Vanderbilt University was founded in 1873 by a $1 million gift from Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt in order "to contribute to strengthening the ties that should exist between all sections of our common country." For the first 50 years of the university's existence, the School of Medicine occupied buildings in downtown Nashville. However, in 1925, under the leadership of Canby Robinson, a new hospital was built on the main campus and the modern School of Medicine was born.

Over the ensuing three quarters of a century the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine has gained national prominence in many areas. Two Vanderbilt faculty, Dr. Earl Sutherland (cyclic AMP) and Dr. Stanley Cohen (epidermal growth factor) have won the Nobel Prize in Medicine, and Vanderbilt scientists continue to excel in research. At the present time Vanderbilt University School of Medicine ranks 11th in the nation in total NIH research grants, and the total value of Vanderbilt University Medical Center's external support for competitive research grants exceeds $591 million. In addition, Vanderbilt's rate of growth in NIH grants has been among the fastest in the nation over the past several years.

Medical School Residents, Circa 1935The Department of Medicine has had an equally illustrious history, beginning with its founding by chair Dr. Canby Robinson in 1925. Research in the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt has led to major improvements in our understanding of disease, and currently the Department ranks 2nd in the nation in NIH funding among Departments of Medicine.

The first Chief Resident in Medicine in the new facility in 1925 was Dr. Tinsley Harrison, who would remain on the faculty until 1941. The outstanding clinical leadership begun by Dr. Harrison and others continues to this day, and the Department of Medicine proudly trains residents to be the finest physicians anywhere. This is facilitated through an integrated medical campus including the 800-bed University Hospital, the adjacent 350-bed Veterans Affairs Hospital, and the Vanderbilt Clinic, which sees approximately 1.5 million outpatient visits per year.

The Annette and Irwin Eskind Biomedical Library, which opened in 1994 adjacent to the main hospital, is home to state-of-the-art electronic information. House staff can access the library's databases remotely at any time. The Library is also home to the Department of Medical Informatics, one of the most outstanding informatics programs in the nation. Through cooperation between informatics and clinical departments, chiefly the Department of Medicine, our informatics program has been a national leader in the use of electronic health records for clinical care and discovery.

The Department of Medicine considers residency education to be a top priority. Unique features of our department include:

  •  A strong emphasis on bedside teaching. On all of our units, attending rounds are conducted at the bedside daily.
  • To maximize exposure to a wide array of subspecialists and patients, residents rotate on dedicated inpatient subspecialty services in gastroenterology, cardiology, geriatrics, heart failure, hematology, hepatology, infectious diseases, nephrology, oncology and pulmonary medicine.
  • Significant growth of departmental non-teaching services in order to ensure that the patients on the general medicine teaching services provide the best educational experience for house staff.
  • Multidisciplinary ICU rounds that emphasize a team approach to care of the critically ill.
  • Continued expansion of the primary care faculty (currently, there are approximately 100 clinical faculty in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Public Health) and organization of the ambulatory rotations in a "4 + 2 block" system for better teaching and an overall richer experience.
  • A bedside procedure service in which residents receive intensive formal procedural training and direct attending level procedural supervision.

The Vanderbilt tradition fosters strong peer and faculty mentor relationships with emphasis on excellence in patient care, attention to detail, and a scholarly approach to clinical issues. The qualities we value most are intellectual curiosity, honesty, compassion, and genuine enthusiasm for learning and for sharing what has been learned.




Dr. Bradley Christensen

Bradley Christensen, M.D.
Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine
Ambulatory Chief Resident,
VA Medical Center 

 Vanderbilt University Medical Center stands as one of the premier medical institutions of the region and its strong commitment to patient care, research and education has led to national recognition.  The merger of biomedical informatics and direct patient care at Vanderbilt is second to none, and Vanderbilt’s use of technology has led to a number of research projects that are possible only at this institution.

However, the Vanderbilt Department of Medicine’s pride continues to be the residents.  Despite clinical and research acumen, the Department of Medicine continues to make resident education and training one of the top priorities of the department.  The Vanderbilt house staff are engaged and involved at all levels of the institution and are often cited as one of the strongest aspects of the Department of Medicine.  Our residents have the opportunity to rotate through a diverse range of subspecialty-specific teams, thus gaining exposure to a wide variety of patients and education-focused faculty in general internal medicine and many medicine subspecialties.  Beyond patient care, Vanderbilt residents are involved in a wide variety of scholarly work including clinical research, basic science research, and educational activities.  The Vanderbilt house staff are engaged and involved at all levels of the institution, from direct patient care through leadership roles locally and in the field of medicine as a whole.  The residents are often cited as one of the strongest aspects of the Department of Medicine, a fact that the department is very proud of and works to maintain.

Yet, beyond the great opportunities available at Vanderbilt, our residents consistently, year after year, rate the other residents as the number one reason for choosing Vanderbilt for their residency. I know this was true for me, and the positive, team-based, hard-working attitudes of my fellow residents have continued to be incredibly valuable to me throughout my three years of my residency. while the teaching services, research opportunities, and mentorship are all important, the general atmosphere and camaraderie of the residents themselves have reliably been ranked as the top factors for our applicants and eventual residents.  We hope you consider our program, and we look forward to welcoming you to Nashville!