Historic timeline

  • 1868-1899

    1868 - The Detroit Medical College is founded next to Harper Hospital by five physicians who served in the U.S. Civil War. Its motto was Salus Populi – Suprema Lex, the welfare of the people is the highest law. The faculty consists of 12 members who teach medical students a two-year curriculum. The founders are Theodore A. McGraw, M.D.; Samuel P. Duffield; Ph.D. (received his M.D. in 1871 or 1872); David O. Farrand, M.D.; George P. Andrews, M.D.; and Edward W. Jenks, M.D.

    Edward W. Jenks, M.D., is named president of the Detroit Medical College. He serves in that capacity through 1877.

    1869  
    First medical degrees awarded (to transfer students). Class includes Joseph Ferguson, M.D., the first African-American graduate in Michigan.
    Samuel Duffield, M.D., a pharmacist and microscopist, founds the Detroit Academy of Medicine. The drug manufacturing business he started before that, the Parke Drug Manufacturing Co., was once America's largest manufacturer of drugs and was eventually acquired by Pfizer.

    1870  
    J. Henry Carstens, M.D., an early leader in the field of gynecology, graduates from the medical school.

    1875
    Edmund A. Chapoton, M.D., a descendant of Jean Baptiste Chapoton, Fort Pontchartrain's third surgeon under the French, obtains his medical degree from the Detroit Medical College. He will go on to serve as a professor.

    1877  
    Theodore McGraw, M.D., a U.S. Army surgeon who was a prisoner of war, is named president of the Detroit College of Medicine, and serves in that capacity through 1913. In 1822, he performed one of the first thyroidectomies in the United States and in 1906 becomes one of the earliest physicians to use injected local anesthetics.

    1879      
    Michigan College of Medicine founded.

    1881      
    Michigan College of Medicine forms its Alumni Association.

    Henry O. Walker, M.D., becomes the first professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, in addition to his other professorships.

    Rival ambulance services of Detroit Medical School and Michigan College of Medicine compete for accident victims.

    Anna Spencer Rankin, M.D.,  graduates from the Michigan College of Medicine, a precursor of the School of Medicine. She's the first female to do so.

    1885      
    Detroit Medical School and Michigan College of Medicine merge to form the Detroit College of Medicine.

    1886  
    Charles Devendorf, M.D., a faculty member, Harper Hospital physician and later chief medical officer for Children's Hospital, works with 17 Detroit women to form the Children's Free Hospital Association, which provides beds and clothing for sick children regardless of race, religion or ability to pay. 

    1890
    Merritte Ireland, M.D., who went on to serve as chief surgeon and brigadier general for the American Expeditionary Forces in WWI, graduates with a medical degree.

    1891      
    Detroit College of Medicine establishes the Department of Pharmacy, Department of Veterinary Medicine and the Department of Dental Surgery.

     1893
    Albert Henry Johnson, M.D., the third African-American graduate of the Detroit College of Medicine, graduates. Dr. Johnson will become a co-founder Dunbar Hospital, the first African-American non-profit hospital in Detroit.

    1894  
    Leucocyte, the school's first journal for medical students, faculty and alumni, is established.

    1895  
    J. Henry Carstens, M.D., chief of Surgical Gynecology and Obstetrics, is elected president of the American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

    1896   
    Theodore A. McGraw, M.D., is named vice president of the American Surgical Association.

    1899
    The Department of Veterinary Medicine closes.

  • 1900-1929

    1901
    The first section of Urology is organized under Frederick Robbins, M.D.

    1905  
    The Department of Pharmacy closes.

    1909  
    The Department of Dental Surgery closes.

    1910   
    Detroit College of Medicine ranks an A in an American Medical Association inspection.

    1913  
    The school is reorganized as the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery.

    Daniel LaFerte, M.D., becomes the first head of the Sub-Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

    Theodore A. McGraw, M.D., is named vice president of the American Medical Association.

    Burt R. Shurly, M.D., is named dean of the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery, and serves in that capacity through 1917.

    The Department of Physiology is established and includes Biochemistry and Pharmacology studies at various times.

