Medicine at Yale, 1960 - 2010

2001 - 2010


Robert Alpern, Dean of the Yale School of Medicine, 2004-

Robert J. Alpern, an eminent nephrologist, was appointed Dean and Ensign Professor of Medicine in 2004. He received his M.D. from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine in 1976 and served as Dean of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center before coming to Yale. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine. During Alpern’s first term as dean, NIH grants have increased so that now Yale ranks first in NIH grants per faculty member. Alpern has taken part in development plans for the West Campus acquired by Yale in 2007 and has furthered interdisciplinary and transformational research through the founding of programs and centers. He is overseeing a strategic planning process for medical education while preserving the ideals of the Yale System. Alpern said in 2009, “To take a school as good as Yale and make it better is exciting, and we’ve come a long way. The reason I’ve signed on for another five years is to continue that ascent.”

Photograph courtesy of Yale Medicine.

Herbert Chase, Deputy Dean for Medical Education, 2000-2006

Herbert Chase came to Yale in 2000 from the faculty of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons where he had been recognized for excellent teaching. He was enticed by the Yale System of Medical Education, but found that various pressures had eroded its ideals. Once again the expanding curriculum took up too many classroom hours and attendance at lectures was low. The solution, Chase believed, was better and more focused teaching with learning goals and objectives. Chase furthered the difficult process of moving beyond a disciplinary framework in order to merge related subjects and integrate clinical material into the basic sciences. The second year curriculum now includes a modular section based on systems of the body. He set up the Clinical Skills Program that provides pre-clinical instruction in the first two years of medical school, worked with faculty to revamp the first-year anatomy course, and created a centralized set of committees to oversee education. Chase won the Bohmfalk prize for teaching and gave the commencement address in 2006.

Photograph courtesy of Yale Medicine.

The Anlyan Center for Research and Medical Education (TAC)

The Anlyan Center (TAC), dedicated in 2003, a major new research and teaching facility of the Yale School of Medicine was said to be the largest capital project in Yale's history. Filling an entire block bounded by Congress and Howard Avenues and Cedar and Gilbert Streets, the Anlyan Center consists of two six-floor wings joined by an atrium and courtyard. It contains laboratories for disease-oriented research, facilities for genomics and magnetic resonance imaging, an auditorium seating 150, and state-of-the-art teaching space for anatomy and histology. TAC is named in homor of A. John Anlyan,M.D., an alumnus of Yale College and Yale School of Medciine, who made a major donation in support of the building.

Photo courtesy of Yale Medicine.

Aerial View of the Medical Campus, 2004

In this view, Cedar Street runs vertically. In the immediate foreground is the Amistad Garage and beyond the bottom of the image is the former Lee High School where the Yale School of Nursing is located. On the other side of the park is the Yale Psychiatric Institute building (1989), now the Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital. The curved building to the left is the Anlyan Center (2003), which is primarily devoted to research laboratories. The curved building to the right is the Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine (1991). All space in the block formed by Congress Street, Cedar Street, Howard Street and Davenport Streets is filled with medical school and hospital buildings. The Children’s Hospital (1993) and the South Pavilion have been added to the Memorial Pavilion (East Pavilion). Across Howard Street, on the far left of the image, are the Yale Physicians Building (1988) and the Howard Street parking garage. The most significant addition to the medical campus since this photograph was taken has been the Smilow Cancer Hospital in 2009.


Medical Research Expands to West Campus

In 2007, Yale University acquired the former North American Headquarters of Bayer Health Care in West Haven. Biomedical research has expanded to the West Campus, which will be the home of a series of interdisciplinary centers.

Photo courtesy of Yale Medicine.

Anatomy class, 2010

A new state-of-the-art anatomy room opened in 2004 in the Anlyan Center. Students learn not only anatomy but surgical procedures. Computer monitors above the tables provide access to the course manual and to the NIH’s Visible Human.

Bodies for anatomy now come from individuals who have willed their bodies to Yale. Medical students and PA students honor those who have made possible their learning by holding an annual service of remembrance. However, humor still remains a part of the anatomy experience, as the solemn service is followed a few days later by the annual Cadaver Ball.

Photo courtesy of Terry Dagradi.

Student interviewing a "standardized patient"

Since Herbert Chase was Deputy Dean for Education, Margaret Bia has taught a clinical skills course to first and second year students. Working with a program developed at the University of Connecticut Health Center, students take a history and perform a physical or provide counseling to actors in the role of “patients.”

Another course in the curriculum for at least two decades is the “Professional Responsibility” course now under the charge of Jack Hughes. It deals with issues of cost and access in the health care system, medical ethics in research and patient care, patient rights, informed consent, death and dying, and conflicts of interest.

Clinical education

Though clinical rotations still begin in the third year, medical students are assigned mentors to follow and are in a clinical setting right from the beginning of their medical education.


Library education

Since the 1990s, much of the information used in medical teaching and research is now provided in electronic form through the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library. At the end of the second year, medical students attend a “Find it Fast” session, here taught by Jan Glover. Students are taught how to use electronic resources to find answers to clinical questions. All new medical students are assigned a personal librarian who will assist them in finding and using library resources throughout their four years.

Richard Belitsky and Nancy Angoff at the Hunger and Homelessness Auction

Richard Belitsky has been Deputy Dean for Education since 2006 and Nancy Angoff is Associate Dean for Student Affairs.



White coat ceremony for the class of 2011, 2007

Medical classes have remained at 100 students per year, creating a close-knit group. By the mid-1990s, half the students admitted were women. Shown is the Class of 2011 after the white coat ceremony in August 2007 that symbolized the beginning of medical school. The tradition of the white coat ceremony for entering medical students at Yale was begun in 1992. Nicholas Spinelli, who provided the initial set of coats, said “The white coat should be a reminder of the covenant made between physician and patient for the provision of compassionate medical service to all members of our society in need.”

Photograph courtesy of Terry Dagradi.


Smilow Cancer Center, 2009

The Smilow Cancer Hospital, part of Yale-New Haven Hospital, was dedicated on October 21, 2009. The hospital is named for donors Joseph Smilow (YC 1954) and his wife Joan. Its fourteen floors will house twelve programs for various types of cancer and will bring all cancer treatment under one roof.


Photograph by Robert Lisak, courtesy of Yale-New Haven Hospital

Bicentennial Celebration, 2010-2011

The Bicetennial Committee of the Yale School of Medicine, headed by hematologist Thomas Duffy, decided to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of the Medical School’s charter with a variety of activities over an entire fiscal year. The celebration began with the White Coat Ceremony in August, 2010 and ended with Reunions Weekend in June, 2011. Highlights were a community day in October, the performance of an orchestral piece by the Yale Medical Symphony Orchestra, written for the occasion by Yale band leader Thomas Duffy, the commissioning of a film on the Medical School by Karyl Evans, a major future-oriented academic symposium in April, the publication of a large-format illustrated history by Kerry Falvey, and numerous Bicentennial lectures.