Feinberg School of Medicine

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Northwestern University
Feinberg School of Medicine

Established 1859
Type Private
Endowment US$1.2 Billion
Dean J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD
Faculty 3,985
Students 696
Location Chicago, Illinois, USA
Campus Urban
Website www.medschool.northwestern.edu

The Feinberg School of Medicine is one of Northwestern University's 11 schools and colleges. It is a prestigious American medical school located in the Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, situated near Lake Michigan and the Magnificent Mile.


Originally founded as the Medical Department of Lind University in 1859 and renamed the Chicago Medical College in 1863, the school affiliated with Northwestern in 1870. In 1891, the medical school became an administrative department of the university. It had occupied buildings on the near south side of Chicago from 1870 until the Ward Building was constructed downtown.

Northwestern University Medical School was renamed the Feinberg School of Medicine in 2002, reflecting a $75 million donation. It is said that Reuben Feinberg started to donate to the University after being hospitalized at Northwestern Memorial Hospital for a heart attack. The first donation, in 1988, was for $17 million to establish the Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute. A $10 million donation was subsequently sent in 1996 to establish the Frances Evelyn Feinberg Clinical Neurosciences Institute.

File:Ward Building 060527.jpg
The Ward Building at the Feinberg School of Medicine


The Feinberg School of Medicine is part of the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University, one of the nation's leading academic medical centers focused on research, education, and clinical services. Other McGaw members are Children's Memorial Hospital, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and Jesse Brown VA Medical Center (formerly VA Chicago Health Care System). Medical students and residents receive their clinical training at these hospitals, and nearly all the attending staff members have faculty appointments at the Feinberg School of Medicine.

The medical school's primary teaching hospital is Northwestern Memorial Hospital, a 2.2 million square foot modern hospital that was completed in 1999. The Feinberg Pavilion, the inpatient tower, partially reflects a $10 million donation from Feinberg. Prior to this $600 million addition to the Chicago skyline, the teaching hospitals were built in 1865. Films such as While You Were Sleeping were shot in the old Northwestern hospitals; the old, pictureless ID badges of Northwestern Memorial are clearly visible in the film.

The Feinberg School of Medicine is home to nearly 700 medical students. The class of students graduating in 2009 will be the 150th graduating class. A significant minority of students matriculate from the Honors Program in Medical Education, a seven-year combined undergraduate and medical school program.

In 1990, the Integrated Graduate Program (IGP) was established as an umbrella program for PhDs in both the basic science and clinical departments at the Feinberg School of Medicine. The program was created to provide interdisciplinary training in modern biomedical sciences. Students may choose to study within a variety of specializations such as cancer biology, pathology, and neurobiology.

The Honors Program in Medical Education is geared toward high school seniors who have a strong desire to go into medicine. Typically, out of over 2,000 yearly applications, around 150-200 students are invited for an interview, and ultimately 40-50 students are granted admission. To reflect the diversity of undergraduate studies, three tracks are offered: one through the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, another through the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the final one through the School of Communication.[1] Three years are spent at the undergraduate campus of Northwestern University, before matriculating to the Medical School.


The first two years of the medical school curriculum is based on an organ-system approach; instead of taking traditional classes such as pharmacology or biochemistry, the students learn by an organ system, such as the gastrointestinal system, which would include relevant classes in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, and histology. The latter two years are structured like that of most US medical schools. The third year consists of rotations through Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Surgery, and Primary Care, as well as shorter rotations through specialty clinics such as Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology, Anesthesiology, and Urology. The fourth year typically is composed of rotations in Emergency Medicine, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, a Subinternship in Internal Medicine or Pediatrics, and various electives.

Feinberg also offers dual degree programs, which combine the M.D. degree with a Master of Public Health or a Master of Arts in Medical Humanities and Bioethics. Students electing to pursue the additional degrees enroll in evening classes and graduate with both degrees after four years.


The Feinberg School consistently ranks among the nation's top medical schools, and is currently ranked 21st among American medical research schools by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, the school is nationally ranked 13th among residency directors and 12th in student selectivity, reflecting an admissions acceptance rate of 6.5% of applicants.

Northwestern, and the Feinberg School of Medicine in particular, is known for its indifference to its U.S. News & World Report rankings, focusing less on obtaining favorable statistics and more on enhancing the educational and clinical training experience. Regardless of this, the rankings are widely reported and used. When alumni and others ask about the rankings, former Dean Lewis Landsberg, MD, frequently comments, "We ignore them at our peril."

Recent Growth

Northwestern University has a long-standing reputation for excellence in medical education, with a significant number of graduates holding leadership positions in academic medicine throughout the United States. Recent changes have further improved the caliber of biomedical research and clinical training at the Feinberg School of Medicine, as since 2000, research space has grown 88 percent and education space 67 percent. The number of full-time faculty has also grown to over 1500, reflecting a 20% increase since 2000. The medical school's endowment topped $1 billion in 2005.

Famous alumni

Daniel Hale Williams, Class of 1883: Performed the first successful American open heart surgery; the only black charter member of the American College of Surgeons

Charles Horace Mayo, Class of 1888: Founder of Mayo Clinic

Robert F. Furchgott, Class of 1940: 1998 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of EDRF

Cheddi Jagan, Class of 1946: President of Guyana from 1992-1997

Debi Thomas, Class of 1997: 1988 Olympic Figure Skating Bronze Medalist and orthopedic surgeon

Kermit E Krantz, Class of 1948: Distinguished University Professor of Medicine University of Kansas. Among others, developed the Marshall-Marchetti-Krantz (MMK) and invented the expandable tampon.


  1. Flair MD. Honors program in medical education at Northwestern University. J Med Educ. 1969 Dec;44(12):1127-31.

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