    1914   
    Of the 16 black-owned and operated hospitals in Detroit, six have at least one founder who graduates from the Detroit College of Medicine or the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery.

    1916  
    Angus McLean, M.D., head of Surgery for the medical school and chief of Surgery for Harper Hospital, organizes Base Hospital 17. The unit arrives in Dijon, France, in July 1917, and treats American and French soldiers through Jan. 8, 1919, when it is deactivated. The base, which was served by 21 physicians from the medical school and Harper, became one of the largest American military hospitals in France. Shortly after WWI, Dr. McLean, a colonel, becomes personal physician to President Woodrow Wilson during the Peace Conference in France.

    1917      
    Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery admits women.

    Burt Shurly, M.D., dean of the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery, a major in the Medical Officers' Reserve Corps, agrees to set up another base hospital through the Red Cross and the Army Medical Department, thanks to Detroit resident Carl E. Schmidt's financial contribution of $35,000. The unit is designated Base Hospital 36 and is staffed primarily by faculty of the medical college.

    1918      
    Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery is transferred to the Detroit Board of Education.

    Walter H. MacCraken, M.D., is named dean of the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery. He serves in that capacity through 1935.

    1920
    William Keane, M.D., is named professor and chair of the Department of Urology.

    1921  
    Receiving Hospital becomes the primary training base for the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery.

    1923      
    The Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery awards a B.Med. degree to students after their fourth year and an M.D. after their fifth year. A fifth (internship) year is required.

    1924  
    The College of Pharmacy is formed.

    1927      
    Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery constructs a new building at 645 Mullett St. for library and laboratories.

  • 1930-1949

    1933
    The university is organized under the Board of Education as Colleges of the City of Detroit. The colleges include Medicine, Education, Liberal Arts, Pharmacy, Engineering and the Graduate School.

    1934  
    Wayne University is named for Wayne County and Revolutionary War Gen. Anthony Wayne.

    1935
    William J. Stapleton Jr. , M.D., is named acting dean of the Wayne University College of Medicine. He serves in that capacity into 1936.

    1936
    Raymond B. Allen, M.D.,  is named dean of the Wayne University College of Medicine. He serves until 1939.

    1939
    Edgar H. Norris, M.D.,  is named dean of the Wayne University College of Medicine, and serves in that capacity through 1945.

    1942  
    The College of Medicine's 36th General Hospital is activated. Ships overseas to Algeria in August 1943, and then to Italy in October 1943 to treat American forces during the Mediterranean invasion. The hospital moves to France and remains in service in Europe through the end of the war.

    George Mogill, M.D., earns his medical degree. He goes on to serve in the Army's 8th Field Hospital in Europe. Afterward, he refuses to segregate his practice in Detroit between Peterboro and Charlotte streets. Dr. Mogill receives a Lifetime Achievement Citation in 2016 for his meritorious loyalty and commitment to the school, the field of medicine, and teaching and mentoring of medical students.

    1943  
    Dr. Marjorie Peebles is first African-American woman to graduate from College of Medicine. She also became the first African-American female resident and chief resident at Detroit Receiving Hospital and faculty member at Wayne State University.

    The Army Specialized Training Program starts at the college, with most male students inducted into the Armed Forces.

    The Department of Mortuary Science is established.

    The Karmanos Cancer Institute, a Wayne State affiliate, begins as the Detroit Institute for Cancer Research, though its roots stretch to earlier medical leadership at Wayne State. Today, Karmanos offers leading treatments through one of the most extensive clinical trial programs available to patients.

    1944  
    The Kresge-Hooker Scientific Library is acquired.

    1945
    Hardy A. Kemp, M.D., is appointed dean of the Wayne University College of Medicine. He serves through 1948.

    1946
    Dr. Ivan B. Taylor launches Michigan's first Anesthesiology residency at Wayne University.

    1948
    Gordon Scott, Ph.D., is appointed interim dean. Named permanent dean in 1950, he serves in that capacity until 1963. He joined Wayne University in 1946 as chair of the Department of Anatomy. Dr. Scott assumed the deanship during construction of the medical school building at Rivard and Chrysler, initiating the expansion of the student body from 250 to more than 1,700 at his retirement.

