Our History

The Evolution of NYU Langone Medical Center – a history of excellence (1841-2011)

NYU Langone Medical Center has a proud history dating back to 1841 and includes initiation of and participation in many of the major events in American medicine in the last two centuries. Today, NYU Langone Medical Center is a world-class patient-centered integrated academic medical center and is one of the nation’s premier centers for excellence in healthcare, biomedical research, and medical education. Read below for more information on the history of NYU Langone Medical Center:


  • 1736

    Almshouse Hospital, the 6-bed precursor to Bellevue Hospital, opens as America’s first public hospital.


    Temporary “fever hospital” opens on the Belle Vue Farm (on the East River near Kips Bay) during yellow fever epidemic.


    Almshouse Hospital moves to Chambers Street to a new 3-story building, financed by a New York City lottery.

  • 1799

    First maternity ward in the United States established at the Almshouse Hospital.


    New Almshouse Hospital opens at Belle Vue Farm with beds for 200 patients under the care of two visiting and two house physicians.


    The school is founded as the Medical Department of the University of the City of New York, and opened in the Stuyvesant Institute at 659 Broadway, with a faculty consisting of Valentine Mott, John W. Draper, Granville Sharp Pattison, Gunning S. Bedford, John Revere, and Martyn Paine.

  • 1847

    New York City’s Almshouse Department reorganized and a permanent Medical Board for Bellevue Hospital appointed.


    New York Academy of Medicine founded by Gunning S. Bedford, Lewis A. Sayre and others.


    The medical school moves to a new building on 14th Street at Third Avenue and Irving Place.

  • 1854

    The New York State Anatomy Act (the “Bone Bill”), legalizing human dissection, passed as a result of lobbying by University of the City of New York Medical Department faculty and Bellevue Hospital physicians.


    Bellevue Hospital Medical College founded.


    First outpatient clinic in the U.S. attached to a hospital and a medical school opens at Bellevue Hospital.

  • 1869

    First hospital-based ambulance service in the world established at Bellevue Hospital.


    Stephen Smith (Bellevue Hospital Medical College faculty) founds the American Public Health Association.


    The medical school moves to a new building on East 26th Street, opposite Bellevue Hospital.

    First emergency pavilion opens at Bellevue Hospital.

  • 1878

    Pathological Laboratory established at Bellevue Hospital Medical College to teach the use of the microscope.


    Bellevue Hospital divisions reorganized, and the University of the City of New York Medical Department, is made responsible for the Second Medical and First Surgical Divisions.


    The Carnegie Laboratory, the first lab in the U.S. to teach and research bacteriology and pathology, opens at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College.

  • 1886

    The medical school is partially destroyed by fire.


     Hermann M. Biggs (faculty) introduces diphtheria toxin-antitoxin, the first use of bacteriological methods to control disease in the U.S.


    NYU Medical College and Bellevue Hospital Medical College consolidate as the University and Bellevue Hospital Medical College of New York University in a new building at 26th Street and First Avenue.

  • 1899

    Walter Reed (MD, Bellevue Hospital Medical College, 1873) discovers mosquito transmission of yellow fever.


    William Crawford Gorgas (MD, Bellevue Hospital Medical College, 1879) controls yellow fever and malaria in Panama, allowing construction of the Panama Canal.


    The first outpatient cardiac clinic in the U.S. founded at Bellevue Hospital by Hubert V. Guile.

  • 1921

     The school makes significant advances in diversity, including the graduation of its first African American, Puerto Rican and female students.


    May Edward Chinn is the first African American woman to receive a medical degree from the University and Bellevue Hospital Medical College.  


    First department of forensic medicine in the U.S. established at NYU, directed by Charles Norris.

  • 1933

    William S. Tillett (MD, University and Bellevue Hospital Medical College of NYU, 1933, and NYU Medical College faculty) studies enzymes involved in blood clotting, leading to the development of streptokinase, used to combat heart attacks.


    Name of the medical school changes to New York University College of Medicine. 


    Otto Loewi (NYU College of Medicine faculty) and Sir Henry Dale awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for the study of the sympathetic nervous system and the discovery of acetylcholine in 1921. 

  • 1941

    The first department of physical medicine and rehabilitation in the United States is established at NYU.


    Colin Munro MacLeod (NYU College of Medicine faculty), Oswald Avery and Maclyn McCarty demonstrate that DNA is the active component responsible for genetic transformation. 


    Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation established by Howard A. Rusk (NYU College of Medicine faculty). 

  • 1948

    NYU Medical Center created through a merger of the New York Post-Graduate Hospital and the New York Skin and Cancer Hospital, founded in 1883 as the first U.S. institution in America devoted entirely to diseases of the skin and cancer.


    Jonas Salk (MD, NYU College of Medicine, 1939) develops the first vaccine against polio.


