School of Medicine/Health Sciences Center

The University of Louisville is one of the oldest municipal universities in the United States. From its inception in 1798 with fewer than 100 students, UofL has grown to more than 23,000 students, and is now Kentucky’s largest university.

Charted in 1833, the medical school admitted its first class in 1837 and was known at the time as the Louisville Medicate Institute. It then merged with 4 other schools in 1908 and adopted its present name.

From its beginning, the School of Medicine has been characterized by an outstanding faculty, including 19th century medical greats Samuel W. Gross, Daniel Drake, and David Yandell. In 1910, Louisville native Abraham Flexner released his now famous report, Medical Education in the U.S. and Canada, which reshaped medical education for much of the 20th century.

The nation’s 1st trauma care facility opened in Louisville in 1911. This facility was the forerunner of the current University Hospital Trauma Center and the Norton Children'’s Hospital Trauma Center, which combined to form the 1st Level I Trauma Center in the state of Kentucky.

The School of Medicine strives to meet the needs of the surrounding metropolitan area and state. The mission is threefold – embracing education, direct health care services, and research.

In the course of an average year at the University’s primary teaching facilities:

  • 160,000 patients are treated,
  • 30,000 people have operations,

And a fascinating variety of patients receive care in the myriad of programs offered by the school’s clinical departments.

Researchers pursue a wide range of activities from basic to clinical research. A large percentage of the grants and contracts awarded to the University of Louisville support School of Medicine research.

The School assumes a major responsibility for education the Commonwealth’s physicians – 42 percent of Kentucky’s physicians are UofL graduates. Surgeons practicing throughout the state of Kentucky are graduates of our training program.

The School of Medicine’s Health Sciences Campus (HSC) is located just east of downtown Louisville, and is easily accessible from all residential areas of the city.

The nucleus of the HSC is the Quadrangle, which opened in 1970. The Quadrangle includes the Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, as well as the auditorium, library, and cafeteria. Nearby, the School of Nursing and the College of Health and Human Services augment the Center’s service and education roles.

New construction in the 1980s included University of Louisville Hospital, a tertiary care facility built by the state and leased to for-profit companies until early 1996. This new teaching hospital, dedicated in 1983, replaced Louisville General Hospital, which dated back to the early 1900s. The administrative wing of the old general hospital has been beautifully restored and as the Irvin and Helen Abell Administration Center houses the administrative offices of the School of Medicine. The Ambulatory Care Building houses academic offices and clinics. The James Graham Brown Cancer Center is state-of-the-art and houses radiation, medical, and surgical oncology clinics and research laboratories.

The University of Louisville Hospital (ULH) has merged with several other hospitals in the state to form the Kentucky One Healthcare System. This move will ensure long-term viability for our medical center. In fact, ULH has noted an increase in revenue because of a rise in insured patients as a result of the thru Affordable Health Care Act.

The HSC continues to grow. Since the 1990’s, the following buildings have been added:

  • Medical Center I
    Academic and research offices
  • D. Baxter Biomedical Research Buildings
    Baxter I & Baxter II house research facilities
  • Cardiovascular Innovation Institute
    Dedicated to advanced research into cardiovascular disease
  • Clinical and Translational Research Building
    State of the art research building including major conference room and large ground floor areas for poster presentations. Research Louisville is held here annually.
  • Two Major Parking Structures
  • UL Outpatient Care Center
    Houses faculty clinics and outpatient surgery and endoscopy center

Current and planned construction on the following new buildings further U of L’s commitment to excellence in medical education, research and health care:

  • Medical and Dental Faculty Office Building
  • Baxter III

The growth of the medical center over the past decade has been impressive. The Hiram C. Polk, Jr., M.D. Department of Surgery is the centerpiece in this commitment to excellence.