    Leading ophthalmologists A.D. Ruedemann Sr., M.D., and Parker Heath, M.D., recognize the need for a comprehensive eye institute in Michigan. With a grant from the Kresge Foundation, they establish the Kresge Eye Institute in Detroit.

  • 1950-1968

    1950
    Angus Goetz, M.D., is named first acting chair of the Department of Orthopaedics.

    1951  
    The state funds a $3.5 million grant for the Medical Science building on Rivard Street.

    Marion Barnhart, Ph.D., in the Department of Physiology, becomes the first full-time female staff member at the College of Medicine, and the first woman to become a professor (1967). Dr. Barnhart studied Hematology, particularly blood platelets and blood clotting. She develops tests and treatment for sickle cell anemia.

    1952
    Forest Dewey Dodrill, M.D., and General Motors engineers design a machine to temporarily replace the blood-pumping function of the heart, making many types of open-heart surgery possible for the first time. The device is first used successfully at Wayne State's Harper Hospital in July 1952, and has made now-common cardiac procedures possible for millions of patients.

    1956  
    Wayne State University is established by Public Act 183 of 1956. The university shifts from city to state control.

    Charles Whitten, M.D., becomes the first and only African-American to head a department in a Detroit hospital when he is selected clinical director of Pediatrics at Detroit Receiving Hospital. 

    1957
    Professor of Physiology Piero Foa, M.D., Ph.D., first identifies the hormone glucagon, and demonstrates that glucose stimulates insulin secretion, a cornerstone in understanding diabetes and its treatment.

    The Department of Neurosurgery is established and E. Stephen Gurdjian, M.D., is named its first chair. He is an early pioneer in the use of angiography to study cerebrovascular disease.

    1961
    Ananda Prasad, professor of Internal Medicine, publishes a groundbreaking article linking zinc deficiency to slowed human growth. He has continued to study zinc's positive effects on human development, saving countless lives across the world, as mortality rates due to infantile diarrhea in Asia and Africa dropped from nearly 85 percent to 15 percent when the United Nations adopts zinc supplements advised in Dr. Prasad's research.

    1962
    Morris Goodman, Ph.D., professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology, asserts that chimpanzees and gorillas are genetically more closely related to humans than to other apes, and thus should be placed in family Hominidae rather than Pongidae. His research, based on molecular evidence, has since been generally accepted, including a later discovery from DNA sequences that chimpanzees and humans are more closely related to each other than to gorillas or other apes.

    1963
    Ernest Gardner, M.D., is named dean and serves in that position until 1970. Dr. Gardner joined the College of Medicine as an assistant professor of Anatomy in May 1945. He was promoted to professor and chair of Anatomy in July 1950, and to associate dean in April 1961. He also served as consulting neuroanatomist at Detroit Receiving Hospital.

    1964
    The Helen Vera Prentis Lande Medical Research Building is completed at a cost of approximately $4 million.

    The name of the school is officially changed from College of Medicine to School of Medicine.

    John J. Schwarz, M.D., graduates from the School of Medicine. He will go on to become the mayor of Battle Creek, Mich. (1985-87), a state senator (1987-94) and a U.S. representative (2005-07).

    1965
    Professor of Surgery Allen Silbergleit, M.D., Ph.D., performs the world's first successful resection and graft of a ruptured mycotic/tuberculous abdominal aortic aneurysm.

    1966
    The Kresge Eye Institute joins the Wayne State University School of Medicine, and administers and directs all ophthalmological services for WSU and the Detroit Medical Center.

  • 1969-1989

    1969  
    The Shiffman Medical Library is constructed at 4325 Brush St. It opens in 1970.

    The School of Medicine creates the Post-Baccalaureate Program, which leads to WSU leading the nation's 125 medical schools (exclusive of Howard and Meharry) in the number of African-American graduates from 1981 to 1997.

    Ronald Krome, M.D., graduates from the Wayne State Surgery Residency and is assigned staff oversight for the Detroit General Hospital emergency room. By the early 1970s, Dr. Krome begins to develop an emergency physician staff that practices exclusively in emergency medicine and the Emergency Department becomes a formal part of the hospital's administrative structure.

