its 30th Anniversary, the Master of Biomedical Research and Biomedical Technology programs were added, in addition to the nationally recognized Satcher Health Leadership Institute. In 2010 MSM was ranked #1 among all medical schools in the U.S. by the American College of Physicians in the Annals of Internal Medicine for fulfilling its social mission.1

In 2011 the institution established the Master of Science in Medical Science program and the National Institute of Health awarded $13.3 million to MSM researchers to lead the first ever Minority Health Genomics and Translational Research BIo-Repository Database (MH-GRID) Network.

Staffed by MSM clinicians and residents, Morehouse Healthcare (formerly Morehouse Medical Associates established in 1986) opened its doors to patients in 2013, followed by the historic appointment of Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice as President and Dean. Dr. Montgomery Rice is the first African American woman appointed to lead a freestanding medical school.

MSM 40th Timeline 1990 – Present

MSM Mission: MSM is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities; increasing the diversity of the health professional and scientific workforce; and addressing primary healthcare needs through programs in education, research, and service, with emphasis on people of color and the underserved urban and rural populations in Georgia and the nation.

The majority of MSM’s alumni choose to honor the institution’s mission by serving communities located in rural areas and inner cities. MSM alumni have distinguished themselves in leadership roles locally, nationally and internationally.

MSM is home to world-renowned centers and institutes: The Cardiovascular Research Institute; The Center of Excellence on Health Disparities; The National Center for Primary Care; The Neuroscience Institute (NI); Prevention Research Center (PRC); Research Core Facility and The Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI). MSM’s research stature and reputation have grown exponentially over the last decade, fueled in large part by significant investments in our research infrastructure with funding from the National Institute of Health (NIH), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Georgia Cancer Coalition and others.

Morehouse School of Medicine is affiliated with one of the largest health systems in the United States. Grady Health System is comprised of Grady Memorial Hospital, eight neighborhood health centers and Georgia’s largest nursing home-Crestview Health and Rehabilitation Center. It is the largest general hospital in Georgia and one of the largest in the world. Grady Memorial Hospital is staffed exclusively by physicians from Morehouse School of Medicine and Emory University and has grown to be a pre-eminent leader of innovative patient care among inner-city hospitals in the United States.

Morehouse School of Medicine continues to be fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, Council on Education for Public Health, Liaison Committee on Medical Education and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

1 The Social Mission of Medical Education: Ranking the Schools 15 June 2010, Vol 152, No. 12>
Fitzhugh Mullan, MD; Candice Chen, MD, MPH; Stephen Petterson, PhD; Gretchen Kolsky, MPH, CHES; and Michael Spagnola, BA
[+] Article and Author Information
Ann Intern Med. 2010;152(12):804-811. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-152-12-201006150-00009