As early as 1945, Yeshiva University President Dr. Samuel Belkin envisioned the creation of a new medical school. Encouraged by influential public figures, he persuaded the Board of Trustees to initiate discussions with the New York State Board of Regents to amend the University’s charter to include the granting of the degree of Doctor of Medicine, discussions that were successfully completed on December 15, 1950. In June, 1951, Dr. Belkin and New York City Mayor Vincent Impellitteri entered into an agreement whereby the professional care of all patients in the 1,400-bed Bronx Municipal Hospital Center then under construction would be the responsibility of the faculty of the College of Medicine. On March 15, 1953, the day following his 74th birthday, Professor Albert Einstein formally agreed to permit his name to be used for the first medical school to be built in New York City since 1897.
Ground was broken for the first building, now known as the Leo Forchheimer Medical Sciences Building, in October, 1953. Its partial completion was effected in time to welcome the first class of 53 men and three women medical students and about 75 faculty members on September 12, 1955. Entering class size was progressively increased to its present number of 180 students. The total student body now numbers well over 800, including postgraduates attending the Sue Golding Graduate Division of Medical Sciences and the Belfer Institute for Advanced Biomedical Studies.
To accommodate the expanding research programs of the College of Medicine the Ullmann Research Center for Health Sciences was completed in 1964. More efficient and effective coordination of studies into mental retardation was greatly facilitated by the construction in 1970 of the Rose F. Kennedy Center for Research in Mental Retardation and Human Development on the campus of the Bronx Municipal Hospital Center. The Arthur B. and Diane Belfer Educational Center for Health Sciences, which opened in 1972, provided additional laboratories and classrooms for basic science instruction as well as the 260-seat Riklis Auditorium. The Irwin B. and Sylvia Chanin Institute for Cancer Research, devoted exclusively to basic investigations into malignant processes, was opened in 1978. Further enlarging the research capabilities of the College of Medicine, the Samuel H. and Rachel Golding Building, a 10-story biomedical research facility, opened in 1996.
From the beginning, it has been the University’s policy that there be no discrimination in regard to race, religion, creed, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran or disabled veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, or citizenship status. In recent years, women have comprised over 50 percent of each entering class. Favorable consideration has also been given to older individuals who have achieved success in academic, artistic, service-oriented, or other professional careers.
Sue Golding Graduate Division of Medical Sciences:
The Sue Golding Graduate Division, established in 1957, provides advanced study and research training in the biomedical sciences leading to the Ph.D. degree. In 1964, the Medical Scientist Training Program, leading to both the M.D. and Ph.D. degrees, was added.
The Graduate Division includes 10 Ph.D. degree-granting departments:
Anatomy and Structural Biology,Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Developmental and Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Immunology, Molecular Genetics, Molecular Pharmacology, Neuroscience, Pathology, and Physiology and Biophysics.
Belfer Institute for Advanced Biomedical Studies:
In 1978, the College established the Belfer Institute for Advanced Biomedical Studies to provide an overall entity for integration and coordination of postdoctoral research and training grant programs in basic and clinical biomedical sciences.