Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 67.djvu/41

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



WHILE the new building plant of the Harvard Medical School is approaching completion it seems a fitting time to give a brief account of the work of the school and its equipment. Harvard was the second of the American colleges to establish a school of medicine. The study of medicine in Harvard dates from the close of the war of the American Revolution, when in the years 1782 and 1783 three professorships of medicine were founded; and the first degree, that of M.B. (bachelor of medicine), was conferred in 1788. It was not until 1811 that the degree of M.D. began to be given. Up to 1810 the instruction was given in Cambridge, at which date the school was transferred to Boston, where in 1815 the first medical school building was erected. The second building that was occupied was completed in 1883.

The theory of medicine has of course been taught from the beginning of the Harvard Medical School and eminent men have lectured to its students, but outside hospital and clinic facilities had to be sought. In the first Harvard Medical School building there was no laboratory at all.

With the removal in 1883 to the buildings at present occupied by the school, limited laboratory facilities were provided, in which very important investigations have been conducted. The hospital and clinical service is still, however, so dependent on outside cooperation that this work has been much hampered.

For entrance into the school a college degree is required, or in exceptional cases its equivalent, and since 1892 a four years' course has had to be pursued in order to obtain the degree of doctor of medicine.

The present policy of the school is to so arrange the studies that the student can give his time fixedly for lengthy periods to one subject or group of subjects. Thus anatomy and histology are given the first half of the first year, and physiology and physiological and pathological chemistry during the second half. In the second year pathology and bacteriology are studied during the first half year. It has been the rule to lay down a rigidly required course, throughout. in the study of medicine, but beginning in the fall of the present year the fourth year work will be elected in order to give the student an opportunity to specialize in the department of medicine that he proposes to adopt for his practise.