Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University seal.svg
Established 1843
School type Private
Dean Pamela B. Davis, MD, PhD
Location Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Enrollment 1,206
616 MD
155 MD-PhD
435 PhD
Faculty 11,049
USNWR ranking 22
Casemed logo2010.png

Case Western Reserve School of Medicine (CWRU SOM, CaseMed) is one of the graduate schools of Case Western Reserve University, and is located in the University Circle neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. The School of Medicine is among the top 25 medical schools in America and is the top-ranked medical school of Ohio in research per U.S. News & World Report.[1] In 2007, 6,077 applications for admission were received and 1,235 were interviewed for 185 spots, with an acceptance rate of 7.6%.

Additionally, Case School of Medicine is the largest biomedical research center in Ohio.[2]

Prospective students have the option of three degree paths leading to a medical degree at the School of Medicine: the "University Program;" the "College Program" at the Cleveland Clinic; and the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP).

In 2002, the School of Medicine became only the third institution in history to receive the best review possible from the body that grants accreditation to U.S. and Canadian medical degree programs, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.[3]



On November 1, 1843, five faculty members and sixty-seven students began the first medical lectures at the Medical Department of Western Reserve College (also known as the Cleveland Medical College).[4]

Medical Department of Western Reserve College 1843-1885 located at E. 9th and St. Clair.

The School of Medicine has trained medical students, served the community, and been at the forefront of discovery in the City of Cleveland for over 165 years. A historical photo gallery is available at:

Emily Blackwell – 1854 MD alumnus. CaseMed graduated six of the first seven women to receive U.S. allopathic medical degrees.

Women in Medicine: In 1852, the medical school became the second in the U.S. to graduate a woman, Nancy Talbot Clarke. 1854 MD alumnus, Emily Blackwell became the third woman in the US to receive a regular medical degree. Six of the first seven women in the United States to receive medical degrees from recognized allopathic medical schools graduated from Western Reserve University between 1850 and 1856.

Flexner Survey:

In 1909, Arbraham Flexner, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University surveyed and evaluated each of the one hundred and fifty-five medical schools then extant in North America. The results of his investigation proved shocking: most "medical schools," for example, had entrance requirements no more stringent than either high school diploma or "rudiments or the recollection of a common school education."

Cover of the Medical School catalog of 1868-69.

Only sixteen schools required at least two years of college as an entrance requirement, and of these, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, and Western Reserve were still the only ones to require an undergraduate degree. Although Johns Hopkins represented his ideal, Flexner also singled out the Medical Department of Western Reserve University for its praiseworthy admission standards and facilities. Flexner referred to Western Reserve as "already one of the substantial schools in the country." In a letter to Western Reserve president Charles Franklin Thwing he said, "The Medical Department of Western Reserve University is, next to Johns Hopkins..., the best in the country."

Western Reserve Curriculum: A little over forty years later, in 1952, the Western Reserve University School of Medicine revolutionized medical education with the "new curriculum of 1952" and more advanced stages in 1968. This was the most progressive medical curriculum in the country at that time, integrating the basic and clinical sciences.

Research History: Development of the modern technique for human blood transfusion using a cannula to connect blood vessels; first large-scale medical research project on humans in a study linking iodine with goiter prevention; pioneering use of drinking water chlorination; discovery of the cause of ptomaine food poisoning and development of serum against it and similar poisons; first surgical treatments of coronary artery disease; discovery of early treatment of strep throat infections to prevent rheumatic fever; development of an early heart-lung machine to be used during open-heart surgery; discovery of the Hageman factor in blood clotting, a major discovery in blood coagulation research; first description of how staphylococcus infections are transmitted, leading to required hand-washing between patients in infant nurseries; first description of what was later named Reye's syndrome; research leading to FDA approval of clozapine, the most advanced treatment for schizophrenia in 40 years at the time; discovery of the gene for osteoarthritis; and creation with Athersys, Inc., of the world's first human artificial chromosome.

CaseMed Today: Today the CWRU School of Medicine is the largest biomedical research institution in Ohio and one of the largest in the nation, as measured by funding received from the National Institutes of Health. The School of Medicine has eight Nobel Prize holders among its alumni and former and current faculty, and also has graduates who have distinguished themselves as U.S. Surgeons General: Jesse Steinfeld, MD, and David Satcher, MD, PhD, and the current the Director of the CDC, Julie Gerberding, MD.

