A Century of Medical Excellence
The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine was founded as the Western Pennsylvania Medical College in 1886. For more than one hundred years before the medical school came into being, Pittsburgh had little medical care, despite recurring epidemics and frequent industrial accidents.
Mission Statement of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
The mission of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is to improve the health and well-being of individuals and populations through cutting-edge biomedical research, innovative educational programs in medicine and biomedical science, and leadership in academic medicine. We strive to implement this mission with the highest professional and ethical standards, in a culture of diversity and inclusiveness, and in an environment that enables all students, faculty, and staff to develop to their fullest potential.
Message from the Dean
We all know excellence when we see it—or realize when we don't—but how can excellence be defined in terms of investigating today's diseases and educating tomorrow's physicians?
At the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and indeed at each of its health sciences schools, where excellence is an everyday pursuit (and a goal that is almost always attained), I believe that creativity, compassion, and leadership are three characteristics of excellence that define it best.
Why? Our mission, first and foremost, is to educate the finest clinicians and investigators; and to be successful in either—or, in some cases, both—of these ventures requires nothing less than outstanding creativity, compassion, and leadership.
One needs to be creative as a clinician because, despite all of the advances of modern medicine, each patient is unique, and diagnoses are not always obvious. One needs to be creative as an investigator because research, by its very nature, involves a quest for that which is unknown and, if discovered, constitutes the next piece of the vast, intricate puzzle we call life.
Compassion is a core principle of all the healing professions and should be the constant “north star” for any health care provider. One will be seeing people who are sick, at their most vulnerable, most freighted and dependent state. In that encounter, beyond any specific prescribed treatments for their illnesses, compassion is the most powerful healing act we can perform.
One needs leadership skills if one hopes to address the extremely complicated problems that we face in the delivery and financing of our nation's health care. As a leader, one needs to embody the principles of justice and fairness and constantly strive to reduce health disparities in our society. Clearly, on this matter in particular, not to be part of the solution is to be part of the problem, which makes good leadership skills essential.
Creativity, compassion, and leadership are the qualities that we seek most in prospective students as well as in our faculty, our administrators, and everyone else who has a hand in making our medical school what it is today.
Evidence of our success in fostering creativity, compassion, and leadership should be evident throughout this website, which I believe reflects just some of the many ways in which these qualities have become ingrained in the culture of our institution and have come to define its excellence.
Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD
Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences
John and Gertrude Petersen Dean
School of Medicine
The University of Pittsburgh, including the School of Medicine, is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. In addition, the School of Medicine is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education of the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association and the Executive Council of the Association of American Medical Colleges.
The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine builds upon the strong foundation of past leaders.
As President Barack Obama responded when asked what surprised him as he campaigned for the presidency, "I've been struck by how many beautiful places there are in the country that you don't necessarily think of as beautiful. Pittsburgh, for example, is a really handsome town with the rivers and the hills."