    Lawrence Brilliant, M.D., graduates from the School of Medicine. He will become chief executive officer of the Skoll Global Threats Fund, confronting global threats imperiling humanity. He founds the Seva Foundation, an international non-government organization overseeing programs that have restored sight to more than 3 million. He becomes a member of the four-person team that leads the successful World Health Organization smallpox eradication program in India and South Asia.

    1970
    L. Murray Thomas, M.D., succeeds E. Stephen Gurdjian, M.D., as the second chair of the Department of Neurosurgery. Dr. Thomas brings the department into its present microscopic realm and works on a clinical study of extra-cranial cerebrovascular disease.

    1971
    Charles Whitten, M.D., professor of Pediatrics, forms the Sickle Cell Detection and Information Center, the most comprehensive community program in the country. A co-founder of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Dr. Whitten, who also served the School of Medicine as associate dean for Curriculum, is among the first to develop and insist on newborn screening for sickle cell disease. As chief of Pediatrics at Detroit Receiving Hospital, he is the first African-American physician to head a department in a Detroit hospital.

    Construction begins on the nine-story, $24 million Gordon H. Scott Hall of Basic Medical Sciences.

    Robert Coye, M.D., is named dean of the Wayne State University School of Medicine. He will serve until 1980. His tenure includes substantial growth in the size of the student body, placing it among the largest four medical colleges in the nation, and the opening of new facilities, including the Gordon H. Scott Hall of Basic Medical Sciences, the C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development, the Health Care Institute and the Radiology Oncology Center.

    1973
    The C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development is dedicated June 14. A center of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, it is later established as a university center in 1983. In 1988, it is designated as an entity of the School of Medicine.

    1973
    Samuel Brooks, Ph.D., professor of Biochemistry, describes for the first time the estrogen receptor in breast cancer cell line MCF-7, a pivotal discovery with fundamental impact upon breast cancer research.

    Physiology Professor Robin Barraco, Ph.D., and colleagues perform an autopsy on the mummy Pum II during a seminar on death and disease in ancient Egypt.

    1974  
    The College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions forms from the merger of the College of Pharmacy and the Division of Allied Health Professions, School of Medicine.

    With the growth of the Department of Ophthalmology and support from the Kresge Foundation, a new building for the Kresge Eye Institute is built. The 35,000-square-foot, single-floor structure connects to Harper Hospital.

    1976
    The Emergency Medicine residency at Detroit General Hospital begins with Brooks Bock, M.D., as first residency director.

    1977
    Richard Stone, M.D., graduates from the School of Medicine. He will become principal deputy undersecretary for Health in the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

    1981
    Henry Nadler, M.D., is named dean after coming from Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where he served as chief of staff and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Northwestern University. He expands genetic research programs while continuing to see patients and counsel families in the Genetics Clinic, in addition to his administrative responsibilities and advancement of the school's national research standing. He serves as dean until 1988.

    Alexa Canady, M.D., becomes the first African-American neurosurgeon in the United States. Dr. Canady goes on to serve as professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at Wayne State. She was chosen as one of the country's most outstanding doctors by Child magazine in 2001. 

    1987
    A Wayne State University School of Medicine researcher – a native of Detroit — discovers the first FDA-approved drug to treat AIDS patients in 1987. Jerome Horwitz, Ph.D., gave hope to millions of AIDS patients and their families with his discovery of the drug AZT, still used today.

    1989
    Robert Sokol, M.D., is named dean. He joined the university in 1983 as chair of the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics and obstetrician and gynecologist-in-chief at the Detroit Medical Center. During his tenure, the School of Medicine progressed to 22nd nationally from 70th in National Science Foundation research expenditures ranking. He serves as dean through 1999.

    Kresge ophthalmologists begin seeing patients in a new structure in November. The four-story building is 2.5 times larger and contains basic science and clinical laboratories, a library, an auditorium, classrooms and clinics.

    Reach Out to Youth is developed by alumni Carolyn King, M.D. '93, and Don Tynes, M.D. '95, to provide children living in urban areas the opportunity to realize that they can be physicians and medical researchers. The annual event continues, with faculty and medical students volunteering to staff exhibits.