    Albert B. Sabin (MD, University and Bellevue Hospital Medical College of NYU, 1931) develops a live-virus against polio, which when administered orally, effectively eliminates polio in the U.S. 

  • 1959

    Solomon A. Berson (MD, NYU College of Medicine, 1945) and Rosalyn Sussman Yalow develop the radioimmunoassay (RIA) for which Yalow receives the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1977 and acknowledges the contributions made by Berson in her acceptance speech.


    Severo Ochoa (NYU College of Medicine faculty) receives the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his seminal studies of biochemical genetics and nucleic acids.


    Baruj Benacerraf (NYU School of Medicine faculty) conducts pioneering research on genetic regulation of the immune system, for which he is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1980.

  • 1962

    One of the first MD-PhD, programs in the United States is established at NYU.


    The new University Hospital (now Tisch Hospital) opens.


    The first intensive care unit in a municipal hospital opens at Bellevue. 

  • 1963

    The Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, founded in 1955, moves to NYU Medical Center. The institute revolutionizes the field as the world’s first multidiscipline plastic surgery institute.


    Ruth Nussenzweig (NYU School of Medicine faculty) discovers that the malaria parasite can be inactivated by radiation, advancing the fight against the global scourge.


    New York University becomes the exclusive source of doctors and students at Bellevue Hospital. 

  • 1974

    Lewis Thomas (Dean, NYU School of Medicine, 1966-1969) publishes Lives of a Cell, for which he receives the National Book Award. 


    One of the first designated national cancer centers is established at NYU, later named the Rita and Stanley H. Kaplan Center.


    Saul Krugman (NYU School of Medicine faculty) develops the first vaccine against hepatitis B.

  • 1989

    Frank H. Netter (MD, NYU Medical College, 1931) publishes the Atlas of Human Anatomy


    University Hospital renamed Tisch Hospital after Laurence A. and Preston Robert Tisch and their families give $30 million to New York University and its Medical Center. 


    Jan T. Vilcek (faculty) and Junming Le (adjunct faculty) create a monoclonal antibody against TNF alpha, leading to the development of the anti-inflammatory drug Remicade. 

  • 1993

    Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine opens.


    Eric Kandel (MD, NYU College of Medicine, 1956, and NYU School of Medicine faculty, 1965-1974) receives the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for research in the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons. 


    The NYU Clinical Cancer Center opens, offering comprehensive outpatient cancer services under one roof.

  • 2006

    Hospital for Joint Diseases merges with NYU Medical Center and is renamed the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases.


    The Joan and Joel Smilow Research Center opens, dedicated to translational multidisciplinary research in cancer, cardiovascular biology, neuroscience, dermatology, genetics and infectious diseases.


    Under the leadership of Robert I. Grossman, the School of Medicine and the NYU Hospitals Center (Tisch Hospital, Rusk Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine, and NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases) begin functioning as an integrated academic medical center.

  • 2007

    NYU School of Medicine becomes the largest academic affiliate for New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), as Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center joins Bellevue Hospital Center, Gouverneur Healthcare Services, and Cumberland Diagnostic and Treatment Center as partners.


    NYU Medical Center renamed NYU Langone Medical Center in honor of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Kenneth Langone and his wife Elaine, whose unrestricted $200 million gift is the largest in the Medical Center’s history.


    School of Medicine faculty members publish their research in more than 4,000 peer-reviewed scientific and medical publications. 

  • 2008

    The Tisch Family give an additional gift of $110 million to NYU Langone Medical Center to renovate, renew and refresh its flagship Tisch Hospital. 


    The ambitious Campus Transformation project commences, which will transform the Medical Center through new clinical facilities and the creation of a long-term framework that incorporates the vision of a world-class patient-centered integrated academic medical center. 


    Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller give $100 million to advance new treatments in neuroscience by establishing a state-of-the-art neuroscience institute, funding one of the Medical Center's strategic areas.

  • 2009

    Long-time benefactor Helen L. Kimmel donates $150 million toward construction of a new patient pavilion, to be named in honor of her and her late husband Martin S. Kimmel.


    The Outpatient Surgery Center, located on the corner of 38th Street and First Avenue and specializing in same-day orthopaedic surgery opens, along with the Joel E. Smilow Comprehensive Prostate Cancer Center, which offers state-of-the-art personalized care and education for men with prostate cancer. We completely renovated the surgical intensive care unit and it now offers private rooms and accommodations for families to stay with their loved one around the clock.


    The Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health, a new facility offering a broad range of outpatient services including mammography, cardiology, gastrointestinal, and obstetrics/gynecology, opens on 84th Street and Third Avenue. NYU Langone’s reach also expands into the Hudson Valley, when the Hudson Valley Cardiology Group joins the Medical Center as the newest faculty group practice.