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School of Medicine Facts

The School of Medicine has a rich, 125-year history of success in research, education and patient care. Our faculty pioneered bedside teaching and led in the transformation of empirical knowledge into scientific medicine, understanding from the earliest days that “investigation and practice are one in spirit, 
method and object.”

Commencement 2015 - Facts

Our academic programs select applicants who, in addition to possessing keen minds, demonstrate an ability to perceive and serve patients’ best interests. An outstanding education from Washington University School of Medicine provides graduates with solid opportunities for highly sought-after residencies and fellowships, engaging and challenging research endeavors, and successful, rewarding careers in medicine, allied health and public health.

Download the 2016 Facts brochure (pdf) »

School of Medicine at a glance (FY 2015)

  • Founded1891
  • Degree programs13
  • Research funding$531.4M
  • Outpatient visits1,031,894
  • Clinical sites47

Total Students1,347

  • MD, MD/PhD, MA/MD597
  • Audiology & Communication Sciences71
  • Clinical Investigation 92
  • Genetic Epidemiology39
  • Occupational Therapy276
  • Physical Therapy241
  • Population Health Sciences18

Total Employees9,204

  • Faculty2,056
  • Non-faculty assistants and others144
  • Staff7,004

  • Residents and clinical fellows
    1,107

Leadership

David H. Perlmutter, MD
Executive Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs and Dean
Washington University School of Medicine

Departments and department heads

Anesthesiology
Alex S. Evers, MD

Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
John A. Cooper, MD, PhD

Cell Biology and Physiology
David W. Piston, PhD

Edward Mallinckrodt Dept. of Developmental Biology
Lilianna Solnica-Krezel, PhD

James S. McDonnell Dept. of Genetics
Jeffrey D. Milbrandt, MD, PhD

John T. Milliken Dept. of Medicine
Victoria J. Fraser, MD

Molecular Microbiology
Stephen M. Beverley, PhD

Neurology
David M. Holtzman, MD

Neuroscience
Azad Bonni, MD, PhD

Neurosurgery
Ralph G. Dacey Jr., MD

Obstetrics and Gynecology
George A. Macones, MD, MSCE

Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Todd P. Margolis, MD, PhD

Orthopaedic Surgery
Regis James O’Keefe, MD, PhD

Otolaryngology
Craig A. Buchman, MD

Pathology and Immunology
Herbert W. “Skip” Virgin, MD, PhD

Edward Mallinckrodt Dept. of Pediatrics
Alan L. Schwartz, PhD, MD

Psychiatry
Charles F. Zorumski, MD

Radiation Oncology
Dennis E. Hallahan, MD

Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology
Richard L. Wahl, MD

Mary Culver Dept. of Surgery
Timothy J. Eberlein, MD

Degree programs

The School of Medicine offers master’s and doctoral degree programs in medicine, biomedical research, allied health and public health.

See all degree programs »

History

In 1891, responding to a national concern for improving doctors’ training, the Washington University administration established a medical department. In 1909, Robert Brookings, a successful businessman turned philanthropist, set about transforming the department into a modern medical school with full-time faculty, adequate endowment, modern laboratories and associated teaching hospitals.

Brookings’ dream of modern excellence centered on creating an outstanding faculty for teaching, research and patient care. Among the first four department heads recruited in 1910 was Joseph Erlanger, who went on to win the 1944 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

In 1919, Evarts Graham was appointed the first full-time head of surgery. Fourteen years later, he performed the first successful lung removal. In 1910, George Dock established a tradition of distinguished clinical research in the Department of Medicine. Carl and Gerty Cori arrived at the School of Medicine in 1931 to join the Department of Pharmacology. In 1947, they won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for research on the catalytic conversion of glycogen. Six other Nobelists received training under their auspices.

Women first gained admission to the student body in 1918; today, they make up half of each incoming class. African-American graduates of the medical school now number more than 300. Scholarship support for all students, including special fellowships for those entering the Medical Scientist Training Program, is a high priority.

The transmission of excellence from one generation to the next is a hallmark of this School. Dean Robert Moore’s 1951 comment remains true today: “An institution is only as great as the individual men and women who compose it.”

Faculty

The School of Medicine has 2,056 full-time faculty members.

