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 9th 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 $568 million. In addition, Vanderbilt's rate of growth in NIH grants has been among the fastest in the nation over the past several years.
The 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 4th 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 traditional print materials and state-of-the-art electronic information. Housestaff can access the library's databases from anywhere via the Internet, and computer stations are located throughout the patient care units and clinics. 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, Vanderbilt University Hospital has one of the most advanced electronic systems in the United States for both order entry and medical records.
The Department of Medicine is committed to residency education. While service is always a component of residency training, we have made a number of important changes in order to maximize the educational experience for all of our residents. These include:
- 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, general 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 service are those that provide the most education for house staff.
- MICU rounds led by a pulmonary/critical care attending that emphasize a team approach to care of the critically ill.
- Expansion of the primary care faculty (currently, there are approximately 100 clinical faculty in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Public Health) and reorganization of the ambulatory blocks for better teaching and an overall richer experience.
- Utilization of our unique electronic medical record (StarPanel) to maximize care by building practice guidelines into the computer-based record so that residents can know precisely how their patients are doing with issues like blood pressure control, diabetes management, and congestive heart failure.
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.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center stands as one of the premier medical institutions of the region and its strong commitment to patient care, research and hospitality 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 and interests which 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 subspecialties, thus gaining exposure to a wide variety of patients and education-focused faculty in general internal medicine and the various medicine subspecialties. Vanderbilt residents are involved in a wide variety of scholarly work, and begin to assume leadership roles both locally and in the field of medicine as a whole.
Throughout my residency, the residents year in and year out have consistently rated the other residents as the number one reason for considering Vanderbilt for their residency. While the teaching services, research opportunities, and mentorship are all important, the general hospitality and comradery of the residents themselves have consistently been ranked as the top factors for our applicants and eventual residents. We hope you consider our program, and look forward to welcoming you to Nashville!