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Our History

We invite you to tour memory lane through this photo-illustrated timeline:

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Governor Edmund (“Pat”) Brown says that the next University of California medical school will be built in San Diego next to the new county hospital.

1961
 
School of Science and Engineering groundbreaking, 1961. (L to R) Chancellor Herbert York; Scripps Institution of Oceanography Director Roger Revelle; Governor Pat Brown. Credit: UC San Diego Library.
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The Regents of the University of California approve a medical school at UC San Diego.

San Diego County offers more than 40 acres for the proposed medical school if the university will operate County Hospital.

1962
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Construction of the new, 600-bed County Hospital is completed in July at a cost of $11.5 million for building and equipment.

President John F. Kennedy authorizes construction of a VA hospital in San Diego, which must be built next to an academic medical facility.

1963
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Dr. Joseph Stokes III becomes first dean of the new medical school and is instrumental in its initial planning.

1964
 
Looking northeast from Gilman Dr. toward Camp Matthews and Scripps Hospital,1964-67. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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The Board of Regents unanimously approves an agreement under which the University of California will operate the San Diego County Hospital.

Dr. Robert J. Prentiss, a highly respected local urologist, is named the school’s first associate clinical professor and serves as acting chief of the Department of Urology.

Dr. Marshall J. Orloff is named first chairman of the school’s Department of Surgery.

1965
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Frank Gibson (left), chairman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, and Chancellor John Galbraith, sign the operations agreement that will lead to the final transfer of County Hospital to UC San Diego in 1966. Credit: UC San Diego Library.

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Candy stripers at County Hospital, circa 1965. Credit: UC San Diego Library

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La Jolla Farms with the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences in the background, 1965. The university will purchase 130 acres of this area by the decade’s end. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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On July 1, the Regents of the University of California assume the lease of the former County Hospital and begin operating what is now known as UC San Diego Medical Center as its primary clinical teaching facility.

Dr. Richard A. Lockwood is appointed director of hospitals and clinics at the new medical school.

Private patients may receive care at the former County Hospital for the first time.

1966
 
San Diego County Hospital to University Hospital transfer ceremony, July 6, 1966. (L to R) John S. Galbraith, chancellor; Robert Biron, vice chancellor for business affairs; Dr. Joseph Stokes, III, dean of the School of Medicine; unidentified. Credit: UC San Diego Library.

 
SOM Groundbreaking photo 
Groundbreaking for the School of Medicine, 1966. (L to R) Joseph Stokes, III, dean of the School of Medicine; Chancellor John S. Galbraith; Governor Pat Brown; unidentified. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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UC San Diego Health announces plans to open the region’s first kidney transplant unit.

Plans begin for major hospital upgrades.

UC San Diego Medical Center receives the county’s first respirator, described by local press as a “machine which literally maintains the breath of life.”

1967
 
Director of Hospitals and Clinics office on Matthews Campus, 1967. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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A pioneering family planning clinic is opened, offering contraception information and all types of birth control options.

UC San Diego Health doctors begin using the region’s only gamma radiation scanner to image the body’s organs and tissues.

An artificial kidney machine, part of the new organ transplant center, is unveiled.

Dr. Eugene Braunwald, former director of the National Heart Institute, becomes the founding chair of the Department of Medicine. His wife, Dr. Nina Starr Braunwald, is a new professor of surgery, cited in “American Men of Science.”

Dr. John Ross Jr., chief of the National Heart Institute’s section on cardiovascular diagnosis, is recruited to head the new cardiovascular research and training program. A team of six prominent cardiologists from the East Coast are recruited to work with him.

A $600,000 surgical research laboratory, designed to be one of the world’s best, opens.

San Diego’s first organ transplant, a kidney transplant, is performed on a 32-year-old former aircraft worker with a kidney donated by his older brother.

A Myocardial Infarction Research Unit, one of only nine in the nation, is to be established with support from the National Heart Institute.

The first class of 48 students enters UC San Diego School of Medicine. About 750 medical school graduates, or 10 percent of the nation’s total, apply for the school’s 34 internships.

1968
University Hospital of San Diego County, 1968. Credit: UC San Diego Library

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UC San Diego Medical Center, 1968. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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UC San Diego Health surgeons perform the region’s first kidney transplants with organs from a deceased person.

