With roots to 1794, the University of Tennessee has been training medical professionals since 1911 when it was recognized as the home of the country’s largest medical college, a program that not only survived, but also excelled.
The UT Graduate School of Medicine has a long history of graduate medical training. The "Internship Program" (the predecessor to a Transitional Residency Program) was the first program to be officially accredited in 1956 with the opening of the new UT Memorial Research Center and Hospital. In 1957, programs in Internal Medicine, Anesthesiology, "General Practice" (now known as Family Medicine), Obstetrics and Gynecology, Orthopedic Surgery, Radiology, Pathology, Pediatrics and Surgery received accreditation and were established.
In 1991, The University of Tennessee College of Medicine formalized its graduate medical and dental education programs in Knoxville at UT Medical Center by naming the program the UT Graduate School of Medicine. The UT Medical Center separated from the University of Tennessee in 1999 to form a 501 C3 not for profit corporation.
Today, UT Graduate School of Medicine in Knoxville is part of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, the statewide academic health system. The school is home to more than 190 residents in 19 residency and fellowship programs.
The faculty and staff are comprised of more than 200 teaching physicians and researchers and more than 180 volunteer faculty physicians and dentists. The school, together with clinical partner, University Health System Inc., forms the University of Tennessee Medical Center, the only academic medical center in the area.
A Timeline of Important Events in the History of Medical Education at the University of Tennessee
1794 – Charter granted to Blount College by Territorial Assembly.
1806 – Congress passes Act requiring Tennessee to establish two colleges, one of which must be in East Tennessee.
1807 – Blount College reorganized as East Tennessee College after receiving federal land grants.
1826 – East Tennessee College is moved to “The Hill” and prospers.
1840 – Legislature changes the name of East Tennessee College to East Tennessee University.
1846 – Tennessee’s first medical school, an independent school called Memphis Medical College, is launched.
1865 – East Tennessee University, having been disrupted by the Civil War, reopens after damages created by both Union and Confederate forces are repaired.
1877 – First session of the Nashville Medical College is launched.
1879 – East Tennessee University becomes the University of Tennessee.
1879 – First dental school in the South established at Nashville Medical College.
1879 – University of Tennessee adopts the Nashville Medical College as its medical department.
1889 – Tennessee Medical College is founded at Gay and Main streets in Knoxville.
1904 – Classes at Tennessee Medical College open for female applicants.
1911 – University of Tennessee’s College of Medicine, already combined with the University of Nashville, moves to Memphis. Shortly thereafter, the College becomes the largest in the U.S.
1912 – UT College of Medicine graduates three female physicians.
1912 – University of Tennessee erects a new laboratory for its College of Medicine.
1913 – The University of Tennessee obtains the buildings and equipment of four local independent medical schools for its College of Medicine in Memphis.
1914 – Medical students training in Knoxville are transferred to the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis. The buildings originally used by Tennessee Medical College, which became a part of Lincoln Memorial University in 1909, are later used for the Knoxville General Hospital.
1945 – President Harry Truman pushes through a bill to provide funds to states to build new hospitals.
1946 – Manhattan Project officials announce plans to produce radioactive isotopes for medical research.
1946 – State legislature approves a bill to build a $6 million, 550-bed hospital and isotopic research center.
1946 – GIs raise enrollment at UT to an all-time high of 10,000.
1956 – UT Memorial Research Center and Hospital opens and includes 14 laboratories to be used for research and was accredited to train transitional year residents.
1957 - Programs in Internal Medicine, Anesthesiology, "General Practice" (now known as Family Medicine), Obstetrics and Gynecology, Orthopedic Surgery, Radiology, Pathology, Pediatrics and Surgery received accreditation and were established.
1957 – Dr. E. Stanfield Rogers named first director of research center.
1958 – UT researchers begin to explore the effects of outer space on humans.
1960 – UT President Andy Holt outlines new plan for physician training that includes continuing education programs for “near-by” physicians.
1963 – UT Research Center-Hospital in Knoxville designated as a graduate and postgraduate training center under the auspices of the administration of the medical units on UT’s Memphis campus.
1964 – Dr. Amoz I. Chernoff named director of research.
1965 – New $1 million research center addition opens.
1966 – National March of Dimes grant awarded to research center for the study of birth defects.
1967 – UT Trustees request legislative funding to build medical school in Knoxville.
1968 – UT’s research center is one of only fifteen sites testing L-Dopa to control Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
1968 – Knoxville newspapers carry a series of articles highlighting UT’s excellence in the research of birth defects, blood disorders, and cancer research.
1970 – Intensive Care Nursery established.
1971 – Comprehensive Health Manpower Act attempts to coax physicians to locate in medically under-served areas by offering attractive loan incentives.
1973 – State’s first Clinical Education Center, predecessor to UT Graduate School of Medicine, opens in Knoxville to train physicians for rural areas.
1979 – Plans for Family Practice Center formed.
1982 – UT Family Practice Center serves more than 1,400 patients a month.
1985 – Dr. Mitchell Goldman performs first kidney transplant at UT Hospital.
1986 – First heart transplant performed at UT Hospital.
1990 – UT College of Medicine increases its endowed professorships, including 19 Chairs of Excellence.
1991 – UT Graduate School of Medicine is formed to allow residencies, subspecialty fellowships and continuing education programs to be managed in Knoxville. University Memorial Hospital is reconfigured.
1992 – American Cancer Society names UT Graduate School of Medicine’s Dr. Alan Solomon as Clinical Research Professor of Clinical Medicine for integrating his laboratory research on multiple myeloma with patient care.