Outstanding faculty achievements of our current faculty include:

  • 11 faculty members are fellows of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences; 25 faculty members belong to its Institute of Medicine.
  • 87 faculty members hold individual career development awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • 69 faculty members hold career development awards from non-federal agencies.
  • 9 faculty members have MERIT status, a special recognition given by the National Institutes of Health that provides long-term, uninterrupted financial support to investigators.

In addition, 19 Nobel laureates have been associated with the School of Medicine.

Doctor of Medicine program and students

Washington University School of Medicine offers several programs and combined medical degree programs: a regular four-year MD program, a five-year MD program, the combined MD/MA program, the combined MD/MSCI program and the combined MD/PhD program. MD students may also elect to complete the MPHS degree while enrolled in the MD program, which extends the course of study one year.

The MD/PhD degree program, known as the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), is the largest in the country. It is designed for students interested in academic careers at major medical schools and research institutions.

Medical students

The School of Medicine received 4,230 applications for admission to the MD program’s 2015-16 first-year class. The school enrolled 123 students, resulting in more than 34 applicants per position.

Graduating seniors are highly successful in obtaining competitive residency training positions through national matching programs. 29% of the graduating class of 2015 selected a primary care field (pediatrics, internal medicine or family medicine) for residency training; 41% matched into highly competitive specialty fields such as neurosurgery, orthopaedic surgery, otolaryngology, plastic surgery, urology, and radiation oncology.

See the latest Match Day results »
See the number of students per degree program and year »

See tuition for the most recent academic year »

Community Service

School of Medicine students participate in student organizations such as the American Medical Student Association, the American Medical Women’s Association and the Student National Medical Association. Highlights of other activities:

  • Health Outreach Program works to improve health outcomes among the underserved. Areas of active work include screenings, patient navigation and nutrition.
  • The Student-Organized Clinics, established by medical students and staffed by students and faculty, provide free medical care to needy people in the St. Louis community.
  • Students Teaching AIDS to Students puts medical students in junior high schools to teach AIDS awareness.
  • Community CPR teaches regular classes at public schools, churches, shelters and community education centers.
  • The Young Scientist Program promotes science and careers in science to high school students from 
disadvantaged backgrounds.

Graduate Medical Education Consortium

Washington University School of Medicine, with Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, sponsors a consortium for graduate medical education.

The group operates 87 training programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and approximately 40 non-accredited specialties that continue the institutions’ long histories of successfully training outstanding residents and clinical fellows in medical education, research and patient care.

Both the GME Consortium and all of its sponsored training programs are in good standing with the ACGME and are fully committed to providing a quality educational experience to the residents and clinical fellows training in these programs.

Visit the Graduate Medical Education Consortium website »

Gifts, grants and research support

Grants and contracts totaling more than $464.7 million supported faculty research efforts at the School of Medicine during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. Substantial additional support was provided directly to faculty investigators by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Gifts and grants from thousands of private sources, including alumni, individuals, foundations, corporations and other organizations, totaled $139 million.

During the Washington University fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, the School of Medicine received $325.2 million from the National Institutes of Health.

Revenue

Fiscal year 2015 revenue: $1.9 billion
Includes research support and patient servicesRegional economic impact: $5.3 billion
Washington University Medical Center

Research highlights

The many firsts at the School of Medicine include:

  • Served as a major contributor of genome sequence data to the Human Genome Project
  • Developed the first surgical prevention of cancer based on genetic testing – in work on medullary thyroid cancer
  • Developed screening tests used worldwide to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease
  • Created the first positron emission tomography (PET) scanner, a device that images the brain at work
  • Helped pioneer the use of insulin to treat diabetes
  • Proposed the now-common practice of taking aspirin to help prevent heart attacks
  • Performed the world’s first nerve transplant using nerve tissue from a cadaver donor
  • Developed a blood test that quickly and safely identifies whether a patient needs invasive treatment for a heart attack
  • Decoded the entire genome of a cancer patient and used the results to alter the course of treatment, which put the cancer into remission
  • Demonstrated that severely malnourished children given antibiotics along with a therapeutic peanut-butter based food are far more likely to recover and survive than children who only receive the therapeutic food
  • Published the first evidence linking smoking and lung cancer