UC San Diego Health is awarded official designation as a Cardiac Center by the California State Department of Public Health to provide highly specialized care for children with heart disease.

The hospital’s first specialized intensive care units are completed.

Groundbreaking begins for the $30 million, 800-bed VA San Diego Healthcare System. Located on what is now university property, it will be one of three core sites for training medical students and graduates.

UC San Diego Medical Center opens one of the largest, most advanced pediatric intensive care units in California.

1969
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School of Medicine lecture room, 1969. Credit: UC San Diego Library

 

View of VA hospital construction and various Camp Matthews buildings looking east, 1969. Credit: UC San Diego Library

 

 
Basic Sciences Building, 1969. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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A 67-year-old man undergoes the region’s first pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE), an intricate life-saving procedure for removing blood clots from the lungs, pioneered by Dr. Kenneth Moser, professor of medicine and director of critical care medicine. Moser begins expanding the PTE program, transforming it into a world-recognized program.

UC San Diego Medical Center is designated a renal dialysis center by the California Department of Public Health – one of the first of its kind in the state.

UC San Diego Health opens the region’s first methadone treatment center for individuals with narcotic addictions.

UC San Diego surgeons are awarded a federal grant to study how to extend survival of lung transplant recipients.

UC San Diego School of Medicine’s vascular laboratory is established, becoming a prototype for others. Early work focuses on advancing non-invasive patient diagnostics through the use of ultrasonic probes on the skin.

Dr. George Sato, a cell biologist, joins the faculty. His basic research on growth factors is key to the development of the chemotherapy drug Cetuximab (Erbitux).

1970
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University Hospital’s pediatric ward, circa late-1960s to early 1970s. Credit: UC San Diego Library.

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Patient at University Hospital, circa 1971. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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Dr. Theodore Friedman, then a visiting scientist at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences in La Jolla, and colleagues posit that gene therapy could be used to replace defective DNA in individuals with genetic conditions.

The San Diego Poison Information Center, in partnership with the community and many volunteers, opens at UC San Diego Medical Center. It is the region’s first.

1972
 

School of Medicine commencement, first graduating class, 1972. Credit: UC San Diego Library.


 

 

Dr. Peter Wagner, Division of Physiology, 1972. Credit: UC San Diego Library


 

 
Dr. Edwin Seegmiller, Division of Arthritis, 1972. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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Dr. Helen M. Ranney is appointed chair of the Department of Medicine. A local newspaper reports she may be the only female department chair of a U.S. medical school.

Neurologists successfully treat refractory epilepsy patients with a special brain surgery that removes small sections of the brain where seizures occur. Only a handful of medical centers nationwide offer the procedure.

A new emergency services department opens, providing around-the-clock medical services to the community.

The Regional Burn Center opens. It is the region’s first and only burn treatment unit.

Physicians image the inside of a patient’s heart with a prototype echocardiograph machine, one of only four in the world.

Dr. Jerrold Olefsky is among the first researchers to show that insulin resistance is a primary cause of type II diabetes, a discovery that is key to the development of insulin-sensitizing drugs.

1973
 
Dr. Helen Ranney,  a pioneer in understanding the genetic basis of sickle cell blood disorders, 1973. Credit: UC San Diego Library

 
 
Student Health Center groundbreaking, 1973. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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One of the nation’s top cancer researchers, Dr. Sol Spiegelman, joins the faculty with plans to establish an institute of molecular medicine.

The federally sponsored General Clinical Research Center is established.

1974
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UC San Diego School of Medicine is awarded a major five-year $420,000 grant from the National Cancer Institute to study the mechanism of DNA synthesis in animal cells.

1975
 
UC San Diego Medical Students,1970-80. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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The Regional Trauma Center opens.

Medical investigators are awarded the National Institute of Health funding to study burn healing and methods for diminishing scarring.

UC San Diego Health is one of fewer than 100 medical institutions in the U.S. and Canada offering amniocentesis to pregnant women.

1976
 
Dr. Daniel Steinberg with Dr. Scott Grundy, 1976. Credit: UC San Diego

 
 
Medical Teaching Facility Groundbreaking Ceremony, June 1, 1976. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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The UC San Diego Outpatient Center in Hillcrest is completed.

The Teratogen Birth Defects Registry is made a statewide service.

