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YSM History, Facts & Figures

History of Yale School of Medicine

Photo by Robert A. Lisak

The school was established in 1810 as the Medical Institution of Yale College. The current name, Yale School of Medicine, was adopted in 1918.

Milton C. Winternitz, who served as dean from 1920 to 1935, was the architect of the school’s unique educational philosophy, the Yale system of medical education, which emphasizes critical thinking in a nongraded, noncompetitive environment and requires students to write a thesis based on original research.

Harvey Cushing, widely regarded as the father of American neurosurgery and a seminal figure in American medicine, joined the faculty late in his career and donated his extensive collection of books to Yale. The medical school library, which bears his name, is regarded as one of the great medical historical libraries of the world.

YSM’s historical contributions to medicine include the first X-ray performed in the United States, the first successful use of penicillin in America, the first use of cancer chemotherapy, and the introduction of fetal heart monitoring, natural childbirth and newborn rooming-in. Yale doctors designed the first artificial heart pump and the first insulin infusion pump for diabetes, and it was here that the means of transmission of the polio virus was established, paving the way for the Salk vaccine. Lyme disease was identified by two Yale physicians in 1975.

More recent milestones include the first transgenic mouse, discovery of the mechanism of protein folding, which is key to understanding neurodegenerative diseases, and discovery of the mechanism of innate immunity, with major implications for infectious disease and cancer. Additional highlights include the first reliable method for early detection of autism and identification of genes associated with hypertension, macular degeneration, dyslexia, and Tourette’s syndrome, among many others.


Yale School of Medicine is one of the world’s leading centers for biomedical research, advanced clinical care, and medical education. It ranks eighth among medical schools receiving funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and sixth in NIH dollars per faculty member. More than 1,600 Yale physicians provide care to patients from across the region and around the world. The Yale system of medical education, with its emphasis on critical thinking and independent student research, has produced leaders in every field of academic medicine.

The sixth-oldest medical school in the United States, it was chartered by the Connecticut General Assembly in 1810 as the Medical Institution of Yale College, located first on Grove Street, then at 150 York Street. Since 1924, it has occupied Sterling Hall of Medicine at 333 Cedar Street and surrounding buildings. It has awarded 9,394 medical degrees since 1814. There are 5,632 living alumni with MD degrees, 5,439 with MPH degrees, and 1,440 alumni of the Physician Associate Program with the PA-C certificate or MMSc degree, and 84 alumni of the Physician Assistant Online Program.


Brief Chronology

An architectural study for the entrance of the Institute of Human Relations, which was added to the façade of Sterling Hall of Medicine in 1931. The structure remains a lasting monument to Dean Milton C. Winternitz, who was closely involved in its plannin
  • 1701 Yale College founded
  • 1810 Medical Institution of Yale College chartered
  • 1833 The State Hospital, precursor to New Haven Hospital, opens
  • 1839 MD student thesis requirement formalized
  • 1857 First African American student graduates
  • 1915 Department of Public Health established
  • 1916 First women students admitted
  • 1923 Yale School of Nursing established
  • 1924 Yale School of Medicine relocates to Sterling Hall of Medicine
  • 1941 The Yale Medical Library is dedicated
  • 1945 New Haven Hospital merges with Grace Hospital, becoming Grace-New Haven Community Hospital
  • 1965 Yale School of Medicine and Grace-New Haven Community Hospital revise their affiliation, creating Yale New Haven Hospital
  • 1970 Physician Associate Program founded
  • 1974 Yale Cancer Center established
  • 1991 Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine completed
  • 1993 Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital opens
  • 2003 The Anlyan Center for Medical Research & Education at Yale is completed
  • 2007 Amistad Street Building opens
  • 2007 Yale West Campus acquired
  • 2009 Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven opens
  • 2010–11 Yale School of Medicine celebrates its bicentennial
  • 2012 YNHH acquires the Hospital of Saint Raphael
  • 2018 Physician Assistant online program launched

YSM Mission

Yale School of Medicine educates and nurtures creative leaders in medicine and science, promoting curiosity and critical inquiry in an inclusive environment enriched by diversity. We advance discovery and innovation fostered by partnerships across the university, our local community, and the world. We care for patients with compassion, and commit to improving the health of all people.


The School of Medicine educates future leaders in medicine, public health, and biomedical science. The MD program follows a unique educational philosophy, the Yale system of medical education, established in the 1920s. No course grades or class rankings are given in the first two years, examinations are limited, and students are expected to engage in independent investigation. Since 1839, medical students have written a thesis based on original research, reflecting that the scientific process of investigation, attentive observation, interpretation of data, and critical evaluation of literature are fundamental to the practice of medicine.

