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Charter Week celebration kicks off UC, College of Medicine bicentennial

Hundreds gathered in the CARE/Crawley Atrium Jan. 15 to celebrate Charter Week in honor of two important University of Cincinnati Bicentennial milestones. Daniel Drake, MD, the founder of the Medical College of Ohio–today known as the UC College of Medicine–received a charter from the State Legislature on Jan. 19, 1819 establishing the college as the first medical school in Ohio. Three days later on Jan. 22, 1819, the Legislature granted a charter to Drake for the Cincinnati College, which would grow into today’s UC.

“It’s a great day to be a Bearcat!” President Neville Pinto, PhD, proclaimed at the start of the event.

“Two centuries ago, the visionary citizens of a frontier town of 10,000 looked to the future and recognized that for this town to be one of consequence it required an institution of higher learning,” Pinto told the crowd. “These visionary leaders were led by a bold thinker, a physician named Daniel Drake. He had the foresight to seek charters from the state of Ohio for two colleges: the Medical College of Ohio, the predecessor to our College of Medicine, and Cincinnati College, which later merged with the university. The first was granted to the Medical College of Ohio, and that’s why we are launching our festivities here on the health campus in the home of our College of Medicine.”

Balloons, banners, food and an unveiling of immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences added to the festive spirit of the event. A VR booth near the dean’s suite in the CARE/Crawley Atrium will be in operation weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. until November. Using virtual reality technology, people can experience being in the 1959 laboratory of Albert Sabin, MD, along with several other moments in UC history.

Andrew Filak Jr., MD, interim senior vice president for health affairs and dean of the College of Medicine, spoke about Drake’s visionary leadership in founding the Medical College of Ohio.

“Dr. Drake was a national leader in reforming and advancing medical education and bringing it from an apprenticeship model to the classroom. He also believed in the benefits of teaching medicine in a hospital setting, not relegating it to the lecture hall and laboratory, allowing for true experiential learning,” Filak said. “Dr. Drake was decades ahead of his time in medical education. In addition to promoting bedside teaching and hospital training, he called for more medical professorships, better preliminary education, extending medical education to four years, and national meetings between the American medical schools so their defects could be remedied together. Ultimately all were adopted.”Replace with your text

College of Medicine Dean Andrew Filak Jr., MD.

Filak also noted several faculty and alumni from the past and present who have had immense impact on medicine.

“We have been fortunate that our college faculty and graduates have consistently risen to the challenge of innovating, discovering and improving medicine. The successes of our past are a foundation for our accomplishments both today and in the future. It is appropriate that we remember and admire these people as they continue to inspire us,” he said.

Among them were: Ruben Mussey, MD, a faculty member and dean of the medical college, who was among the first to hypothesize that cholera was caused by bacteria; George Blackman, MD, a Medical College of Ohio faculty member from 1854 until his death in 1871, he was one of the nation’s leading surgeons particularly known for being the coauthor of the 1861 book “Hand-book on Military Surgery,” which was carried by almost every Civil War surgeon; and Roberts Bartholow, MD, a faculty member from 1864 to 1879 and dean for five years, one of America’s foremost 19th century physician scientists best known for providing the first documented record of direct electrical stimulation of the brain and its effects on motor function.

From today’s faculty, Filak mentioned the achievements of Frank McCormack, MD, director of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine; Susan Pinney, MD, professor of environmental health; Xiaoyang Qi, PhD, professor of internal medicine; and Joseph Broderick, MD, professor of neurology and rehabilitation medicine and director of the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute.

“We may forever walk in the shadows of Dr. Daniel Drake, but it was his brilliance and guiding light which launched two centuries of scientific achievements at the College of Medicine that have changed the world,” Filak noted.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley also spoke at the event saying how “this was a truly historic day for Cincinnati and UC.” He noted how special it was for him that the event was taking place in the College of Medicine as his grandfather, John Cranley Jr., MD, was a faculty member from 1952 until 1992 in the college’s Department of Surgery. He also said two of his uncles were College of Medicine graduates: James Cranley, MD, Class of 1980, and Robert Cranley, MD, Class of 1982.

President Pinto, Dean Filak and Mayor Cranley.

“Cities that are thriving today have one thing in common: they all are co-located with great research universities,” Cranley said. He also called for increased state support for UC and encouraged National Cancer Institute designation and the additional research funding it would bring to the university.

In declaring it “University of Cincinnati Bicentennial Day,” Cranley handed an official city proclamation to Pinto. It said, in part: “Drake’s bold legacy lives on as the University of Cincinnati, which is home to 14 colleges enrolling nearly 46,000 students, ranks among the world’s top 100 most innovative universities. Achieving its bicentennial milestone is the product of an enduring partnership with the city and the unrelenting tenacity, energy, brilliance and passion of hundreds of thousands of students, alumni, faculty and staff who have walked its campus and left their individual and collective mark locally, nationally and internationally.”

Another highlight of the program was the recognition of the College of Nursing as an Apple Distinguished School, the only nursing school to be so honored three times. A representative from Apple presented Greer Glazer, PhD, dean of the College of Nursing, with a plaque and congratulated her for building a culture of innovation, leadership and academic excellence. He also cited the iCon initiative at the College of Nursing as an example of how the marriage of great leadership and academic excellence with technology can inspire creativity and collaboration.