Cancer researcher extraordinaire Dr. Renato Dulbecco, a founding member of the Salk Institute and 1975 Nobel Prize winner, joins the UC San Diego faculty.

Dr. John Mendelsohn, director of medical oncology, heads a newly created Cancer Center Task Force to develop a centralized multidisciplinary oncology program, in which closely knit patient care, research and educational activities can flourish.

UC San Diego Health receives National Institute of Mental Health funding to establish advanced psychiatric treatment clinics at VA San Diego Healthcare System and UC San Diego Medical Center.

1977
 

“University Hospital” circa 1977. Credit: UC San Diego Library

 

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The University Hospital helistop, 1977. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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The Cancer Center is designated a Specialized Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, making promising cancer drugs more readily available to the community.

1978
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Cancer researcher and Nobel Prize winner Dr. Renato Dulbecco, 1978. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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Balloon angioplasty is used for the first time in San Diego on patients with narrowed leg arteries.

The Internal Medicine Group opens a practice in a newly constructed facility on the UC San Diego campus in La Jolla, delivering convenient care for the campus and nearby communities.

UC San Diego Health researchers begin collecting information on approximately 1,000 head injury patients to identify the most successful treatment approaches.

The nurse midwife program is the first in California to be fully accredited.

The Life Flight helicopter-ambulance program is inaugurated.

1979
 

School of Medicine classroom, 1979-81. Credit: UC San Diego Library

 

 

Life Flight helicopter, 1979. Credit: UC San Diego Library

 

 
Students at the Biomedical Library, 1979-81. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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Dr. Frank Garland and his brother Cedric Garland, also an epidemiologist, publish an influential study linking vitamin D deficiency to some cancers.

UC San Diego Health takes part in a statewide examination of marijuana’s effectiveness in relieving nausea following cancer treatment. An estimated 4,000 cancer patients in the state are expected to participate.

1980
 

Dr. Arthur Otani, Department of Dermatology, with students, 1979-81. Credit UC San Diego Library

 

 
School of Medicine, 1980. Credit: UC San Diego Library

 
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Medical student, circa 1980. Credit: UC San Diego Library.

 

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Groundbreaking begins for the $5.6 million Theodore Gildred Cancer Facility in Hillcrest. The three-story, 36,000-square-foot facility will expand and improve treatment options for the estimated 6,500 San Diegans diagnosed with cancer annually.

Burn specialists and plastic surgeons use a synthetic skin to cover burn wounds, control pain and prevent infection.

The Regents of the University of California purchase UC San Diego Medical Center (formerly County Hospital) and the adjacent County Mental Health Complex from San Diego County.

1981
 

Dr. John West, Pulmonary Laboratory, Division of Physiology, 1979-81. Credit: UC San Diego Library

 

 

Dr. Clifford Grobstein (left) with Roger Revelle, 1979-81. Grobstein was named dean of the new School of Medicine in 1967. Credit: UC San Diego Library

 

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Respiratory therapy training of paramedics, 1981. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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Stuart I. Brown, MD, a world authority on corneal disease and transplants, is named chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology.

UC San Diego Health establishes a new center for HIV/AIDS research and treatment, the Owen Clinic. The clinic is an international role model in HIV care and patient empowerment.

1982
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UC San Diego Medical Center Emergency Room ambulance service, 1981-83. Credit: UC San Diego Library

 

 
Burn Treatment Center staff, 1981-83. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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The Regents of the University of California approve the establishment of the Institute for Research on Aging as an Organized Research Unit (ORU) — only the second ORU in health sciences at UC San Diego, the first being the Cancer Center.

The first patient to undergo a thromboendarterectomy at UC San Diego Health in 1970 is 81 years old and healthy. The lifesaving surgery is performed regularly with success at only two hospitals in the nation: UC San Diego Health and Duke University.

UC San Diego Health begins operating a Stroke Hotline; a Stroke Unit is dedicated.

1983
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UC San Diego Medical Center staff, 1981-83. Credit: UC San Diego Library.

 

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Occupational health therapy students and staff, 1981-83. Credit: UC San Diego Library

 

Med Center Staff 
UC San Diego Medical Center staff, 1981-83. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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UC San Diego is designated one of the first five national Alzheimer’s disease research centers by the National Institute on Aging.