Many medical students take a tuition-free fifth year to pursue additional study. Some conduct in-depth research or explore clinical electives and subinternships. A significant number are awarded fifth-year research fellowships and earn the MHS degree.

Each year, approximately 20 students enroll in the school’s MD-PhD Program, one of the original Medical Scientist Training Programs established and funded by the NIH. Graduate students in the Combined Program in the Biomedical and Biological Sciences earn a PhD degree through the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. The School of Medicine also offers joint degree programs with other professional schools including Public Health, Law, Management, Engineering, and Divinity.

YSM’s Physician Associate (PA) Program, one of the oldest PA programs in the country, and its Physician Assistant Online Program train students to become compassionate, high-quality, patient-centered PAs. The online program enables students to become PAs without relocating from their home communities.

Students by Degree Program

  • MD Program1358
    • MD/PhD 151
    • MD/MHS 19
    • MD/MBA 13
    • MD/MPH 3
    • MD/JD 2
  • M/MSc (PA-C)
    • Physician Associate Program 116
    • Physician Assistant Online Program 155
  • MPH 595
  • PhD 415
Total: 1,827

MD Program Details

Class of 2025 Profile

  • Applicants 6,236
  • Class size 104
    • Female students 52
    • Male Students 52
    • Declined to specify2N/A
  • Acceptance rate 4.7%
  • URiM328%
  • Median cumulative GPA 3.9
  • MCAT median 520
  • MCAT median of sections 130
  • Faculty-to-student ratio 4.8 to 1


2021-2022 tuition $66,160

2021 average debt for those with debt $122,944

Medical Library

Volumes 368,000+

Journals 23,000+

Online books, biomedical 41,000+

Basic and Translational Research

Research at the medical school covers a broad spectrum, from fundamental studies in the life sciences, including cell biology, genetics, immunobiology, microbial pathogenesis, neuroscience, pharmacology, physiology, biophysics and biochemistry, to translational and clinical studies aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases. Important research collaborations bring together scientists on the medical campus, Science Hill, and the West Campus. The Center for Biomedical Data Science brings together computational expertise from across Yale. Funding for research at YSM has increased from $539.6 million in 2012 to $808.5 million in 2021.

The school’s core research resources are built around the newest technologies:

  • State-of-the-art tools for genomics and proteomics, including whole-genome sequencing and mass spectrometry
  • High-resolution imaging and image analysis at every scale, including cryoelectron microscopy, cryoelectron tomography, and the only focused ion beam-scanning electron microscope in the region
  • High-throughput screening, including RNAi and chemical screens
  • Construction and analysis of animal models of disease

In 2020, YSM established the Office for Health Equity Research to address health disparities and inequities in underserved populations by coordinating and facilitating health equity research and partnerships at the school, across Yale University, and beyond.

Academic Departments

  • Basic science 10
  • Clinical 18
  • Public Health 6
  • Total: 34
Programs & Centers 6

Active Patents

  • U.S 568
  • World (55 countries) 1,030
  • Total: 1,598

Yale-Founded Biotech Companies 125


  • Faculty, Teaching (ladder) 2,199
  • Research 728
  • Lecturer/Instructor 440
  • Visiting 43
  • Emeritus/Retired 165
  • Voluntary/Adjunct 1,599
  • Total: 5,009
Postgraduate Fellows & Associates 1,704

Memberships & Awards5

  • Association of American Physicians 38
  • Breakthrough Prize 2
  • Fields Medal 1
  • HHMI investigators 7
  • Kavli Prize 2
  • Lasker Awards 4
  • MacArthur Genius Grant 5
  • National Academy of Engineering 7
  • National Academy of Medicine 55
  • National Academy of Sciences 66
  • Nobel Prize 4
  • Wolf Prize 2
Faculty with Endowed Professorships 137

Research Activity

  • Number of awards 2,885
  • Dollar total $808.5 million


  • Awards $511.7 million
  • Rank, total grant dollars among medical schools68th
  • Rank, grants per faculty member 76th
  • Centers and program grants 24
Laboratory Space (net assignable sq. ft.)
  • Medical School 710,444

Clinical Investigation

Clinical investigation at Yale bridges the gap between the basic and translational sciences and the practice of medicine. Research is focused on the factors that affect health and illness in populations, the evaluation of therapeutic interventions, and the assessment of health outcomes based on analysis of large data sets. The School of Medicine sponsors a wide range of clinical trials, with more than 2,122 active trials in 2021, over 11,000 “Help Us Discover” unique volunteers enrolled (visit, and 29,887 active subjects. The school offers superb training for clinical investigators in a number of settings, including the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, the National Clinician Scholars Program at Yale (the evolution of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program), the Yale School of Public Health, and the Investigative Medicine Program, along with discipline-specific training initiatives in selected departments.