  • 1990-2005

    1990
    Brooks Bock, M.D., is appointed a full professor and named first chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine.

    1992
    Jerry Linenger, M.D. '81, M.P.H., Ph.D., flies on the space shuttle Discovery mission (Sept. 9-20, 1994), logging more than 10 days in space. In January 1997, he flies on the space shuttle Atlantis Russian space station Mir, returning in May after more than 132 days in space, the record duration space stay for an American at that time. This includes a five-hour spacewalk, the first by an American from a foreign space station in a non-American spacesuit. He carries a Wayne State University School of Medicine flag with him on the mission. That flag is now displayed in Scott Hall.

    1994 
    Bonnie F. Sloane, Ph.D., becomes the first female chair of any department in the School of Medicine and serves as Chair of Pharmacology through 2015.

    1995 
    Charles Vincent, M.D., was appointed to the Membership Committee of the American Medical Association, making him the first African-American appointed to the committee in the AMA's 147-year history.

    1996
    Arthur Porter, M.D. became the first and only African-American president and chief executive officer of the Detroit Medical Center.

    1997
    Professor of Physiology Bhanu Jena, Ph.D., discovers the porosome, a cellular structure demonstrated to be the universal secretory portal in cells. The structure is universally present in all cells.

    William O'Neill, M.D., graduates from the School of Medicine. He will pioneer the use of angioplasty, now the standard of care, to treat heart attacks. He will perform the first aortic valve replacement through a catheter in 2005.

    1998 
    Jimmie Smith Jr., M.D., (Class of 1994) named special assistant to David Satcher, M.D., U.S. Surgeon General.

    1999
    John Crissman, M.D., is appointed dean. Before joining the Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1990 as chair of Pathology and specialist-in-chief of Pathology and Laboratory Services, Dr. Crissman held the position of vice chair of Pathology at the Henry Ford Health System. As dean he led a number of business innovations for the university, including negotiation of a landmark contract with the school's primary hospital system affiliate for reimbursement for teaching, clinical services, medical administration and program support services. Through the establishment of the Wayne State University Physician Group, Dr. Crissman consolidated 19 independent faculty physician group practice plans into a single entity. He was instrumental in advocating bringing to WSU the largest intramural branch of the National Institutes of Health outside of Bethesda, Md., culminating in a 10-year contract for the Perinatology Research Branch, which continues at WSU. He will serve as dean until 2004.

    2001
    Murali Guthikonda, M.D., is named interim chair of Neurosurgery. Named permanent chair in 2005, he adds faculty in neuro-trauma, cranial nerve disorders, epilepsy, neuro-oncology and interventional neuro-radiology. He oversees the development of the Motor Skills Laboratory to complement work in the area of computer-assisted learning.

    2002
    The National Institutes of Health approves a 10-year contract to house the Perinatology Research Branch at the School of Medicine. The branch, which focuses on maternal-fetal medicine and preterm birth, is the only NIH branch of its type located outside of Bethesda, Md.

    Morris Goodman, Ph.D., a distinguished professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology, is the first Wayne State University faculty member elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

    2003
    LaQuandra Nesbitt, M.D., graduates from the School of Medicine. She will become director of the District of Columbia Department of Health.

    2004
    Department of Emergency Medicine faculty, working with the Detroit Medical Center, restructure the process of care within the emergency departments to establish a guarantee that patients will be evaluated by a physician within 29 minutes of arrival.

    2005
    Robert Mentzer Jr., M.D., is appointed 14th dean in November 2005. A cardiothoracic surgeon, he is a national advocate for organ donation. He serves as dean until 2009.

  • 2006-current

    2006
    Flint, Mich.-based pediatrician Mona Hanna Attisha, M.D., graduates from her Pediatrics Residency at WSU and Children's Hospital of Michigan, having served as chief resident since 2005. She makes headlines in 2015 when she announces that the blood of children living in Flint, and treated at Hurley Medical Center, where she practices, show elevated lead levels due to contaminated water. She is named one of Time Magazine's Most Influential People in 2015.

