The group, led by William Cullen Bryant, the noted poet, abolitionist and editor of the Evening Post, was particularly concerned with the condition of hospitals and medical education. Bryant was zealously devoted to the branch of medicine known as homeopathy. The school opened its doors on the corner of 20th street and Third Avenue as the New York Homeopathic Medical College. Bryant served as the medical school’s first president and held the office of president of the Board of Trustees for 10 years.
Advancing Medical Careers for Women
In 1863, a separate but related institution known as the New York Medical College for Women was founded by Dr. Clemence Sophia Lozier, staffed and supervised by many of the College’s male faculty. In 1867, Dr. Lozier’s institution graduated the first female Canadian physician, Dr. Emily Stowe, who had previously been refused admission to every medical school in her native Canada. Dr. Susan McKinney, the first African-American female physician in New York State and the third in the nation, graduated from New York Medical College for Women in 1870 with the highest grade in the class. When the institution closed in 1918, students transferred to the College. Thus, New York Medical College makes its claim to be among the first medical schools to admit women.
Metropolitan Hospital and Flower and Fifth Avenue Hospitals
In 1875, Metropolitan Hospital opened as a municipal facility on Ward’s Island, staffed largely by the faculty of New York Medical College. Today that relationship is one of the nation’s oldest continuing affiliations between a private medical school and a public hospital.
The Flower Free Surgical Hospital, built by New York Medical College in 1889, was the first teaching hospital in the country to be owned by a medical college. It was constructed at York Avenue and 63rd Street with funds given largely by Congressman Roswell P. Flower, later governor of New York. By 1935, the College had transferred its outpatient activities to the Fifth Avenue Hospital at Fifth Avenue and 106th Street. The College (including Flower Hospital) and Fifth Avenue Hospital merged in 1938 and became New York Medical College, Flower and Fifth Avenue Hospitals.
Nation’s First Minority Scholarship Program
In 1928, the College became the first medical school in the nation to establish a scholarship program specifically for minority students through the efforts of Walter Gray Crump Sr., M.D. An alumnus and voluntary faculty member who participated vigorously in the academic life of the College, Dr. Crump taught surgery, served as a staff surgeon at other hospitals, was a founder of the New York Medical College for Women, was a trustee of Tuskegee Institute and Howard University and assumed a leading role in the advancement of minority education and minority affairs.
Growth of Graduate Education
The College’s Certificate of Incorporation was amended in 1938 to include authority to award graduate degrees in addition to the M.D., specifically, a master of science in medicine, a doctorate in medical science and a doctorate in public health. College archives, however, record scheduling of advanced courses and research activity as early as 1910 and offerings of graduate courses in surgery and medicine to residents in the 1920s. In 1963, the Graduate School of Medical Sciences was founded, establishing for the first time graduate education within a school separate from the medical curriculum. The Board of Trustees renamed the school the Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences in 1969.
The Move to Westchester County
The advent of new technologies in the ’60s and ’70s made it increasingly expensive to operate Flower and Fifth Avenue Hospitals. In addition, the College was subsidizing faculty salaries to supplement private practice income. Around the mid-1960s, New York Medical College began to consider relocating its campus. After reviewing several options, the Board of Trustees voted to accept a proposal from Westchester County to apply for a federal grant that would fund nearly half the expense of creating a new medical center on the grounds of the existing Grasslands Hospital. College administration moved to the Valhalla campus in August of 1971 and in 1972 the new Basic Sciences Building was open.
The Relationship with the Archdiocese of New York
At this critical time in the College’s history, the Board of Trustees attempted to interest the Archdiocese of New York in College affairs. In 1978, Terence Cardinal Cooke, Archbishop of New York, agreed to foster a relationship. He perceived that affiliation with a medical college would be important to the continued excellence of an extensive Catholic hospital system. The Archdiocese helped the College restructure its debt on more favorable terms, strengthened the Board of Trustees and added many Catholic hospitals to the College’s affiliations. It also assumed operation of Flower and Fifth Avenue Hospitals, converting the facility into a specialty hospital serving the developmentally disabled. (It is presently known as Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Center.) In 1980, intercession by the Archdiocese was critical in preventing the city from closing Metropolitan Hospital, the College’s oldest affiliation.
Decade of Achievement
During the “Decade of Achievement” (1978-1988), the size and stature of faculty, quality and amount of funded research, caliber of students and improvements in medical care afforded to people in communities served by the College increased significantly. Hospital affiliations grew to 34 in number, affording medical students a wide range of clinical training opportunities. National Institutes of Health research grant and contract awards more than doubled; sponsored programs (research, training and service) and New York State appropriations grew to a record level of $23 million. The Graduate School of Health Sciences now known as the School of Health Sciences and Practice (SHSP) was founded in 1980 to respond to the growing regional and national need for healthcare professionals.