1993 – George Kabalka, PhD, is recognized as the South’s most distinguished chemist for his research into developing imaging agents for MRI and PET scans.
1993 – UT researchers send an experiment to study anemia in astronauts aboard the Columbia space shuttle.
1996 – Largest group of resident physicians—168—is trained at UT Graduate School of Medicine.
1999- UT Medical Center separated from the University of Tennessee to form a 501 C3 not for profit corporation.
1999 – UT Graduate School of Medicine’s Preston Medical Library and Learning Resource Center moves to larger location in Clinical Education Center building.
1999 – UT Graduate School of Medicine establishes Adolescent Health/Health Education program at the Boy Scouts of America Camp Buck Toms, where resident physicians provide medical care for 3,000 scouts and others.
2005 – More than 50% of the physicians trained in Knoxville, eventually practice medicine in Tennessee.
2006 – UT Graduate School of Medicine accepts its 49th class of physician residents while its 1,546th resident completes requirements for board certification. Happy 15th anniversary, Graduate School of Medicine.
2007 – Professor and researcher Alan Solomon, M.D., director of the Human Immunology and Cancer/Alzheimer’s Disease and Amyloid-Related Disorders Research Program, is awarded a five-year grant renewal from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Cancer Institute. This highlights one of the longest active grants in NIH history and is the longest running NIH grant in UT history.
2007 - The UT Health Science Center College of Pharmacy opens a Knoxville campus here at UTGSM.
2008 – Two new fellowships, Cardiovascular Disease and Pulmonary Disease, join a long list of specialty fellowships approved for physician and dentist education.
2008 - The UTGSM Simulation Center first opens it's doors in a 400-square-foot facility.
2009 - The initial meeting of the Board of Visitors was held on June 3. The Board's mission is to advise and assist the Dean in strategic planning, the development and implementation of short- and long-term goals, community outreach and service, and the garnering of financial support for education, research and clinical care.
2009 - Alfred D. Beasley, MD, FACP, Professor Emeritus, was recognized by the American Medical Association (AMA) for his 50-year anniversary of graduation from medical school. Dr. Beasley served as chairman of the Department of Medicine at University of Tennessee Medical Center for 30 years and was awarded Professor Emeritus in 1997.
2010 - The University of Tennessee Medical Center opens a dedicated Heart Hospital which bolsters Graduate School of Medicine fellowship programs in Cardiovascular Disease, Pulmonary Disease and Vascular Surgery.
2010 - Dr. Mitchell Goldman named first UTGSM Assistant Dean of Research
2010 - The Amyloidosis Research of Drs. Alan Solomon and Jonathan Wall is the featured cover story in the September 30 issue of Blood, Journal of the American Society of Hematology.
2011 - Department of Family Medicine Holds Groundbreaking Ceremony of Phase I of a three-phase expansion designed to improve the residency training experience and allow Family Medicine's ambulatory clinic, University Family Physicians (UFP), to restructure into a team-structured, patient-centered medical home concept.
2011- The Medical Explorations Program for high school students to shadow University of Tennessee Medical Center and UT Graduate School of Medicine medical staff, celebrated its 20-year anniversary.
2012 - The Kelly L. Krahwinkel Endowed Chair for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is established.
2012 - The UT Center for Advanced Medical Simulation opens it's new facility. The new center is 6,500 square feet, significantly larger than the 400-square-foot original simulation center that opened in 2008.
2012 - Advance Digest magazine begins publication highlighting UTGSM Research
2013 - UT Center for Advanced Medical Simulation Earns Top Accreditation and became the only facility in Tennessee and one of just 67 in the world to earn accreditation as a Level I Comprehensive Accredited Education Institute (AEI) from the American College of Surgeons (ACS).
2013 - The UT Graduate School of Medicine received approval from the UT College of Medicine to offer clerkships in neurology, pediatrics and psychiatry beginning in the 2013-14 academic year.
DeFiore, Jayne Crumpler (1996). Miracle in the Valley: A History of the University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Medical Center.
Deadrick, Lucile (1976). Heart of the Valley: A History of Knoxville, Tennessee. East Tennessee Historical Society. Knoxville, TN.
Echols, Dr. Michael (May 10, 2006). Civil War Surgeon Identification. Retrieved May 31, 2006 from http://www.braceface.com/medical/Pages/Civil%20War%20Surgeon
Hamer, Philip M. (1930). The Centennial History of the Tennessee State Medical Association: 1830-1930. Nashville, TN: Tennessee State Medical Association.
Knoxville News-Sentinel. Knoxville, Tennessee. 1951-1974.
The Knoxville Journal. Knoxville, Tennessee. 1956-1971.
Platt, Samuel Joseph (1969). Medical Men and Institutions of Knox County, Tennessee, 1789-1957.
Rutkow, Ira M., M.D. (1998). American Surgery: An Illustrated History. New York: Lippencott, Williams & Wilkins.
Stewart, Marcus J. and Black, William T., Jr. (1971). History of Medicine in Memphis.
Memphis and Shelby County Medical Society. Jackson, TN: McCowat-Mercer Press, Inc.
University of Tennessee Medical Center, The MONITOR, 1988-2000.
University of Tennessee, Website: www.utk.edu, Brief Historical Sketch of the University of Tennessee.
The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine
Office of Graduate Medical and Dental Education
1924 Alcoa Highway
Knoxville, TN 37920
Phone: (865) -305-9339 or
50 Years of Excellence
An expanded glimpse into our remarkable past, from the early days of medical education on the Tennessee frontier to the harvesting of specific research cells that have made their way from UT Graduate School of Medicine, around the globe and back.