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East Tennessee State University James H. Quillen College of Medicine

Region: Tennessee Country: USA

Quillen is unique in many ways. Every school can accurately make that same claim. Some of the assets that make Quillen most attractive to some are the small class size, the collegiality, camaraderie and team work between students faculty and staff, the location in the beautiful foothills of the Smokies, the smaller town environment, the individual attention available from faculty and staff, the smaller but modern and well equipped hospitals, the excellence of the training and the "Quillen experience" or the safety and serenity of the environment. The PRIDE we take in our students and graduates. Any or all of these things might make Quillen "the best school for you" or maybe not.

We invite and encourage all prospective students to visit our campus, talk with our students and graduates, look around the Tri-Cities and just see how the school feels to you. Ask lots of questions. Find out the answers to the questions that are important to you - and don't let anybody tell you what is important. Four years after matriculation at any school, most all students are awarded two new initials after their name (M.D.) and a new first name that goes with them for the rest of their life (Doctor). All schools teach Anatomy, Biochemistry, Surgery and Pediatrics - most use many of the same text books. Thus it seems to follow that you will cover much of the same information wherever you choose. The differences come not in what you get, but in how you get it, who you get it from and who you get it with. You need to be comfortable in your medical education environment---it makes a huge difference. Find out for yourself!

East Tennessee State University's Quillen College of Medicine is the only medical school in the Tennessee Board of Regents System and, with the College of Nursing, College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, Gatton College of Pharmacy, and College of Public Health, serves as the system's health sciences center. In just three decades, the College has developed into one of the nation's leading schools for rural medicine and primary care training, an honor consistently recognized by U.S. News & World Report.

Founded in 1974 on a mission to train primary care physicians and to increase the number of doctors in rural communities, the Quillen College of Medicine, with more than 1,500 graduates, has remained true to its original mission. Thirty-five years later, Fitzhugh Mullan published his innovative "social mission" research in the Annals of Internal Medicine, demonstrating that Quillen is ranked first in the nation for primary care graduates.

The James H. Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University was established for the purpose of providing physicians and medical care to the people in the surrounding regions. The College of Medicine is a publicly supported academic institution dedicated to excellence in medical care, biomedical research, and health education. The College of Medicine recognizes the importance that graduate medical education plays in obtaining the above goals. Residency programs maintained by the College of Medicine serve an integral place in the education of medical students and the research activities of the institution.

The residency programs provide service, teaching, and educational opportunities for the area and, overall, result in improvement of the health care in Northeast Tennessee and the surrounding Appalachian region. Through its diverse resources, the College of Medicine endeavors to meet selected community and regional needs by identification, creation, and execution of the necessary programs to accommodate those needs. This effort includes providing the fiscal support, human resources, and educational opportunities for maintaining excellent residency programs.

The goals of the Graduate Medical Education Program of the College of Medicine are:

  • To provide excellent training for both primary care and specialist physicians, with emphasis on training primary care physicians to serve the rural environment;
  • To promote an academic environment that nurtures both research and scholarly activity, at both the resident and faculty level;
  • To strengthen public/private partnerships with surrounding healthcare related institutions;
  • To enhance delivery of patient care services to our region;
  • To gain recognition by both the region's public and professional community as the center for excellent healthcare delivery and research in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

Vets Welcome
Welcome to ETSU and the Quillen College of Medicine! We are a Veteran Friendly Campus and the College of Medicine gratefully welcomes the application of our veteran "heroes" and will consider it an honor to receive it. In my days in uniform, a long time ago in a land far away, there was a saying that still lives with me today and I think of it often. It was a simple phrase but very true and powerful, "For those who fought for it, life has a flavor the protected will never know." It's true. There are a number of us at Quillen who know the true meaning of this saying and can to some extent identify personally with some of the "miles in your rear view mirror". As you consider an application to Quillen, read on and carefully evaluate your chances for admission here and how you think you would fit at this unique school.