The Yale Center for Clinical Investigation facilitates the training of clinical and translational scientists and provides infrastructure for innovative and collaborative research directed at improving patient care. It funds up to 20 YCCI Scholars yearly and supports investigators in the areas of biostatistics, bioinformatics, study design, core technologies, regulatory review, patient recruitment, and community-based research.

The National Clinician Scholars Program at Yale was established in 2016 to prepare future clinician leaders to improve health and health care. Graduates of the two-year interprofessional fellowship earn a master of health sciences (MHS) degree.

Yale School of Public Health offers training and conducts research in biostatistics, chronic disease epidemiology, environmental health sciences, epidemiology of microbial diseases, and health policy and administration.

The Investigative Medicine Program awards a PhD degree to holders of MD degrees who pursue training in either laboratory-based or clinically based human investigation.

By the Numbers

  • RWJ Scholars since 1974 187
  • NCSP Scholars since 2016 43
  • PhDs awarded by Investigative Medicine Program since 2003 54
  • YCCI Scholars trained since 2006 161

Patient Care

More than 1,600 Yale physicians provide primary and specialty care for patients through Yale Medicine. The practice delivers advanced care in more than 100 specialties and subspecialties, and has centers of excellence in such fields as cancer, cardiac care, minimally invasive surgery, and organ transplantation. Yale physicians have made many historical contributions, including the first use of cancer chemotherapy, the first artificial heart pump, and the first insulin infusion pump for diabetes. Today they use such groundbreaking advances as DNA sequencing technology to diagnose suspected genetic diseases. Yale Medicine is a major referral center for Connecticut and New England, and treats patients from throughout the world.

Patient Care Overview

Income $1.23 billion

Yale Medicine

Patient encounters 2.6 million


  • Full-time 1,532
  • Part-time 163
  • Allied Providers 841
  • Clinical fellows 423
  • Medical residents 916

Yale New Haven Hospital8

  • Patient discharges 82,446
  • Emergency visits 9130,353
  • Outpatient encounters (including ED) 2.2 million
  • Total licensed beds 1,541

Medical Center

Yale Medicine facility in Branford

An affiliation agreement between the medical school and Grace-New Haven Hospital in 1965 created Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH), which expanded in 1993 with the opening of the Children’s Hospital, and again in 2000 with the acquisition of the Psychiatric Hospital. The 14-story Smilow Cancer Hospital opened in 2009, and in 2012 YNHH acquired the Hospital of Saint Raphael, adding 533 beds and making it one of the largest hospitals in the United States. The medical campus has grown over the years to include the institutions listed.

Four miles away in West Haven, the affiliated VA Connecticut Healthcare System maintains active clinical, research, and education programs in conjunction with many medical school departments.

Medical Center Institutions

  • Yale School of Medicine
  • Yale Medicine
  • Yale School of Public Health
  • Yale School of Nursing
  • Yale New Haven Health, which consists of:
    • Bridgeport Hospital
    • Greenwich Hospital
    • Lawrence + Memorial Hospital
    • Northeast Medical Group
    • Westerly Hospital
    • Yale New Haven Hospital, including the Saint Raphael Campus
    • Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital
    • Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital
    • Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven
    Yale Health
  • Connecticut Mental Health Center
  • Johnn B. Pierce Laboratory


The School of Medicine had operating income of $2.3 billion in FY21. A total of $715.6 million in sponsored research funding was received and spent during the fiscal year.12 Clinical income totaled $1.23 billion. The school ranked eighth among medical schools receiving research funding from the NIH in FY21 and sixth in NIH grants per faculty member. Salaries and benefits totaled 64.7% of expenditures.


  • Yale $41.9 billion
  • YSM $3.86 billion

2021 Operating Income

  • Yale $4.6 billion
  • YSM $2.3 billion

Capital Projects

new construction/ acquisitions

  • Yale $59.4 million
  • YSM $0
  • Yale $320.9 million
  • YSM $39 million

Yale University & New Haven

The School of Medicine is located on the main campus of Yale University, one of the world’s great institutions of higher learning. With a residential college system modeled after those of Cambridge and Oxford, the undergraduate school is complemented by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and 12 professional schools, including Architecture, Art, Divinity, Drama, Engineering and Applied Science, Forestry and Environmental Studies, Law, Management, Music, Nursing, and Medicine, which includes the School of Public Health. In 2007, Yale acquired the 136-acre West Campus in West Haven.