The Hyperbaric Medicine and Wound Care Center opens.

The Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment is established.

UC San Diego Medical Center is designated the only Level I Trauma Center in San Diego County.

National Institute of Aging designates Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, under director Dr. Leon Thal, one of the first five such centers in nation.

1984
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Arrival of the Life Flight helicopter ambulance, 1984. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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The Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Center opens. It is one of six state centers established by California Department of Health Services.

1985
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Medical researchers, circa 1985. Credit: UC San Diego Library

 

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Burn unit demonstration, circa 1985. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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UC San Diego is designated one of eight national centers for research and treatment of HIV/AIDS.

The Eating Disorders Clinic begins treating individuals with bulimia and other eating disorders associated with body image issues.

1986
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Dr. George Leopold performs an obstetric ultrasound, circa 1986. Leopold ordered the first Picker machine on the West Coast in the early days of “static sonography.” Credit: UC San Diego Library and www.ob-ultrasound.net/leopold.htm
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The Liver Transplant Program is inaugurated.

1987

 

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Nurse practitioner Sonya Harlow (left) and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steven Garfin, circa 1987. Credit: UC San Diego Library.

 

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The region’s only operative endoscopy unit offers women laparoscopy to treat infertility and other gynecological issues. The Urgent Care Center opens in La Jolla.

UC San Diego Health is one of 11 centers nationwide testing the effectiveness of the antiviral drug AZT and intravenous gamma globulin in children with HIV.

Physicians within the newly created Voice Disorders Center are among a handful nationally using video stroboscopy to diagnose laryngeal and vocal cord dysfunction.

UC San Diego School of Medicine ranks first in the nation in percent of faculty members with peer-reviewed grants.

1988
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The Heart-Lung Transplant Program is established with the recruitment of Dr. Stuart Jamieson, a pioneer in the field, from the University of Minnesota.

The Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant Program is established. It is the only approved center in San Diego.

1989
 
Dr. Stuart Jamieson (center) and team, 1989, the year he was recruited from Minnesota to UC San Diego. Credit: UC San Diego

 
 

Student with Dr. Paul Friedman, previous dean for academic affairs, emeritus professor and radiologist, 1989. Credit: UC San Diego
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The first heart, single-lung and heart-lung transplants are performed at UC San Diego Medical Center by Dr. Stuart Jamieson and colleagues.

The Cancer Center launches first-of-a-kind bilingual smoking cessation hotlines with support from the California Department of Health.

1990
 
Ground-breaking ceremony for Thornton Hospital, 1990. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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A “topping off” ceremony is held for the addition of the modern tower at UC San Diego Medical Center.

The region’s first double-lung transplant is performed at UC San Diego Medical Center by Dr. Stuart Jamieson. Only 63 of the operations have been completed worldwide. Jamieson has the longest surviving heart-lung and double-lung transplant patients in the world.

Groundbreaking begins for the $8 million Edith and William M. Perlman Ambulatory Care Center, which will nearly double the medical center’s outpatient capacity in La Jolla to approximately 100,000 visits a year.

UC San Diego School of Medicine receives an $18 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish a national consortium for testing promising drugs for Alzheimer’s disease.

The Donald P. and Darlene V. Shiley Eye Center opens.

The Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging is established.

1991
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Dr. Stuart Jamieson with the region’s first heart-lung transplant recipient, a nurse named Catherine Renee Williams, 1991. Credit: UC San Diego Health

SOM Graduation 1991 
School of Medicine Commencement, 1991. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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The first pancreas-kidney transplant in the region is performed by Dr. John Dunn and colleagues. UC San Diego Health is one of three active pancreas-kidney transplant programs in the state.

The Ortho-Med Center for Sports and Work-Related Injuries opens in La Jolla, specializing in treating bone and soft-tissue injuries.

Several thousand staff members, physicians and community members attend opening ceremonies for the completion of UC San Diego Medical Center’s expansion project. The addition adds 89,000 square feet of patient care and support space and is the largest construction project ever undertaken at the facility.

1992
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UC San Diego Health begins offering in vitro fertilization, at the time the most sophisticated technology available for overcoming infertility. 

UC San Diego is named one of 16 Vanguard Centers for the Women's Health Initiative of the National Institutes of Health and receives $12.2 million to support a 12-year study of postmenopausal women, with an emphasis on Latina women.