Ongoing clinical research includes:

  • Participating in a national network to determine new ways to prevent preterm birth
  • Developing new ways to diagnose and treat stroke as part of a national network of state-of-the-art stroke treatment centers
  • Making groundbreaking contributions to decoding the genetics of cancer and developing personalized treatments
  • Leading an international collaboration to study inherited forms of Alzheimer’s disease and spearheading the first drug prevention trial
  • Pioneering minimally invasive surgical treatments for heart arrhythmias and heart valve replacement
  • Participating in the National Children’s Study, the largest U.S. study of child and human health ever conducted
  • Leading research, teaching and community engagement to improve population health through Washington University’s Institute for Public Health
  • Investigating changes to the brain in soldiers exposed to roadside bomb blasts and athletes who have suffered repeated concussions to understand their long-term mental and physical consequences
  • Leading research to improve care for heart failure and cardiovascular disease, including clinical trials to evaluate mechanical assist devices and studies to look at the link between diabetes and aggressive heart disease

Ongoing basic science research includes:

  • Developing and using nanoparticles for molecular imaging and targeted drug delivery for cancer and heart, lung and vascular diseases
  • Leading an international effort to map major brain circuits to understand normal brain function and connectivity errors involved in alcoholism, autism and schizophrenia
  • Pioneering studies on the links between obesity and malnutrition with the community of microbes that live in the gut
  • Identifying biomarkers in the brain and spinal cord to help physicians diagnose Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms develop
  • Exploring the genetic influences at play in alcohol, smoking and drug addiction.

Alumni

As of 2015, the 26,475 School of Medicine alumni include:

  • Medical: 9,881
  • Former House Staff: 7,826
  • Health Administration Program (1946-2008): 1,289
  • Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences: 2,279
  • Program in Occupational Therapy: 2,279
  • Program in Physical Therapy: 2,674
  • Nursing Program (1905–69): 769

To complement the aims of the School of Medicine, the Washington University Medical Center Alumni Association sponsors various programs for MD alumni, former house staff and current students:

  • The Distinguished Alumni Scholarship Program provides four-year, full-tuition scholarships to four incoming medical students each year. The scholarships are named after alumni who have distinguished themselves as Washington University faculty. Created in 1989, this program has provided scholarships for 88 medical students to date.
  • Members of the William Greenleaf Eliot Society and other annual donors contribute funds aimed at endowing a chair in each department in the School of Medicine through the Alumni Endowed Professorship Program. Nine have been established.
  • The WUMC Alumni Association provides funds to support student community-service projects, transition-to-residency loans to students, academic societies (faculty and students), primary care preceptorships and other student-related initiatives.

The Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences

Organized in 1973, the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences (DBBS) is a graduate educational consortium of faculty affiliated with 37 basic science and clinical departments in the School of Medicine, the School of Engineering and the College of Arts & Sciences. DBBS programs are designed to provide a broad, collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to graduate education, emphasizing investigation into many of today’s most important biological questions.

Graduate study in the DBBS is highly individualized and focuses on the needs and interests of students, each of whom is free to choose a mentor for laboratory and dissertation research from among more than 480 faculty members in the division.

Currently, 646 students are enrolled in the DBBS, 190 of whom are pursuing a combined MD/PhD degree under the auspices of the Medical Scientist Training Program. Nearly 85 percent of MSTP graduates who have completed their residencies are actively involved in research programs at leading institutions.

Washington University Medical Center

With more than 21,000 employees and nearly 1,600 beds, the Washington University Medical Center includes Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center.

Facilities

In the aggregate, the School of Medicine occupies more than 5.5 million gross square feet on campus, with approximately half of that space used for research and instructional endeavors.

Facilities that have opened recently include:

Current building and renovation projects at the School of Medicine include:

  • The ten-year Campus Renewal Project, which is a joint undertaking of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals and the School of Medicine. Among the new construction is a 12-story expansion of both hospitals that will house the women and infants program.
  • The Mid Campus Center (MCC), a new 12-story administrative building that will house offices for the dean and administrative staff and corporate offices for BJC HealthCare.

