In 1883, the medical department at the University of Colorado at Boulder was established with two faculty and two students. From this humble and somewhat shaky beginning, the University of Colorado (CU) School of Medicine has developed into a nationally recognized institution with more than 730 medical, physician assistant, and physical therapy students; nearly 1,300 full-time faculty; more than $250 million received in grants and contracts; and hundreds of discoveries.
The world's first successful liver transplant was just one of the “firsts” performed by faculty. Other discoveries include the identification of Battered Child Syndrome, the creation of the first 3-D computerized images of the entire human body derived from anatomical sections (the “visible human”), the first successful open-heart surgeries using hypothermia, and the discovery that a naturally occurring protein in the blood prevents the AIDS virus from reproducing and spreading to healthy cells.
By the 1990s, the CU School of Medicine, along with the four other professional schools of the CU Health Sciences Center in Denver, became a regional health care center that served over six million people in seven states. However, it was experiencing growing pains and the campus needed more space to expand its educational, research, and clinical endeavors, but the 46-acre campus was completely surrounded by residences and businesses.
In 1995, the U.S. Army decommissioned the Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado. In an unprecedented model base closure, the federal government conveyed 227 acres of the Fitzsimons site to CU to build a twenty-first century health sciences center, the largest and first of its kind west of the Mississippi River.
Along with educational, research, and clinical development, which includes the University of Colorado Hospital, the Fitzsimons site will include, among other facilities and services, The Children's Hospital (currently located near downtown Denver), the Colorado Bioscience Park Aurora, and the Colorado State Veterans Home. The campus is scheduled for completion in 2007.
The CU School of Medicine is ranked 12th among primary care medical schools and 32nd among the nation's research medical schools, according to the 2003 U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of graduate schools in the country.
For more information about the UCHSC, visit its Web site: 〈http://www.uchsc.edu〉.