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Pitt's Historic Impact

A First-Class Medical School


“The city, we think, offers ample opportunity for all that is desirable in a first-class medical school.” Dr. John Milton Duff’s words about Pittsburgh in 1886 ring as true today as they did then.

They were quoted in the fall 2011 issue of Pitt Med magazine, which included a richly illustrated 20-page story to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Pitt’s School of Medicine and its forerunner, the Western Pennsylvania Medical College. The story includes a timeline, excerpts from the first lectures delivered at the school, and highlights of the discoveries, breakthroughs, and advancements that Pitt physician-researchers have contributed to the science and practice of medicine. 

The story also describes health care in Pittsburgh during the Revolutionary War; the establishment of the city’s first hospitals and the epidemics they treated; and the Western Pennsylvania Medical College’s first graduating class of 57 students, who each paid $100 per year in tuition and were trained by local physicians who volunteered their teaching services. Dr. Duff was one of those physicians.