Capsule

After Flexner, a new start

In 1910, the medical school’s fate hung by a thread. The deep criticisms it weathered in a landmark report ultimately made it a much stronger institution.

The release of the Flexner Report in 1910 was bad news for most of the nation’s medical schools. Commissioned by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching to evaluate the ability of U.S. medical schools to train new doctors, consultant Abraham Flexner’s verdict was that most weren’t up to the task. He recommended that the vast majority of schools be shut down; in New England, he said, the only two worth saving were Yale and Harvard. And despite the tacit endorsement, the report singled out Yale’s thinly stretched faculty as a weak point. “The instructors ... are overworked, being called on to carry the routine work of extensive subjects in all their parts without adequate assistance. Under such...

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