Notable Alumni and Faculty

  • Shuvo Roy, Professor, Inventor of Artificial Kidney
  • Nancy Talbot Clarke (1852 MD alumnus)[5] & Emily Blackwell (1854 MD alumnus)[6] - second and third women in the United States to earn a medical degree. Six of the first seven women in the United States to receive medical degrees from recognized allopathic medical schools graduated from Western Reserve University (as it was called then) between 1850 and 1856.
  • George Washington Crile (1887 MD alumnus) - Performed first blood transfusion. Established Lakeside Hospital of what is now University Hospitals Case Medical Center,[7] and later co-founded Cleveland Clinic.[8] Crile was a graduate of Wooster Medical College which merged to form modern day CaseMed.[9][10][11]

Nobel Laureates

John J.R. Macleod, 1923 Nobel Prize winner for discovering Insulin and Western Reserve University Professor of Physiology teaching class.


Ferid Murad, 1998 Nobel Laureate and CaseMed MD/PhD alumnus.
Case Alumni who received 2003 Nobel Prizes - Paul C. Lauterbur and Peter Agre (1st and 2nd from right) with President George Walker Bush


Public Health


  • 1912 - Professor Roger Perkins pioneered the process of chlorinating drinking water.[29]
  • 1915 - Henry Gerstenberger (alumnus and pediatrics professor) first simulated milk formula for infants.
  • 1927 - Immunologist Enrique Ecker discovered the cause of ptomaine food poisoning and development of an antiserum.
  • 1935 - Claude Beck (Surgery residency alumnus; 1924-1971 Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery - first such position in US)[30] -
    • Performed first surgical treatment of coronary artery disease (1935)[31]
    • Performed first defibrillation using machine he built with James Rand (1947)[32]
    • Developed concept of Beck's Triad
    • Started the first CPR teaching course for medical professionals (1950).
Alfredo Palacio - President of Ecuador (2005 - 2007).
  • 1950s - Professor Frederick Cross developed first heart-lung machine for use in open heart surgeries.
  • 1961 - Professor Austin Weisburger performed first successful genetic alteration of human cells in a test tube.
  • 1969 - William Insull, MD describes the role of cholesterol in blood vessel disease.
  • 1975 - Discovery that human renin, an enzyme produced by the kidney, is involved in hypertension
  • 1990 - National team led by rheumatologist Roland Moskowitz discovers gene for osteoarthritis.
  • 1991 - James A. Schulak, MD, and colleagues perform first triple organ transplant in Ohio-a kidney, liver and pancreas.
  • 1997 - Team led by Professor Huntington Willard (Chair of Genetics) create world's first artificial human chromosome.
  • M. Scott Peck (1963 MD alumnus) - psychiatrist and author of The Road Less Traveled
  • Amit Patel - stem cell surgeon who demonstrated stem cell transplantation can treat congestive heart failure.
  • 2004 - Craig Smith (1977 MD alumnus) leads the cardiac surgery team which performs President Bill Clinton's coronary artery bypass surgery.[33]
  • Richard Walsh, MD (Chair of Medicine, Case Medical Center) - Current editor of Hurst's The Heart Manual of Cardiology.[34]
  • Peter Tippett (1983 MD/PhD alumnus) - Inventor of Norton AntiVirus.[35][36]
  • Alfredo Palacio (Internal Medicine alumnus) - President of Ecuador (2005–2007).


2010 US News and World Report National Rankings[37]

Medicine Area National Rank
Overall 20
Biomedical Engineering 11
Family Medicine 15
Pediatrics 16

2008 NIH research rankings[38]

Area National Rank
Overall 17
Nutrition 1
Pediatrics 3
Orthopedics 6
Dermatology 7
Family Medicine 12
Urology 14
  • Case School of Medicine is the largest biomedical research center in Ohio.[39]


Building on its reputation for innovation in medical education, the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine introduced the WR2 curriculum with the class entering in 2006. The goal of the new curriculum is to unite the disciplines of medicine and public health. It is designed to emphasize independent study, and scheduling choices, while providing mentored experiences in research during the first 18 months of school. All students are required to complete a dedicated 4 month research block during their second, third, or fourth year of study.

