Skip to Main Content

History of the Department

The department traces its origins to the prominent early American physician Nathan Smith, who came to Yale in 1813 as one of the four founders of the medical school and lectured on the theory and practice of “physic,” as medical science was called at the time. During its distinguished history, the department has been led by a number of renowned figures in American academic medicine, among them Francis Gilman Blake and Paul Beeson.

Other luminaries who headed or helped guide the Department include:

  • John P. Peters
  • Philip K. Bondy
  • Elisha Atkins
  • Phyllis Bodel
  • Samuel O. Thier
  • Edwin Cadman
  • Ralph Horwitz
  • Most recently, Jack Elias, who stepped down as chair in 2013 to become dean at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School.