Duke Medicine Timeline

- Duke University Hospital opens

Duke Hospital opens for patients on July 21, 1930.

Opening day staff

- Specialized classes begin

Classes began in hospital administration, dietetics, and medical technology on 15 August.

- Medical classes begin

The eighteen third year and fifty-two first year medical students began classes on 1 October.

- 1st School of Nursing Dean

Dean Wilburt C. Davison recruits Bessie Baker, RN to become the first dean of the School of Nursing and head of Nursing Services for Duke Hospital. 

Bessie Baker

- Nursing classes begin

The Duke School of Nursing's first class of 24 undergraduate students begin classes on January 2. The program is three years long and the annual tuition is $100.

1st SON graduating class

- Dedication ceremony

The dedication ceremony for Duke Medical School and Hospital is held on 20 April.  
Order of Exercises for the Dedication of the Duke University School of Medicine and the Duke Hospital

- Duke’s Private Diagnostic Clinic opens

Duke’s Private Diagnostic Clinic opens on September 15. It is an independent, for-profit group practice affiliated with Duke Hospital and Duke University.

Duke PDC waiting room

- Nursing student dorm

Baker House, located on Trent Drive and contiguous with Duke Clinic, opens. After Bessie Baker dies in 1942, nurses and physicians vote to change the name of the Nurses' Home to Baker House in her honor on September 29, 1943.

Baker House exterior

- Postgraduate symposium offered

The first Duke Medical Postgraduate Symposium is offered to physicians in the southeast.

Exhibit Room A showing x-rays, slides, and experimental exhibits

- Duke ranks in top 25%

The Association of American Medical Colleges ranks Duke among the top 25 percent of medical schools in the country-less than five years after it opened.

- Surgical use of ultraviolet lamps

Duke surgeons led by Dr. J. Deryl Hart pioneer the use of ultraviolet lamps in operating rooms to eliminate infectious organisms that cause post-operative Staph infections. This procedure dramatically reduces the number of infections and related deaths.

surgery under UV lights

- Equine encephalomyelitis vaccine

Dr. Joseph Beard and his wife and research partner Dorothy develop a vaccine against equine encephalomyelitis, a disease that then struck down thousands of horses. This development was due in part to the funding of Lederle Laboratories, owned by William Brown Bell, a Duke Endowment Trustee and President of American Cyanamid Company. Bell's support allowed Duke scientists to progress rapidly in successfully developing the vaccine and subsequently becoming national leaders in vaccine and immunization.

Dorothy and Joseph Beard

- Brain tumor program established

Duke establishes the nation's first brain tumor program, launching what will become one of the world's foremost cancer programs.

- School of Nursing baccalaureate degrees

The School of Nursing begins awarding baccalaureate degrees to students who complete two years of college along with the nursing curricula.

- Dietary break-through

Continuing through the 1940s and 1950s, Dr. Walter Kempner's research, using a rice-based diet and daily laboratory testing, demonstrates that degenerative processes attacking the kidney, heart, brain and retina can be arrested by dietary changes. These dramatic findings draw patients to Duke from across the nation.

Dr. Kempner and rice dieters