Defining Medicine, Changing Lives

When the United States Congress established the George Washington University in 1821, it fulfilled President George Washington’s vision of an institution located in the nation’s capital dedicated to educating and preparing future leaders. Three years later, GW founded the first medical school in the District of Columbia, now the eleventh oldest in the nation.

Today, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) is among the top academic medical centers in the United States. Our academic programs receive thousands of applications a year. Our students are accomplished, dedicated and motivated. They leave as well-trained, highly skilled physicians and health care professionals with a deep sense of duty and compassion. They are committed to making a difference in the lives of their patients, in their local and global communities, and in their professions.

SMHS is at the intersection of a unique location and extraordinary times. Our placement in the heart of Washington, D.C. is inseparable from our identity. We are mere blocks away from institutions that shape policies across the world. Our service to the District of Columbia is a rich part of our heritage. U.S. presidents and world leaders have come to GW physicians for medical care, and GW physicians saved the life of President Ronald Reagan following a near-fatal assassination attempt in 1981. At the opposite end of the socioeconomic spectrum, SMHS serves as a bastion of support for the city’s most vulnerable, underserved populations.

At this special crossroad in history, the role of medical institutions will be of paramount importance. SMHS will need to respond to the medical and health issues of today and the coming decades: monumental changes in health care policy, an aging population, and the need to deliver better care at a lower cost. Daunting though these challenges may seem, SMHS is poised to seize these opportunities and build stunning successes.

We are a medical and health sciences school with ambitious plans. To realize our goals of bringing the school into a new era of medicine, SMHS needs to expand its financial resources significantly. We invite you to learn more about this exciting effort and discover how we are changing lives.


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