Established in 1638, New Haven was the first planned municipality in America, organized geographically in nine squares, including a picturesque town green. Today, New Haven is a vibrant coastal city located on Long Island Sound between New York and Boston. Cultural opportunities abound, from dance, theater, and music to the treasures of Yale’s art and natural history museums.

New Haven Profile

2020 Population 134,023

distance from:

  • NYC 80 miles
  • Boston 137 miles

University Profile

University Profile (Yale totals include YSM)

  • Yale 5,123
  • YSM 3,410
  • Yale 10,534
  • YSM 3,808
  • Yale 14,567
  • YSM 101,809

Community Service

A majority of students volunteer, and the COVID-19 pandemic did not diminish that undertaking. Students significantly bolstered endeavors to support COVID-19 vaccine education and out-reach, help reduce social isolation of older adults, support outreach to non-COVID-19 patients, and serve as patient navigators for refugees. Many ongoing community service projects for which students customarily volunteer include:

  • Columbus House
  • Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen
  • HAVEN (student-run free clinic)
  • Health Professionals Recruitment and Exposure Program
  • Hill Regional Career High School Anatomy Teaching Program
  • Hunger and Homelessness Auction
  • Neighborhood Health Project
  • Refugee Patient Navigator Program
  • Youth Science Enrichment Program

International Activities

The School of Medicine is an active partner in fulfilling Yale’s international goals, which include preparing students for international leadership and service, attracting the most talented students and scholars to Yale from around the world, and positioning Yale as a global university of consequence. Faculty members conduct research abroad, teach, and design courses in global health. Their work runs the gamut from molecular studies at the nanoscale to the analysis of social networks in disease transmission and prevention, to the improvement of health care systems

Yale Institute for Global Health is a university-wide effort led by the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health that serves as the focal point for research, education, and engagement with global partners to improve the health of individuals and populations worldwide.

Yale Office of International Affairs offers support to faculty in establishing and maintaining collaborations abroad, drawing on existing relationships on six continents. It maintains an online faculty research database.

Norwegian University of Science and Technology is a partnership that provides support for the exchange of students, fellows, and faculty in such areas as cancer, immunology, neuroscience, and public health.

By the Numbers 2020-21

International students at Yale

  • MD 7.8%
  • MPH 29%
  • PhD (Sciences) 30%
Yale Students/ trainees abroad
  • MD (international sites) 0
  • MD (domestic sites) 6
  • MPH11N/A
  • Downs Fellows 7
Visiting MD Students at Yale from other nations 0

Programs at Yale include:

  • Office of Global Health facilitates the placement of Yale medical students in global clinical electives at sites in Argentina, Chile, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Jamaica, South Africa, Thailand, and Uganda, and the U.S. (rural sites in Appalachia and on the Navajo Nation in Arizona as well as in free clinics in New Haven and San Francisco). The office also administers the Visiting International Student Electives Program.
  • Downs International Health Student Travel Fellowship supports students who undertake health-related research, primarily in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Yale/Stanford—Johnson & Johnson Global Health Scholars sponsors rotations abroad for Yale house staff and physicians from other institutions, who travel to six sites in Africa and Asia.

Contacts for Facts & Figures

Facts and Figures

All data in Facts & Figures as of 6/30/21 unless otherwise noted


1 Of 546 enrolled students, 60 students are currently on extended study pursuing a joint degree, completing a fully funded year of research, or a combination of research and clinical rotations.
2 All members of the Class of 2025 self-identified as female or male.
3 Students who identify as underrepresented in medicine.
4 Faculty, associates, and fellows data as of 6/30/21.
5 Includes faculty across Yale University.
6 NIH ranking is for the federal fiscal year ending 9/30/21.
7 Per faculty rank averaged over 2020 and 2021.
8 Yale New Haven Hospital data as of 9/30/21; includes the Children’s Hospital, Psychiatric Hospital, Smilow Cancer Hospital, and the former Hospital of Saint Raphael, which was acquired by YNHH on 9/12/12. Licensed beds include bassinets.
9 Number of patients treated and released from the ED. This does not include those ED visitors who were admitted.
10 Further breakdown can be found on the Education page.
11 Due to COVID travel restrictions, some students worked remotely with agencies abroad, some did U.S.-based internships, while others worked abroad in their home countries (unable to return due to COVID travel restrictions).
12 Research income does not equal award amounts because research dollars are not always spent in the same period in which they are awarded.

Facts & Figures Archive

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