    2007  
    Private funds raise $35 million for construction of the Richard J. Mazurek, M.D., Medical Education Commons. The Shiffman Library staff and collections relocate to three temporary sites during renovation.

    MD Magazine includes Mitchell Dombrowski, M.D., '79, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, among its Top 10 Physician-Inventors. He obtains 11 U.S. patents, including those for the insulin pen, contemporary glucose test strips using capillary action, safety needles and self-capping intravenous catheters.

    Renee Jenkins, M.D., (Class of 1971) becomes the first African-American president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

    2008
    The Cardiovascular Research Institute is established in February. It will be officially chartered in August 2009.

    2009  
    Valerie Parisi, M.D., M.P. H., M.B.A., is named dean. An obstetrician/gynecologist, she is a national leader in medical education and in the evaluation and certification of physicians. She helped launch and served as co-principal investigator for a federal grant to establish an Area Health Education Center program in Michigan. The school's first woman dean, she serves until 2014.

    The school opens the Richard Mazurek, M.D., Medical Education Commons, with the new Shiffman Medical Library, at 320 E. Canfield St. in June.

    The Wayne State University Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Oakwood Residency Program is established.

    Medical students launch the Robert R. Frank Student-Run Free Clinic, the first student-run free clinic in Michigan. The clinic treats the homeless and underserved.

    Peter Littrup, M.D., professor of Radiology and Neb Duric, Ph.D., professor of Radiation Oncology, develop a new breast cancer screening technology called Computerized Ultrasound Risk Evaluation. The technology will be marketed under the name SoftVue through a spinoff company called Delphinus Medical Technologies LCC.

    2010
    Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology Sonia Hassan, M.D., working in the Perinatology Research Branch, discovers that the daily use of progesterone by pregnant women found to have a shortened cervix via ultrasound reduces the rate of preterm birth by as much as 45 percent.

    Reginald Eadie, M.D., (Class of 1995) becomes president of Detroit Receiving Hospital; Sinai- Grace Hospital and Harper-Hutzel Hospitals in 2012. In 2016, Dr. Eadie was appointed regional chief operational officer of the Detroit Medical Center.

    Aaron Maddox, M.D., (Class of 1976) is elected president of the Detroit Medical Society.

    2011
    World AIDS Day Detroit is founded Dec. 1 by second-year medical student and now Internal Medicine physician Phillip Kucab, M.D. Events include a keynote address by Jeanne White-Ginder, mother of Ryan White. The event remembers those who have died from the disease, honors those infected and affected, and sparks a recommitment to achieve an AIDS-free generation.

    2012
    The National Institutes of Health, after considering competitive proposals, awards a second 10-year contract to maintain its Perinatology Research Branch at the School of Medicine.

    2013
    LaQuandra Nesbit, M.D., (Class of 2003) becomes director of the Louisville Health Department. In 2015, she becomes director of the Washington, D.C., Health Department.

    2014
    E. Jerome "Jerry" Umanos, M.D., '82, is shot and killed with two others while treating patients at the CURE hospital for women and children in Kabul, Afghanistan in April. Dr. Umanos was the Kabul community health coordinator for Empowerment Health, an organization formed to offer resources and health care to mothers and children in Afghanistan.

    The School of Medicine in July receives an $8.5 million gift from Michael and Marian Ilitch for the Department of Surgery. The gift creates the Ilitch Chair for Surgical Innovation and establishes an unrestricted fund to support research and development in surgical technologies. In recognition of the Ilitches' generosity, the department is renamed the Michael and Marian Ilitch Department of Surgery.

    Jack D. Sobel, M.D., is appointed interim dean in November. A longtime member of the faculty, with extensive experience in both clinical practice and medical administration, he is named permanent dean in June 2015. He joined the Wayne State University School of Medicine as a professor of Internal Medicine in 1985, and was named chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. One of the world's foremost authorities on yeast infections, Dr. Sobel is a widely published and strongly funded physician-researcher.