The College’s progress, distinguished by a marked increase in the academic quality of the student body, continued. In 1992 the College launched a strategic planning initiative. For almost three years, the academic community engaged in intensive committee meetings, retreats, focus groups and surveys intended to clarify the institution’s strategic vision and direction. The resulting strategic plan, approved by the Board of Trustees, served as the foundation for the College’s reengineering efforts and is a valued reference document for program planning and resource allocation. Early in the decade, the Board of Trustees recognized that the nation’s demand for healthcare professionals would soon exceed supply and began to focus attention on the School of Health Sciences and Practice (then, the School of Public Health). The College charged the dean with responsibility for revitalizing the School and expanding program offerings. Within a few years, enrollment increased by more than 50 percent and currently exceeds 600 students. In 1997, the School’s new physical therapy program was accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Subsequently, a master of science program in speech-language pathology began in 1999.
Leading the nation in response to a shortage of primary care physicians, the School of Medicine developed a program with the goal of doubling the number of medical school graduates who, after completing their residencies, enter generalist practices. The program, known as the generalist physician initiative, was awarded major funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, one of only 14 nationwide so designated. One innovative aspect of the generalist physician initiative, offered in conjunction with academic health center partner Saint Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center of New York, affords eligible fourth-year medical students an opportunity to begin a residency program in Internal Medicine and thereby complete training in six years rather than the traditional seven.
By the middle of the 1990's, the College had secured its first accreditation by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, concurrent with the School of Medicine’s re-accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. This was followed a few years later with Accreditation as a School of Public Health. A longtime student concern – on-campus housing – was addressed with the completion of new construction to accommodate an additional 300 students. A renovation of a campus building into a state-of the-art Learning Center comprising classrooms, a computer laboratory and small group study rooms was also completed.
As the College strengthened, the need for a chief academic officer became more apparent. In 1995, the College appointed a provost to serve in this capacity.
The School of Medicine recorded large research grants during this period for the study of endothelial cells, for the study of cellular immune reactions significant in cancer, for studies on hypertension and hormones relevant to the regulation of blood pressure, for research in cardiovascular and renal disease, the neurosciences, and infectious diseases. In 2001, the College completed construction of a new $24 million Medical Education Center and renovation of the Basic Sciences Building, the hub of campus research activity.
The Change in Sponsor and the New Relationship with Touro College and University System
As a result of several years of operating deficits and the increasing recognition that as a freestanding medical institution there was a need for a university or health system sponsor to achieve positive synergies in education and medical research, the College actively sought a sponsor able to make a significant investment in the institution and actively offer expanded educational opportunities. The Archdiocese of New York, the sponsor of the College since 1978, had moved its health care ministry away from acute care hospitals, and as a result of this change in Archdiocesan mission, joined the College in seeking a nonprofit sponsor to take its place in fostering NYMC’s growth and prosperity.
After engaging in extensive negotiations and due diligence, the Archdiocese of New York and Touro College reached an agreement in late December 2009 for Touro to replace the Archdiocese as the sponsor of New York Medical College. The transaction was completed in mid-May 2011. According to the terms of the transaction agreement, the College will continue to operate as a separate institution, with the authority to appoint the College’s Board of Trustees being transferred from the Archdiocese to a new entity organized by Touro (NYMC, LLC).
Touro College is a Jewish-sponsored independent institution of higher and professional education. The College was established primarily to both enrich the Jewish heritage, and serve the larger American community in the spirit of Jewish values and the tradition of tikkun olam, enhancing the world in which we live.
Touro College in New York is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the United States Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
This accreditation status covers Touro College and its branch campuses, locations and instructional sites in the New York area, as well as branch campuses and programs in Berlin, Jerusalem, Moscow, and Florida.
Touro University of California, Touro University of Nevada, Touro College Los Angeles, and Touro University Worldwide (an online higher educational school) are also part of the Touro college and university system. These institutions are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), Middle States’ West Coast counterpart.
Touro College was originally chartered by the Board of Regents of the State of New York in June 1970. Under the leadership of its founding president, Dr. Bernard Lander, the College opened with a class of 35 Liberal Arts and Sciences students in 1971. Since the school has grown to nearly 18,000 students in 29 campuses around the United States and the world. Touro has long had a focus on healthcare education, and today it has over 3,000 students in its four schools of osteopathic medicine, two schools of pharmacy, two schools of nursing, and several schools in the allied sciences. Dr. Lander passed away in 2010 at the age of 94. He has been succeeded by Alan Kadish, M.D., a world renowned researcher in cardiovascular and internal medicine.