History - Introduction

The University of Chicago, a private institution, founded by John D. Rockefeller in 1892, recently celebrated 100 years of excellence in research and education. The campus is located on a 190-acre site near Lake Michigan, approximately 7 miles south of Chicago's business district. Henry Ives Cobb and Bertram Goodhue were commissioned to emulate in grey limestone the wonderful gothic architectural designs found in England's Oxford and Cambridge universities. The works of more modern architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Eero Saarinen are also prominent.

The medical school opened in the autumn of 1927 with three major clinical departments: medicine, surgery and obstetrics. The clinical faculty were unique for the time being entirely full-time, with no opportunity for private practice. Physician-investigators were recruited from the beginning and, until recent years when federal regulations became more restrictive, research laboratories were situated on every floor of the hospital adjacent to the physicians' offices. This arrangement was to enable physicians to work in their laboratories whenever spare time was available without the need to travel to a remote building.

From the establishment of a hospital and medical school at the University of Chicago to the present day, faculty have been challenged by the ethos of the university and by successive deans not only to practice medicine at its highest levels, but also to advance medical knowledge by engaging in clinical and basic research. The department of radiology has met and continues to meet these expectations. Devices as fundamental to the practice of radiology as the phototimer, automatic collimation, spot-film devices, and automated film-identification systems were developed and first built in the department's machine shops. Technetium-99m, a cornerstone of contemporary nuclear medicine, and collimators designed specifically for its use were first introduced by departmental faculty. Clinical contributions include publications that revolutionized gastrointestinal radiology, the examination of the inner ear, and introduced transbronchial biopsy. Work of Moseley, Rust, and their colleagues focused attention on the reduction of radiation exposure, whereas Rossmann and his successors have made fundamental contributions to improving the radiologic image. Members of the Department of Radiology at the University of Chicago also became leaders in industry, a notable example being William Angus of Philips Medical Systems [8]. These traditions are maintained by the current faculty, both basic scientists and clinicians. Each year, senior medical students at the University of Chicago determine by ballot the 20 or so faculty whose teaching was most distinguished during their years in medical school. The records are incomplete but members of the department's faculty have been nominated for this honor at least 47 times in the last 54 years, and both John Fennessy and Nels Strandjord have been recipients of the McClintock Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Medical School. All of the department's faculty share the commitment to excellence in clinical medicine, research and teaching, that motivated its founder, Paul C. Hodges.