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.
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 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 1,000-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.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center is the premier medical institution in the region, earning national recognition for its commitment to excellence in patient care, research and education. Despite these accolades, the Department of Medicine’s pride continues to be its residents. House staff are engaged at all levels of patient care throughout the medical center. While serving on general medicine and intensive care unit teams, in addition to a diverse spectrum of medicine subspecialty services, residents provide direct care for some of the most challenging patients in the hospital. Through these experiences, they gain clinical exposure to a wide variety of patients, as well as teaching from clinical faculty focused on education. House staff also lead campus-wide quality improvement initiatives and serve in leadership positions that indirectly improve patient care throughout the medical center. Additionally, an overwhelming majority of residents complete scholarly work in clinical, basic science, bioinformatics, quality improvement and/or educational research that yields a tangible end-product, allowing them to positively impact patient care even beyond Vanderbilt. Collectively, these experiences provide Vanderbilt residents with the experience needed to develop clinical mastery and the tools required to be leaders in their chosen field of practice. As such, the house staff are often cited as one of the strongest and most critical components of the Department of Medicine.
Beyond being excellent physicians, Vanderbilt residents are great people, reflecting a broader culture of camaraderie within the Department of Medicine. Year after year, residents consistently cite their fellow residents as the number one reason they were happy to have matched at Vanderbilt. House staff take pride in maintaining a constructive, supportive, educational and collaborative atmosphere within the program. I am personally grateful to have had the opportunity to train at Vanderbilt with so many amazing people. As such, I truly hope you consider our program in your search for a training home.