Surgeons perform UC San Diego Medical Center’s 1,000th kidney transplant surgery on a four-year-old Oceanside boy whose mother donated one of her kidneys to him. UC San Diego Health is the only center in San Diego performing pediatric kidney transplants in children as young as 18 months.

UC San Diego Medical Center is selected by UNICEF to participate in the global Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, a program that teaches and encourages new mothers to breastfeed.

The Kidney Transplant Center’s 25th anniversary is celebrated. The center ranks among the top in the nation, and exceeds the national average for donor organ survival. Its founder and director, Dr. Nicholas Halasz, is a noted authority on the immunology of organ rejection.

The John M. and Sally B. Thornton Hospital and Perlman Ambulatory Care Center open. The hospital’s first surgery is a delicate brain operation performed by Dr. John Alksne, dean of UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Surgeon perform a double-lung transplant on a 16-year-old boy with cystic fibrosis, using portions of lung from each of his parents — a first in San Diego and only the fourth time in the world that a double-lung transplant from living donors has been performed. 

UC San Diego Health is the nation's first medical center to receive Medicare certification to perform lung transplants. The lung transplant program has the highest one-year success rate in the world.

First human trials of robotically assisted laparoscopic surgery begin at UC San Diego Health.

1993
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UC San Diego Health opens a new clinic for celiac disease, estimated to affect approximately one in 3,000 to 4,000 people in the United States. 

The heart-lung transplant team performs the first infant heart transplant in San Diego history, transplanting a healthy heart into a critically ill 16-month-old boy. That same year, the region's first pediatric lung transplant is performed.

The Bannister Family House in Hillcrest opens, providing affordable lodging for families of patients from outside the area.

1994
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Drs. Gary Zadah (left) and Stuart Jamieson, 1994. Credit: UC San Diego Health
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The Anne and Abraham Ratner Children’s Eye Center opens to deliver specialized care for children.

Construction of Cellular and Molecular Medicine East Building is completed. The facility houses research laboratories for the Gene Therapy Program, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research-San Diego, Center for Human Reproduction and the Cancer Center.

1995
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UC San Diego Health surgeons successfully separate conjoined twins, born attached at the chest and abdomen. The separated twins are discharged nine days later.

The HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center at UC San Diego Medical Center receives a five-year National Institutes of Health grant to study effects of HIV/AIDS on the brain.

With support from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UC San Diego School of Medicine faculty work to improve immunization levels for children in underserved areas.

The Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease Center is founded to advance the emerging field of mitochondrial medicine.

The FDA approves the first oral drug for treating interstitial cystitis (a debilitating urinary bladder disease), called Elmiron (pentosan polysulfate sodium). The drug is based on research led by Dr. Lowell Parsons.

1996
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More than 100 UC San Diego Medical Center physicians are included in The Best Doctors in America: Pacific Region 1996-1997 published by Woodward/White.

UC San Diego School of Medicine celebrates the 25th anniversary of the graduation of its charter class. Dr. Eugene Braunwald, founding chairman of the Department of Medicine, delivers the commencement address.

The UC San Diego Student-Run Free Clinic is established to provide “a safety net for the safety net.” Free health care is provided to the underserved in the basement of a church in Pacific Beach.

Dr. Douglas Richman's laboratory is among the first to demonstrate HIV latency.

Dr. Gary Firestein and colleagues are the first to show that the p53 gene, recognized for suppressing cancer tumors, also plays a role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis.

1997
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The Blood and Marrow Transplant Program is designated the only National Marrow Donor Program-approved transplant center in San Diego.

Dr. Stuart Jamieson’s team implants a mechanical pump into a patient with severe heart failure. It is the region’s first electrically driven ventricular assist device (VAD) implantation

UC San Diego Health team performs its 1,000th pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE) and has the lowest known postoperative mortality rate.

The Women’s Pelvic Medicine Center is established. It is the region’s first center dedicated exclusively to diagnosing and treating pelvic floor disorders.

1998
 
UC San Diego Free Clinic volunteers with founder Dr. Ellen Beck (left, standing), circa 1998. Credit UC San Diego Health.
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UC San Diego’s Student-Run Free Clinic launches a free dental project.

