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UC Irvine Health School of Medicine Historical Timeline

University of California, Irvine is home to a medical school rich in history and tradition that spans more than 100 years. The oldest continually operating medical school in the Los Angeles area, the School of Medicine was founded in 1896 by A.C. Moore, one of the first graduates of osteopathic medicine, and B.W. Scheurer, a medical doctor with German and American training.


Pacific Sanitarium and School of Osteopathic Medicine, what is known today as the UC Irvine Health School of Medicine, is founded in Anaheim, Calif. The first class is held in a former South Pasadena hotel with only 12 students. Shortly after, the school moves to Los Angeles and becomes the Pacific College of Osteopathy.

Pacific Sanitorium
The Pacific Sanitorium and School of Osteopathy chartered in Anaheim, California


Pacific Sanitarium and School of Osteopathic Medicine moves across from the Los Angeles County Hospital and becomes the Pacific College of Osteopathy. After increasing its curriculum from two to three years, the school begins awarding the Doctor of Science of Osteopathy (DO).


The Pacific College of Osteopathy merges with the Los Angeles College of Osteopathy and forms the College of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons. The curriculum increases to four years.


The College of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons becomes the only medical school in Los Angeles after the University of Southern California (USC) School of Medicine closes its doors. Although USC would reopen its medical school in 1928, its closure makes the school the oldest continually operating medical school in the Los Angeles area.


The College of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons continues to expand its clinical and educational facilities and programs. By 1936, the school starts a graduate program that offers masters and doctoral degrees, including PhDs.


The University of California Board of Regents vote to create three new campuses. After a lengthy search, Irvine Ranch was selected as a campus site.


The College of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons becomes the California College of Medicine. In 1962, Proposition 22 passes enabling DOs to fall under jurisdiction of the California Board of Medical Examiners. As a result, members of the class of 1962 are granted MD degrees. Prior graduates of the school have their certificates of osteopathic medicine converted to MD degrees.
Grace Bell, professor of biochemistry, is the first individual to receive a MD degree from the school on March 7, 1962, and becomes the first dean of the California College of Medicine. In addition, she becomes one of the few women in history to be distinguished as a dean of both an osteopathic and an allopathic medical school.


University of California, Irvine campus is dedicated and opened to students. UC Regents search for a medical school for its newest campus.


UC Irvine acquires the School of Medicine. Dr. Warren Bostick is named the first dean of the medical school. The school begins to move from Los Angeles to the campus in Irvine. The new school is relocated on a 122-acre site, on the western edge of the UC Irvine campus.


UC Irvine researchers develop BioBrane, a synthetic skin that serves as temporary skin substitute for burns.


Dr. Stanley van den Noort succeeds Dr. Warren Bostick as the dean.


Plans are shelved to develop an on-campus hospital in favor of purchasing Orange County Medical Center and is renamed UC Irvine Medical Center. The medical center is located approximately 12 miles from UC Irvine in the City of Orange.


The Medical Sciences Building is completed. The four-story, six-unit building provides space for research laboratories, teaching facilities and administrative offices for several School of Medicine departments.


Medical group is formed when the university contracted with its first HMO insurance for its employees. Dr. Kathryn Larsen serves as medical director from 1982-2007.


Dr. Gerald Weinstein succeeds Dr. Stanley van der Noort as acting dean and develops the Medical Plaza (now called Gottschalk Medical Plaza) on the UC Irvine campus. The 40,000-square-foot outpatient facility provides comprehensive clinical care services.


Dr. Ted Quilligan is named dean and vice chancellor of health sciences and begins reorganizing the practice plan, while Dr. Philip DiSaia develops a program that would allow faculty to practice tertiary care medicine.

Joan Irvine Smith Hall is built. The building formerly housed the corporate headquarters of the Nelson Research and Development Company (a private pharmaceutical firm). The association between UC Irvine and Nelson represented the first cooperative university/industry venture of its kind within the UC system. Also known as Irvine Hall, the building houses the administrative offices of the dean of the School of Medicine.

The Beckman Laser Institute opens and is one of the first facilities in the world in which laser plays a major role in both clinical treatment and basic research.

The FDA approves a revolutionary brain cancer therapy, called adoptive immunotherapy, developed by Drs. G. Morris Granger and Sudhir Gupta.


Dr. Walter Henry succeeds Dr. Quilligan as dean and begins to launch the idea of developing a research campus for the medical school.

The University of California, Irvine establishes a university-based cancer center. Quickly recognized for its achievements in research and treatment, the UCI Cancer Center is admitted to the Association of American Cancer Institutes the following year.


Hitachi Chemical Research Center is built. The facility is devoted to basic research in the fields of neurological disorders, diagnostic systems and reagents and industrial bioreactors.


The medical group changes its name to the Clinical Practice Group (CPG). CPG begins contracting with other health plans and accepting patients in the community into the medical group. Dr. Thomas C. Cesario serves as president of the CPG from 1993-1994. Dr. Philip DiSaia is president of the CPG from 1994-2005.

UC Irvine Neuropsychiatric Center Opens

Dr. Thomas Cesario becomes dean.

J. Edward Berk/Alumni Study Center is completed.  As part of the expansion of the J. Edward Berk/Alumni Study Center, the school opens a state-of-the-art student training center to teach medical students clinical skills in a setting that mimics an actual clinical environment.

The UCI Cancer Center earns coveted distinction as a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.


The first stage of UC Irvine’s Biomedical Research Center (BMRC), the William J. Gillespie Neuroscience Research Facility, breaks ground. The BMRC is a multi-phased expansion of UC Irvine's public/private cooperative research program. The center's overall mission is to create a dynamic environment in which basic science research, clinical study and product development lead to the discovery of causes and treatments for a variety of diseases. UC Irvine’s vision for the BMRC is a close collaboration between basic science, clinical study and industry.


CPG changes its name to UCI Medical Group.


Gillespie Neurosciences Research Facility
Gillespie Neurosciences Research Facility 

William J. Gillespie Neuroscience Research Facility is completed. The 79,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility is home to the Institute for Brain Imaging & Dementia and the Reeve-Irvine Research Center.

The university cancer center is award the National Cancer Institute's highest designation as a comprenesive cancer cente. It is renamed in honor of the Chao family as the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center (CFCCC), operating fully integrated research, prevention, diagnostic, treatment, and rehabilitation programs.


Sprague Hall is built. The facility houses laboratories for researchers dedicated to revealing genetic links to the causes of cancer. In addition, researchers studying other areas of science, from the basic molecular mechanisms of genes to preventing and treating various kinds of cancers, are based in Sprague Hall.


UC Irvine leads the first public health study exploring the link between air pollution and the severity of heart disease.

UC Irvine researchers are the first to identify that early beta amyloid accumulation within neurons is the trigger for the onset of memory decline in Alzheimer’s disease.
Hewitt Hall is completed. The facility is home to the General Clinical Research Center and research laboratories and administrative offices for integrative medicine, immunology, infectious diseases and mitochondrial genetics.

The H.H. Chao Comprehensive Digestive Disease Center is dedicated in a ribbon ceremony.


Dr. Alberto Manetta, senior associate dean of education, develops the Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community (PRIME-LC) program. PRIME-LC is  created to meet the unique needs of the Latino community and is a dual-degree program in the UC Irvine School of Medicine,  offering a MD and a master’s degree to its graduates. The program is now a thriving model that is being launched at the other UC medical schools.

Hans Keirstead, in anatomy and neurobiology, is the first researcher in the world to differentiate embryonic stem cells into neural cells that can repair damaged tissue in spinal cord injury.


University Physician & Surgeons, UC Irvine’s faculty practice organization, is formed under its new president and chief executive officer, Dr. John Heydt. In addition to managing capitated contracts, University Physicians & Surgeons becomes responsible for overseeing the entire clinical practice for UC Irvine’s faculty.


Eric Stanbridge develops the first blood tests to diagnose cervical cancer.


Dr. David Bailey is named dean and vice chancellor of health affairs.


Rendering of the new university hospital
Photo of UC Irvine Douglas Hospital

Opened in March 2009, UC Irvine Douglas Hospital features modern facilities for conducting the latest medical research and training future and practicing physicians. The seven-story hospital has spacious, mostly private rooms and 15 state-of-the-art operating rooms. In addition, the hospital provides an environment for translational research, allowing more opportunities for researchers and clinicians to collaborate on patient care.

Ralph V. Clayman, MD, a leader in urology and minimally invasive surgery, becomes dean of UC Irvine School of Medicine in December, 2009.


A $40.5-million, 65,000-square-foot Medical Education building opens on the UC Irvine campus that includes a state-of-the-art telemedicine training center and a  clinical simulation lab and clinical skills center. The medical education building plays an important part in supporting new initiatives and technologies in teaching and healthcare delivery and is home to the innovative Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community (PRIME-LC).

UC Irvine Health School of Medicine adopts an iPad-based curriculum, reinventing the traditional medical school curriculum for the 21st century. The school becomes one of the first in the nation to build a completely digital, interactive learning environment for the entering class of 2010.


Today, the School of Medicine has 26 departments and 560 faculty members who are involved in teaching, providing medical care and conducting research for health challenges facing the 21st century. The school also has approximately 620 resident physicians and 45 programs accredited by the American College of Graduate Medical Education. One hundred four medical students are admitted for the Class of 2018.


Dr. Howard Federoff is named vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. He joined UC Irvine Health on July 1. He takes on the additional role of UC Irvine Health chief executive officer the following year.


Dr. Michael J. Stamos is named dean of the School of Medicine.

View the UC Irvine Health fact sheet ›

The National Cancer Institute renews the UC Irvine Health Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center designation as a comprehensive cancer center. It also bestows an “excellent” rating in its scientific review of the center’s capabilities.