    For six weeks in September and October, Craig Spencer, M.D., M.P.H., '08, volunteers with Doctors Without Borders at an ebola treatment center in Gueckedou, Guinea. He returns to New York on Oct. 17 and is rushed to the Bellevue Hospital Center, where he tests positive for the virus. He is declared ebola-free and released Nov. 11. He uses his notoriety as one of only eight people in the United States to survive the virus to improve the understanding and treatment of epidemic diseases in developing nations, through articles in the New England Journal of Medicine and lectures at various universities, including his alma mater in February 2015.

    The Wayne State University Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Oakwood establishes a Brain Injury Medicine Fellowship Program, the only such program in Michigan and one of only 13 in the nation.

    2015
    Wayne State University opens the Integrative Biosciences Center, a $93 million facility dedicated to studying and eliminating health disparities that affect Detroit's residents. The center supports researchers from varying fields and enhances their ability to collaborate to solve problems related to human health and society.

    2016
    Dublin, Ireland-based pharmaceutical company Allergan plc acquires WSU startup RetroSense Therapeutics LLC for $60 million. The company focuses on novel gene therapy, RST-001, aimed at restoring vision in patients suffering from blindness caused by retinitis pigmentosa, a technology developed by Zhuo-Hua Pan, Ph.D, the Edward T. and Ellen K. Dryer Endowed Professor of Ophthalmology, and of Anatomy and Cell Biology, and scientific director of the Ligon Research Center of Vision/Kresge Eye Institute.

    2017
    The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the Department of Immunology and Microbiology, merge in January to form the new Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Biochemistry.

    Obstetrician and gynecologist Cheryl Gibson Fountain, M.D., Class of 1987, assumes the role of president of the Michigan State Medical Society. She becomes the society's first African-American female president.

    Wayne State University and the Wayne State University Physician Group announce an agreement with Health Emergency Lifeline Programs to collaborate with Corktown Health Center, Michigan's first nonprofit medical home dedicated to the health needs of the LGBTQ community.

  • Alumni accomplishments

    Alumni accomplishments

    1869 - Joseph Ferguson, M.D., a graduate of the Detroit Medical College, is the first African-American medical school graduate in Michigan.

    1871 - Henry Fitzbutler, Detroit Medical College's second African-American student, completes his first year. He went on to the University of Michigan and, later, Louisville, Kentucky, where he helped found a medical school owned and operated by African American physicians. 

    1881 - Dr. Anna Spencer Rankin graduates with a M.D. from the Michigan School of Medicine, a precursor of the School of Medicine. She's the first female to do so.

    1890 - Dr. Merritte Ireland, who went on to serve as chief surgeon and Brigader General for the American Expeditionary Forces in World War One, graduates with a M.D.

    1942 - George Mogill, M.D. earns a M.D. He goes on to serve in the Army's 8th Field Hospital in Europe during the war and refuses to segregate his Detroit practice when he opens it in Detroit between Peterboro and Charlotte streets. Dr. Mogill goes on to receive a Lifetime Achievement Citation in 2016 for his meritorious loyalty and commitment to the school, the field of medicine and the teaching and mentoring of medical students.

    1943 - Dr. Marjorie Peebles is first African-American woman to graduate from College of Medicine. She also became the first African-American female resident and chief resident at Detroit Receiving Hospital and faculty member at Wayne State University.

    1956 - Charles Whitten, M.D., became the first and only African-American to head a department in a Detroit hospital when he was selected clinical director of Pediatrics at Detroit Receiving Hospital.

    1977 - Dr. William O'Neill graduates with a M.D. degree. He goes on to pioneer the use of angioplasty to treat heart attacks, a procedure that is now the standard of care for the treatment of heart attacks. O'Neill also performed the first aortic valve replacement through a catheter in 2005.

    2014 - Dr. Craig Spencer, a 2008 alumnus, volunteers in the West African nation of Guinea, working with Doctors Without Borders to treat ebola patients. He goes on to gain worldwide notoriety after being diagnosed with the ebola virus and speaks to audiences worldwide on ebola patient and provider experiences.

    2015- Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a 2006 resident alumna, discovers the elevated lead levels in the blood of children living in the city of Flint, Mich.

    2017 - Obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Cheryl Gibson Fountain assumes the role of president of the Michigan State Medical Society at its 152nd annual meeting. She becomes the medical society's first African American female president.