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 intellectual disabilities 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, 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.
In 2008, the College of Medicine embarked on a major expansion program that effectively doubled the size of its campus. Central to that expansion, and a critical part of Einstein’s campus master plan, was the opening of the Michael F. Price Center for Genetic and Translational Medicine/Harold and Muriel Block Research Pavilion, a 223,000 square-foot biomedical research building that houses 40 laboratories. These state-of-the-art facilities bring together world-class scientists and the most advanced technology to facilitate the translation of discoveries at the molecular level to the treatment, cure and prevention of disease.
In 2009, the College of Medicine leased Van Etten from Jacobi/Bronx Municipal Medical Center for 99 years. Einstein soon began transforming the 350,000-square-foot former tuberculosis sanatorium. It now houses the Ruth L. Gottesman Clinical Skills Center, dozens of wet and dry labs, and several of Einstein’s aging research programs, including the Einstein Aging Study, the Longevity Genes Project and Central Control of Mobility in Aging study.
In 2013, the D. Samuel Gottesman Library, located in the Forchheimer Building, underwent a transformation. The lower stacks were turned into a modern, large-group learning studio, and the upper stacks were converted into intimate, small-group learning studios conducive to collaborative, project-based activities. Both areas are designed to foster a dynamic educational experience rooted in team-based learning.
Renovations have taken place in numerous buildings around campus, including the newly renamed Harold and Muriel Block Building, the Irwin S. and Sylvia Chanin Institute for Cancer Research, the Ullmann Research Center for Health Sciences, and the Kennedy Building.
In September 2015, Einstein became a part of Montefiore. As we enter what will surely be a golden age of medicine, the College of Medicine remains steadfast in its core missions: educating students to become caring, curing physicians and world-class scientists, and fostering pioneering programs in biomedical and translational research that will lead to superb patient care. We continue to be guided by the high academic and humanistic values exemplified by our namesake and by the shared Einstein-Montefiore mission of the pursuit of social justice in meeting the healthcare needs of all individuals.