We honor, appreciate and value your service to our great nation and the experience, leadership and maturity you may bring to our student body. Please note that our affinity for veterans will not override a non competitive application and it can not substitute for in-state status (important at this state supported school). I do not intend to solicit an application from anyone nor do I wish to mislead anyone into thinking that the fact that you have served our country will assure you a class position here. What I do wish you to understand is that we are appreciative and cognizant of the things that your service has added to you as a person. Read our words carefully before applying and if you have any questions please feel free to contact us or any of our enrolled veteran students.

In 1968, Dr. D.P. Culp was appointed president of ETSU, and his stated major goal was to establish a medical school.[3] Other early supporters included U.S. Representative Jimmy Quillen, State Representative P.L. Robinson, ETSU Dean of Health John Lamb, Johnson City attorney Mark Hicks, then Speaker of the House Ned McWherter, newspaper publisher Carl Jones, State Senator Marshall Nave, State Representative Gwen Fleming, Johnson City Physician Dr. Charles Ed Allen, and State Representative Bob Good.

A 1971 study by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission concluded that it was not cost effective to have a medical school in Northeast Tennessee. This study was supported by the Tennessee Board of Regents. Shortly afterward, a new process for starting the school became available.

In April 1971, U.S. Congressman Olin Teague of Texas introduced a bill to create five medical schools in conjunction with established VA hospitals. Senator Alan Cranston of California introduced a companion bill. Known as the Teague-Cranston Act, the proposal called for the creation of five new medical schools in five states to meet the needs of the medically underserved areas of the country. Congressman Quillen claimed to have introduced an amendment, which required that any university to be considered for acceptance into this pilot program must be on government property contiguous and adjacent to a VA hospital, as East Tennessee State University was adjacent to the Mountain Home VA Hospital.[4] The bill passed without a dissenting vote in October 1972, and was signed by President Richard Nixon. The act, as passed, required that the new schools be "located in proximity to, and operated in conjunction with, Veterans' Administration medical facilities."

In Tennessee, Senator Nave called for consideration of legislation to establish a medical school at ETSU in the Senate on February 14, 1974 which was approved. Four days later, the bill failed to pass in the House. Representatives Robinson and Good used their political influence, and the measure was passed on second attempt on February 28. The bill was presented to Governor Winfield Dunn of Memphis, who vetoed it as expected. Motions to override the veto were made by Senator Nave and Representative Robinson in their respective houses. The Senate overrode with a 18-13 vote on March 6, and the House followed suit on March 12, 1974.

The next step was qualifying for the federal funds under the Teague-Cranston Act, with Quillen working with the State Board of Regents Chancellor Roy Nicks and President Culp on the application, which was approved by the Veteran's Administration on July 11, 1974. On June 30, 1977, Dr. Culp's last day in office as the President of ETSU, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education issued a letter of reasonable assurance that the new medical school would be accredited. The first class of 24 students (out of 255 applicants) enrolled in September, 1978.Full accreditation was granted when that first class graduated in 1982.

The political fight for the school continued to reverberate through Tennessee politics. Quillen never forgave former Republican Governor Winfield Dunn for his opposition, and when Dunn ran for a second term in 1986, Quillen saw that Dunn's Republican support in East Tennessee was weak.[9] Democrat Ned McWherter then won the election by a large margin.

East Tennessee State University James H. Quillen College of Medicine Degree Programs :


  • Bachelor Degree
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Health Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences
  • Master Degree
  • MD Anaesthesiology
  • MD Anatomy
  • MD Biochemistry
  • MD Community Medicine
  • MD Dermatology
  • MD Emergency Medicine
  • MD General Medicine
  • MD Microbiology
  • MD Paediatrics
  • MD Pathology
  • MD Pharmacology
  • MD Physiology
  • MD Psychiatry
  • MD Radiodiagnosis
  • MD Skin & V.D
  • MD TB & Chest Diseases
  • MS Anatomy
  • MS ENT
  • MS General Surgery
  • MS Ophthalmology
  • MS Orthopaedics
  • Doctorate/PhD
  • PhD Biomedical Science

Public Health

  • Bachelor Degree
  • Bachelor of Science in Public Health

Video Presentation

Quillen College of Medicine Graduation Spring 2012

Quillen College of Medicine Graduation Spring 2012 at East Tennessee State University

Contact Details

Address: Johnson City, Tennessee 37614 



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