Washington University Physicians clinical activities

Washington University Physicians are full-time faculty at the School of Medicine. The clinical practice group — one of the five largest academic clinical practices in the nation — is made up of over 1,000 university-employed physicians representing more than 76 specialties and providing comprehensive care at more than 47 clinical sites in the St. Louis region.

By the numbers:

  • Clinical faculty: 1,389
  • Specialties and subspecialties: 76
  • Clinical sites: 47
  • Outpatient visits (2015): 1,031,894
  • Hospital discharges (BJH/SLCH, 2015): 92,083
  • Patient services revenue (WUSM, 2015 fiscal year): $956 million

Hospitals/affiliates

Barnes-Jewish Hospital, with 1,176 staffed beds, is the largest hospital in Missouri. With a premier reputation in patient care, medical education and community service, the hospital has been ranked among an elite group of the nation’s best academic hospitals on the U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll since 1993. In 2003 it was the first adult hospital in Missouri to be awarded Magnet status, nursing’s highest honor for clinical excellence, and was awarded Magnet recognition again in 2008. Barnes-Jewish Hospital provides clinical experience for medical students in all clinical departments except pediatrics. The medical staff is composed exclusively of Washington University full-time or voluntary School of Medicine faculty physicians.

St. Louis Children’s Hospital, also staffed exclusively by Washington University faculty physicians, is on the U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. It provides a full range of services for children and their families across a 300-mile service area and beyond. The school’s comprehensive pediatric specialty services at Children’s Hospital include one of the country’s top pediatric transplant programs and the region’s only American College of Surgeons (ACS) verified Pediatric Level 1 Trauma Center. St. Louis Children’s Hospital provides extensive community outreach services, including a Critical Care Transport Team, mobile health care unites, affiliations with regional hospitals and physicians, support groups and a free child health information line staffed by pediatric registered nurses.

Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital is a 77-bed facility with a medical staff of more than 700 physicians, offering a model that is a mix of Washington University, BJC Medical Group and private-practice physicians; its Washington University physicians number 489. The Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center has an outpatient center on the campus with more treatment space and a linear accelerator for advanced radiation therapy. Washington University-employed faculty physicians now staff the emergency room and hospitalist service at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital and provide pediatric outpatient services there in association with St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

The Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine is composed of the combined cancer-related programs of Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Siteman is an international leader in cancer treatment, research, prevention, education and community outreach. It is the only cancer center in Missouri to hold the prestigious Comprehensive Care Center designation from the National Cancer Institute and membership in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Siteman offers the expertise of more than 350 Washington University research scientists and physicians who provide care for about 9,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients each year. These scientists and physicians hold about $160 million in cancer research and related training grants. At any time, Siteman has more than 240 therapeutic clinical trials under way. In addition to its main facilities at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis’s Central West End, Siteman has satellite facilities at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital in west St. Louis County, at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital in St. Charles County, and in south St. Louis County.

The Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis is a state-of-the-art, 96-bed rehabilitation hospital created in 2001 through a partnership between BJC HealthCare and HealthSouth and an affiliation with Washington University School of Medicine. As the first freestanding acute rehabilitation hospital in the St. Louis area, it is a leader in rehabilitative care, research, education and community service. It provides a full range of inpatient, outpatient and community rehabilitation services focused on limiting disability and restoring function to patients.

Shriner’s Hospital for Children – St. Louis opened at the Washington University Medical Center in 2015. The Central West End location replaced the organization’s 50-year-old hospital in Frontenac. Staffed largely by Washington University Physicians, Shriners Hospital provides outstanding care for children with orthopedic and neuromusculoskeletal conditions.

At other area hospitals, Washington University faculty physicians provide some limited specialty services.

  • Christian Hospital
  • Missouri Baptist Medical Center
  • Progress West HealthCare Center
  • Veterans Administration Medical Center
  • Phelps County Regional Medical Center (Rolla, MO)
  • Parkland Health Centers (Bonne Terre, Mo., and Farmington, MO)

 

Washington University encourages and gives full consideration to all applicants for admission, financial aid and employment. The university does not discriminate in access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, veteran status, disability or genetic information. Inquiries about compliance should be addressed to the university’s Vice Chancellor for Human Resources, Washington University, Campus Box 1184, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130. The School of Medicine is committed to recruiting, enrolling and educating a diverse student body.