Major Teaching Affiliates

In 1896, the first affiliation agreement was approved between Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland[40]
  • University Hospitals Case Medical Center
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • MetroHealth Medical Center
  • Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Other Teaching Affiliates

  • St. Vincent Charity Hospital
  • The Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland

Degree Programs

In addition to the traditional MD degree, students have the option of completing one of several dual degree programs of varying lengths at no additional cost. Currently, the school has dual degree programs that offer:

  • MD/PhD
  • MD/DMD - Combined Medical Doctor and Doctor of Dental Medicine Program
  • MD/MPH - Combined Medical Doctor and Master of Public Health
  • MD/MBA - Combined Medical Doctor and Master of Business Administration
  • MD/MA in Bioethics
  • MD/MS in Applied Anatomy
  • MD/MS in Biomedical Investigation
  • MD/MS in Biomedical Engineering
  • MD/MA or MD/PhD in Anthropology

Student life


Case Medical School is divided into four societies named after famous CaseMed alums. Upon matriculation, students in the University Program are assigned to a society. Each has a Society Dean who serves as an academic adviser to the students. The societies are:

Every year, the four societies compete in "ISC Picnic" for the infamous Society Cup in a series of events (e.g. soccer, flag football, relay races etc.) to test physical talents of the students in each society. The Satcher Society currently holds the cup after a decisive win over Robbins who held the cup in 2007.

Doc Opera

Every year, students at Case Western Reserve SOM write, direct and perform a full length musical parody, lampooning Case Western Reserve, their professors, and themselves. In recent years, the show has been a benefit for the Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland.

Role in Cleveland and Ohio

CaseMed is located 15 minutes from downtown Cleveland.

During 2007, the economic impact of the School of Medicine and its affiliates on the State of Ohio equaled $5.82 billion and accounted for more than 65,000 Ohio jobs.[41] The role of Case Western Reserve University in the Cleveland economy has been reported on by The Economist magazine.[42]

In popular culture

  • The 1997 Air Force One (movie) was in part filmed on Case campus. The opening scene depicting the presidential palace of the leader of Kazakhstan was shot at Severance Hall - home of the Cleveland Orchestra adjacent to Case campus. Also seen are several landmarks of Case including the Thwing Center (the student union) and the Allen Memorial Medical Library.
  • In the 2006 film The Oh in Ohio, Paul Rudd's character - Jack - becomes romantically involved with a Case student Kristin (played by Mischa Barton). In one scene, Jack drops Kristin off at the "Case Biophysics building," which is actually the Frank Gehry designed Peter B. Lewis Building at Case's Weatherhead School of Management. In this scene, a number of actual Case Western Reserve students were cast as extras, and had minor speaking roles.
  • In 2010, the show The Deep End on ABC features a main character, Addy Fisher, who graduated from Case.[46]
  • In 2010, the show Boston Med on ABC features CaseMed alumnus and current faculty, Jeff Ustin, MD,[47] as well as alumni Rahul Rathod, MD and Elizabeth Blume, MD.[48][49]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Case-UH largest biomedical research center in Ohio -
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Case Alum Paul Berg Nobel page.
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Case Alum Ferid Murad Nobel page.
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ Case faculty Claude Beck -
  31. ^ Case faculty Claude Beck -
  32. ^ Case faculty Claude Beck's first defibrillation article - "Ventricular fibrillation of long duration abolished by electric shock", JAMA, 1947
  33. ^ Case alums leads Bill Clinton's surgical team:
  34. ^ Richard Walsh:
  35. ^
  36. ^ Case alum Peter Tippett developed Norton AntiVirus -
  37. ^ US News #20 in 2010:
  38. ^ 2008 NIH research rankings -
  39. ^ Case-UH largest biomedical research center in Ohio -
  40. ^
  41. ^ CaseMed's $5.82 billion impact on Cleveland -
  42. ^ Economist article on Case's role in Cleveland -
  43. ^ Kidder T. Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World. Random House (2004). p64.
  44. ^ Cheney and Edwards Vice presidential debate:
  45. ^ The Onion and Case -
  46. ^ Case on The Deep End -
  47. ^ Boston Med -
  48. ^
  49. ^ Boston Med -

External links

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