Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts HistorySauer, Anne
Department of Medicine, 1893
The Department of Medicine was among the first departments of the School of Medicine. From 1893 to 1948 the chair of the Department of Medicine served only a part-time role at Tufts while continuing in private practice. During these years student teaching was provided at the Boston Dispensary, the Boston City Hospital, the Carney Hospital, and St. Elizabeth's Hospital, while the department's research was primarily clinical. After the Pratt Diagnostic Clinic opened in 1938, students were taught at the New England Medical Center with increasing frequency.
In 1930s and 1940s the Departments of Medicine at both Tufts and the New England Medical Center were enhanced by the addition of a number of distinguished physicians who had fled Germany, including Drs. Siegfried Thannhauser, Gerhard Schmidt, Heinrich Brugsch, Joseph Igersheimer, and Alfred Hauptmann. The department was further strengthened by the arrival of Drs. Edwin Astwood, William Dameshek and William Fishman. After Dr. Samuel Proger was named professor and chair at the school and physician-in-chief at the New England Medical Center in 1948, he further strengthened the department at Tufts by recruiting a number of outstanding faculty members, among them, Drs. Marshall Kaplan, Jerome Kassirer, Herbert Levine, Seymour Reichlin, Robert Schwartz, William Schwartz, and Louis Weinstein.
When Dr. Proger retired in 1971, Dr. William Schwartz became chairman at the school and physician-in-chief at the New England Medical Center. He served in that capacity until 1976, when he was named Tufts' first Vannevar Bush University Professor. Dr. Kassirer then became acting chair.
The following year Dr. Sheldon M. Wolff, one of the nation's most highly regarded medical scientists, was appointed chairman at Tufts and physician-in-chief at the New England Medical Center. He proceeded to build upon the accomplishments of his predecessors and has been able to develop a first-rate department that provides students with an excellent education and offers clinical training at all of the school's major teaching hospitals. Since Dr. Wolff became chairman, the number of departmental faculty has increased in all of those hospitals. At the New England Medical Center the number of full-time staff has grown from 50 to 138, the number of house staff from 28 to 56, the number of clinical fellows from 35 to 50, and the number of research fellows from 41 to 110. Research space has expanded from 25,000 to 125,000 square feet, and research support has increased from $2 million to $21 million. The total budget of the department has risen from $5 million to over $40 million.
Source: COE, 133-34.
The encyclopedia seeks to capture more than 150 years of Tufts' achievements, societal contributions and outstanding alumni and faculty in concise entries. As a source of accurate factual information, the Encyclopedia can be used by anyone interested in the history of Tufts and of the people who have made it the unique institution it is.