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AMERICA’S OLDEST PUBLIC MEDICAL SCHOOL ANNOUNCES YEAR-LONG BICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

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 Deans past and present cut into a cake in the shape of Davidge Hall to kick off the bicentennial celebrations.
 

Officials at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore have announced plans for a year-long celebration in recognition of the school’s 200 years of medical education, research, clinical care and community service. Events will begin in January 2007 to celebrate the School of Medicine’s “Enduring Power of Leadership.”

When the University of Maryland School of Medicine was founded in 1807, yellow fever plagued Baltimore’s harbor and the kitchen knife was a common surgical instrument. Today, the School of Medicine is a top-tier academic medical institution known for its innovative curriculum and its research enterprise. It also educates and trains more than half of Maryland’s practicing physicians and is a strong economic force in the state.

Plans for the bicentennial were outlined today at a news conference by E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., who in September became the school’s 30th dean. “It is an honor to preside over events surrounding this renowned medical school,” said Dr. Reece, who is also vice president of medical affairs for the University of Maryland.

“Many people in Maryland and the United States are not aware that ours is the oldest public medical school in the nation, and that only four other medical schools in the United States are older," Reece added. "We want everyone in the state to feel a sense of pride about the outstanding physicians and allied health professionals we train, the groundbreaking research we perform, the clinical care our physicians provide and the hundreds of hours of community outreach provided by our faculty, staff and students."

Guests at the news conference included past deans Dr. John Murray Dennis and Dr. Donald E. Wilson, as well as a surprise appearance from the school's very first dean, John Beale Davidge (played by Alan Wade). "Dr. Davidge" was amazed at the accomplishments that have taken place at his school since its inception 200 years ago. Together the deans kicked off the bicentennial celebrations by cutting into a cake in the shape of Davidge Hall that had been created by Charm City Cakes' Duff Goldman, star of the Food Network's 'Ace of Cakes' (See photos from the bicentennial kickoff).

The School of Medicine has 2,600 faculty members and 1,350 full-time staff. More than 1,200 students are studying to become physicians, biomedical researchers, physical therapists, geneticists and public health specialists. Current research awards exceed $350 million, and the School of Medicine is ranked 9th among the 76 public medical schools in the United States in total research funding, with $164 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health. Private sources of funding include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

“Our events offer something for everyone, including a special version of our popular Mini-Med School program just for children,” says Jennifer B. Litchman, M.A., assistant dean for public affairs. “We will celebrate our accomplishments with pride, and we invite everyone to celebrate with us.”

Bicentennial events will include:

• A breakfast for the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis – January 30
• Women in Medicine display at the Health Sciences/Human Services Library on the campus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore – February
• Free public lecture on diabetes featuring Dr. Michael Bliss of the University of Toronto, Dr. James Shapiro of the University of Alberta, and singer Patti LaBelle at the Hippodrome Theatre – February 26
• Free town hall meeting at the Hippodrome Theatre on how average people can make above-average contributions to their communities. Former Baltimore Orioles star Cal Ripken, Jr. and other special guests will speak – April 26
• Student Community Service Day – April 27
• Graduation of the 198th class of the School of Medicine – May 18
• Black-tie gala with a special performance by comedian Dennis Miller at the Baltimore Convention Center – May 18
• Free Mini-Med School program for children – August
• 7th annual free Mini-Med School for adults – September/October
• Free public lecture on central nervous system disorders with Dr. Nancy Wexler of Columbia University, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and other special guests at the Hippodrome Theatre – September 24
• Live broadcast of “A Prairie Home Companion” on public radio with Garrison Keillor at the Hippodrome Theatre – October 13

For more information on the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s bicentennial celebration, please call the bicentennial hotline at (410) 706-2007 or visit www.sombicentennial.umaryland.edu.