University of Pennsylvania Health System

History of Penn Medicine

A leader in medicine for more than 240 years, Penn opened its School of Medicine, the nation's first, in 1765. The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania was established in 1874 as the nation's first teaching hospital.

Since its founding days, Penn has expanded medical frontiers by creating some of the nation's earliest programs in areas ranging from dermatology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology and radiology, to the Philadelphia region's only program to transplantation of five major organs.

Over the past 30 years, Penn physicians and scientists have participated in many important discoveries, including:

  • The first general vaccine against pneumonia.
  • The introduction of total intravenous feeding.
  • The development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other imaging technologies.
  • The discovery of the Philadelphia chromosome, which revolutionized cancer research by making the connection between genetic abnormalities and cancer.

Penn continues to make medical advances that help people live longer, healthier lives. Penn Medicine is committed to caring for patients with respect and compassion while forging the medical discoveries that will lead its team through the 21st century.

See also: History of Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital.