College of Health Professions History

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science is a five-college University that was built around the Chicago Medical School (CMS), which has been educating physicians and furthering biomedical research for almost 100 years. From the first days in 1912, the physician and citizen founders of CMS aimed to establish a combined medical school and hospital in which employed men and women could study medicine at night, a common practice at the time. The School’s noteworthy period of development took place under the direction of John J. Sheinin, MD, PhD, DSc, who served as dean and president from 1932 to 1966. It was during his administration that CMS successfully met the challenges arising from the revolutionary restructuring of American medical education following the Flexner Report.

In 1930, the Medical School moved to what was to become one of the world’s largest aggregations of medical facilities. Located just west of downtown Chicago, this complex contained three medical schools, seven hospitals, colleges of dentistry, pharmacy and nursing, and two undergraduate universities. CMS occupied an 11-story facility in the renowned research and educational center.

In 1967, the University of Health Sciences (UHS) was established. The University comprised the Chicago Medical School, the School of Related Health Sciences (now College of Health Professions), and the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPDS).

The College of Health Professions first opened its doors in 1970, when two baccalaureate programs, Physical Therapy and Medical Technology (now Clinical Laboratory Sciences), were established. Since that time, the College has expanded its offerings to include masters- or doctoral-level programs in the following areas: Nutrition, Physician Assistant, Pathologists’ Assistant, Physical Therapy, Healthcare Management, Interprofessional Healthcare Studies, Medical Radiation Physics, Nurse Anesthesia, Biomedical Sciences, and Clinical Psychology.

In 1980, the University relocated to its current campus in North Chicago, IL, adjacent to the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Center (formerly known as the North Chicago Veterans Affairs Medical Center) and Naval Station Great Lakes.

The new campus included the University’s Basic Sciences Building, a 400,000-square-foot facility that houses a 52,000-square-foot Library and The Daniel Solomon, MD, and Mary Ann Solomon Learning Resource Center, as well as administrative offices, classrooms, auditoriums, basic science departments, research and teaching laboratories, and dining areas. The Heather Margaret Bligh Cancer Research Laboratory, a cancer immunology research and treatment complex, is located on the north end of the campus.

The University, granted full accreditation by the North Central Association in 1980, represented one of the first educational institutions in the country devoted exclusively to educating men and women for a broad range of professional careers in health care and research. In 2001, The Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine (established in 1912) became part of the University structure.

In January 2004, the University publicly announced its intent to change its name to Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, in honor of Rosalind Franklin, PhD, a pioneer in the field of DNA research. The name change became legal on March 1, 2004, at which time the School of Related Health Sciences also changed its name to College of Health Professions.

In addition to the name change and the announcement of several new strategic initiatives, the University was experiencing profound growth. In October 2002, the University opened its Health Sciences Building, a 140,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility that houses laboratories, auditoriums, classrooms, departmental offices, a student union, the Feet First Exhibition, University bookstore, recreational game room, exercise facility, and a café. The University became a residential campus for the first time in its history when three student housing facilities, totaling 180 apartments, opened in July 2003.

From 2004 to 2009, the University has significantly and steadily expanded its student base and set record enrollment growth, from 1,664 students to 1,940—a 16 percent increase in the student population. By strengthening its research practice and attracting pre-eminent scientists, the institution now provides greater access to leading-edge research opportunities. This growth will continue to be fueled by the increased interest in the College of Health Professions, new programs such as Nurse Anesthesia and Medical Radiation Physics, and the new College of Pharmacy.

In 2011, the University dedicated the 23,000-square-foot Interprofessional Education Center, offering additional classrooms, laboratories, clinical simulation spaces, and an amphitheatre. It is also the home of the College of Pharmacy which welcomed its first class in fall 2011.

Currently, University enrollment exceeds 1,900. The University’s total faculty is almost 900. Major hospital affiliates include: the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Center, John H. Stroger, Jr., Hospital of Cook County, Mount Sinai Hospital and Medical Center, and Lutheran General Hospital. The University’s clinical campus consists of the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Center and the Rosalind Franklin University Health System.

Dr. Rosalind Franklin, through her pioneering work in the science of life and her unflagging perseverance, serves as a role model for our faculty and students, and represents the future of biomedical science and integrated health care. After almost 100 years of excellence in healthcare education, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science has only just begun to write its history. We hope you will join us in creating bold visions for an ambitious future.