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Wake Forest School of Medicine

Region: North Carolina Country: USA

Wake Forest School of Medicine is the medical school of Wake Forest University, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It is affiliated with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, the academic medical center whose clinical arm is Wake Forest Baptist Health. U.S. News & World Report in 2012 ranked Wake Forest School of Medicine as 19th best in the nation for primary care and 42nd best for research. The School of Medicine also ranks in the top third of U.S. medical schools in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

History and Background
Statue of Bowman Gray in the main entrance to the School of Medicine

In 1902, the two-year Wake Forest College Medical School was founded on the college campus in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Thirteen students made up the charter medical class. Tuition was $37.50 per term; additional fees were charged for laboratories and student health care.[4]

The Southern Baptist denomination in 1919 began its first planning for a hospital directed primarily at the care of the poor. Applications were received from Raleigh, High Point, Charlotte, Greensboro, Salisbury and Winston-Salem. The Southern Baptists chose Winston-Salem, and an 88-bed hospital opened there in 1923.

In the wake of a 1935 Carnegie Foundation report suggesting the dissolution of two-year medical schools, those schools began to consider alternatives. Meanwhile, the death of Bowman Gray, the president of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in Winston-Salem, also in 1935, led his family to consider how to best make use of $750,000 that he left to be put toward a community cause. The Gray family decided to offer the money to a medical school willing to relocate to Winston-Salem. After the University of North Carolina rejected a chance to obtain the money because it did not want to leave Chapel Hill, Wake Forest's medical school dean, Coy Cornelius Carpenter, in 1939 helped to forge a deal for the funds. In 1941, Bowman Gray School of Medicine opened on the campus of N.C. Baptist Hospital with 75 students, including 45 freshmen and 30 sophomores.

The rest of Wake Forest University would follow the medical school to Winston-Salem in 1956, in an effort led by the family of R.J. Reynolds.[4]

  • The school became known for its innovative curriculum and prominent faculty members, including:
  • Camillo Artom, a renowned Italian biochemistry expert who fled Italy to escape fascism, and who, at Wake Forest, worked with lipids in research on atherosclerosis, among other subjects.
  • Richard Masland, a professor of psychiatry and neurology who later became director of the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness. He encouraged faculty to pursue research grants, which helped the school in its push toward research and growth as an academic medical center.
  • James Toole, a neurologist who opened the Stroke Center soon after arriving in 1962 and who wrote a widely used text, Cerebrovascular Disorders.
A flurry of building projects beginning in the late 1950s and continuing today began a period of expansion that continues today. More than $700 million was spent on new buildings and equipment for the School of Medicine and medical center campus in the 1990s and 2000s. In 1997, the school was renamed Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and the medical school campus became the Bowman Gray Campus. In 2011, the name would be changed slightly again, to Wake Forest School of Medicine, as a part of a restructuring that also renamed the institution's clinical component as Wake Forest Baptist Health.

The School of Medicine's strong research focus is evident in its translational work, which raised nearly $400 million in licensing revenues from 2006-2011. The newer buildings and facilities that are a focus of research for students and faculty are Ardmore Tower, which is home to Brenner Children's Hospital, the J. Paul Sticht Center on Aging and Rehabilitation, the Comprehensive Cancer Center and Piedmont Triad Research Park. The latter is a 200-acre campus in downtown Winston-Salem focusing on biotechnology research.

The latest building in the research park, the $100 million Biotech Place, opened in February 2012. Among the research park tenants is the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), which was established in 2004 and has risen to national prominence. WFIRM's scientists are working to engineer more than 30 different replacement tissues and organs and to develop healing cell therapies-all with the goal to cure, rather than merely treat, disease.

Admissions and Rankings
Students applying to the Wake Forest School of Medicine are required to take the MCAT. The undergraduate coursework requirements include 8 semester hours of zoology or biology, 8 semester hours of general physics, 8 semester hours of general chemistry, and 8 semester hours of organic chemistry. The average MCAT subject score for students admitted for the class of 2015 was a 10.7, and the average total MCAT was 32.1. The median GPA for those accepted was a 3.58, and six students had advanced degrees prior to applying. Overall, 7,391 students applied for admission and 543 were interviewed for 120 spots.[7] Enrolled students are issued an IBM ThinkPad computer.

Wake Forest School of Medicine is currently one of the top 10 hardest medical schools to be admitted to, in terms of acceptance rate.

Academics and Curriculum
The School of Medicine is a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), which is jointly sponsored by the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association (AMA) and the AAMC.

The fundamental goal of Wake Forest School of Medicine is to graduate students with the knowledge, clinical skills and desire to excel in their chosen areas of medicine. In conjunction with appropriate societal and professional bodies, the School of Medicine endeavors to guide students to choose among various areas of interest-generalist or clinical specialty, academic practice and basic research-to satisfy society's needs.

The School of Medicine strives to provide its graduates with the skills to be lifelong learners. For the student, this aim requires a broad knowledge of basic clinical science and the ability to analyze and incorporate new knowledge. In addition to being a scholar, the student must possess attitudes and values that include a respect for life and a desire to serve the suffering. The School of Medicine endeavors to produce graduates with the attitude, integrity and compassion they need to be caring health professionals.

During the first year of study, basic science courses and introduction to medicine classes are taught, while the second year focuses on pathophysiology of disease and is organized by systems. The third and fourth years of medical education consist of clinical rotation in which the students are members of the medical team learning to treat patients in a hospital setting. Third-year students rotate through a series of required clerkships, while the fourth year allows for students to choose their rotations based on their interests and future career plans, including time for research or away rotations at other institutions. Students also have the opportunity to do electives in foreign countries and gain exposure to the differences in care in other countries.[9]

Students do clinical and research work primarily with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Wake Forest Baptist Health-Brenner Children's Hospital, W.G. Hefner Salisbury Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences.

Joint Degree Programs
The School of Medicine offers, in conjunction with Wake Forest University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, a joint M.D./Ph.D. degree. It also offers a joint M.D./M.A. degree in bioethics.

In addition, to address the growing need for professionals to be trained in both medicine and management, the school offers an M.D./M.B.A. degree in conjunction with Wake Forest University's Schools of Business. Finally, there is an M.D./M.S. offered in Clinical and Population Translational Sciences through Wake Forest University's Department of Public Health Sciences

Wake Forest School of Medicine Degree Programs :


  • Bachelor Degree
  • Medical Laboratory Science Program
  • Program for Medical Ultrasound
  • 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
  • M.D./M.A
  • M.D./Ph.D
  • M.D./M.B.A
  • M.D./M.S


  • Bachelor Degree
  • Nurse Anesthesia Program

Video Presentation

Hank Wallace at Wake Forest's medical school

Contact Details

Address: Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, N.C. 27157



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