Duke Medicine Timeline

- NIH Director

James Wyngaarden, Chair of Medicine, is named director of the National Institutes of Health.

James Wyngaarden

- Duke North opens

The new $94.5 million, 616-bed Duke Hospital opens, bringing the total number of patient beds to more than 1,000. It is dedicated on April 25, 1981.

Duke North

- Highland Hospital sold

Duke University sells Highland Hospital to Psychiatric Institutes of America.

- Surgery advances

Nicholas Georgiade, Gregory Georgiade, Kenneth McCarty Jr., B. J. Ferguson and Hilliard Seigler, report data showing no alteration in patient survival for immediate reconstruction done at the time of mastectomy.

- Divers Alert Network

Duke establishes the Divers Alert Network (DAN) to promote diving safety. It is the only organization of its kind in the world.

- Ribbon drawing published

Duke biophysicist Jane Richardson’s ribbon diagram, a method of representing the 3D structure of proteins, is first published.

- Final nurse capping ceremony

The final capping ceremony for nursing students is held. While the cap was once an integral part of a nurse's uniform, by the 1980's medical facilities no longer require nurses to wear them.

- Treatment for bubble boy disease

Pediatric immunologist Rebecca Buckley uses bone marrow transplantation to restore the immune systems of children born with severe combined immunodeficiency, also known as bubble boy disease.

Rebecca Buckley

- First liver transplant

The first successful liver transplant in North Carolina is performed at Duke.

- AZT clinical trials

Duke becomes one of two hospitals to conduct the first human clinical trials of AZT, the first drug to offer a substantial improvement in quality of life for AIDS patients.

- First heart transplant

Duke team performs first heart transplant in North Carolina.

- Duke Life Flight begins

Duke Life Flight becomes the first hospital based helicopter service in North Carolina.

Life Flight over Duke North

- Eye surgery tools

Duke ophthalmologists design first of their kind miniature tools for delicate eye surgery – motor driven scissors, forceps coated with diamond chips for removing foreign matter from eyes, and retinal glue to reattach inner eye linings that have been separated.

- HIV Breakthrough

Dr. Catherine Wilfert initiates antiretroviral therapy at delivery to prevent HIV transmission to children. This research leads to the reduction of mother-to-baby transmission of HIV by 75% in the US. Dr. Dani Bolognesi and team identify the V3 loop of HIV gp120 as the principal neutralizing domain. 

Catherine Wilfert

- 4th Dean appointed

Dr. Ralph Snyderman appointed Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the School of Medicine on 1 January.

- First SBAS meeting

The first meeting of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons is held at Duke