The University Record, February 21, 2000

JAMA devotes entire issue to U-M medical research and history

By Kara Gavin
Health System Public Relations

Today’s Medical School seems a long way off from the place one early medical student excitedly wrote his mother about—saying a classmate had gone ‘out west’ and brought back two dead gunmen for dissection. Details about the School’s history are contained in an article by Howard Markel, ‘An Example Worthy of Imitation: The University of Michigan Medical School,’ that is included in the JAMA issue. The seemingly bizarre acquisition of cadavers for medical students to dissect wasn’t really that strange for a 19th-century medical school, Markel writes, quoting historian Thomas N. Bonner: ‘No school of this era was without its “horror stories” of nightly raids on cemeteries, a provoked and outraged citizenry and violent attacks on the offending parties.’ Photo courtesy Bentley Historical Library and the Historical Center for the Health Sciences
For only the eighth time in its history, an entire issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association is devoted this week to research papers and other contributions from a single medical institution: the University of Michigan.

The edition marks the 150th anniversary of the Medical School, one of the nation’s oldest and most recognized leaders in medical education, medical research and patient care.

Six original scientific articles, reviews of four books, a commentary, a historical essay and an editorial on shaping the future of academic medicine, all with strong U-M connections, are included in the special issue.

The contributions span the range of U-M medicine, from evidence-based findings on heart disease treatments and screening for diabetic eye disease to cutting-edge life support technology and examinations of medical practice and history.

JAMA editor Catherine DeAngelis notes: “We are delighted to produce this sesquicentennial commemorative issue of JAMA devoted to the University of Michigan because it is such a special institution in the history of American medicine.”

Only seven American medical institutions have received similar recognition from JAMA in the past. The journal has published centennial celebration issues for medical schools at Tufts University, Creighton University, the University of Texas at Galveston, Johns Hopkins University, and Washington University, as well as bicentennial issues for the medical schools at Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania. Links for all articles are online at