UC San Diego Medical Center and Sharp HealthCare establish a joint Blood and Marrow Transplant Program.

The first lung volume reduction surgery in San Diego is performed.

The region’s first Women’s Incontinence Center opens.

The Birth Center opens. It is the only hospital-based birthing center with certified nurse-midwives.

1999
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UC San Diego’s Department of Pediatrics establishes a formal affiliation with Children’s Hospital and Health Center, now known as Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego.

A $20 million gift from Rebecca and John Moores boosts philanthropic efforts toward a new cancer center facility.

2000
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UC San Diego Cancer Center receives prestigious Comprehensive Cancer Center status from the National Cancer Institute.

An experimental protocol surgery using gene therapy to treat Alzheimer’s disease is performed for the first time in the nation. 

The Shiley EyeMobile for Children, a vision clinic on wheels, hits the road, offering vision screenings, exams and glasses to needy children.

UC San Diego Health surgeons perform the region's first off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery, a technically challenging procedure that lowers patients' risk of stroke.

Dr. Hal M. Hoffman and colleagues identify the genetic basis of familial cold autoinflammatory syndrome, a discovery that leads to the development of a treatment for this rare condition.

2001
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Palmer Taylor, PhD, chair of pharmacology, is named founding dean of the new UC San Diego Pharmacy School; the first class enters pharmacy school.

The University Health System Consortium recognizes the Stroke Center as one of the nation’s best treatment centers.

2002
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Ground is broken on the new School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences building.

UC San Diego names the new biomedical research building on the UC San Diego School of Medicine campus the Leichtag Family Foundation Biomedical Research Building, in recognition of the foundation’s $12 million gift.

Researchers led by Eric Courchesne are the first to identify a neurobiological early warning sign of autism, detectable during a child's first year of life.

2003
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A $30 million gift from The Skaggs Institute for Research is given to the pharmacy school, which is renamed Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

UC San Diego Health surgeons perform the county’s first “domino” liver transplant.

The Regents of the University of California approve planning for a new cardiovascular center and expansion of Thornton Hospital in La Jolla.

The Stroke Center receives Primary Stroke Center Certification from The Joint Commission.

UC San Diego Health dedicates the Hamilton Glaucoma Center (the first facility in the world dedicated solely to glaucoma research) and Joan and Irwin Jacobs Retina Center.

Interventional cardiologists perform the county’s first FDA-approved carotid stent to prevent stroke.

Dr. Michael Karin and colleagues are the first to document a molecular mechanism linking inflammation (through the pro-inflammatory gene I-kappa-B kinase) and cancer in mice.

2004
 
UC San Diego Medical Center, 2004. Credit: UC San Diego Library
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The William K. Warren Medical Research Center for Celiac Disease is established.

Dedication ceremonies mark the opening of the new Rebecca and John Moores Cancer Center.

A cross-border HIV/AIDS training program with San Diego State University and binational partners is established with United States Agency for International Development funding.

A $10 million gift from the Sulpizio family supports the new cardiovascular center project.

UC San Diego Health is the first in the region to use a full-field digital mammography machine to detect breast cancer.

Surgeons successfully perform the region’s first procedure on unborn twin boys to correct an often fatal condition called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.

Drs. Felipe Medeiros and Robert Weinreb develop the first validated glaucoma risk calculator, used to help determine when to initiate glaucoma therapy for patients.

2005
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UC San Diego Medical Center opens a new angiography suite with state-of-the-art imaging technology. These rooms, and a similar room at Thornton Hospital, are the first systems of this type in San Diego County.

The UC San Diego Health obstetrical team performs a rare surgery on a fetus partially outside the womb. It is believed to be only the second time that an ex utero intrapartum treatment (EXIT) surgery is performed in the county.

The 24-member charter class of Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences graduates and all pass the national licensure exam.

UC San Diego Medical Center receives prestigious international recognition by the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative for success in encouraging breastfeeding as the primary source of newborn nutrition. It is one of only a handful of academic hospitals to earn this distinction.

UC San Diego joins with Burnham Institute, Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Scripps Research Institute to form the San Diego Center for Regenerative Medicine.

2006
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The Regents of the University of California approve planning for a new inpatient tower, later named Jacobs Medical Center, to meet the region’s demand for complex inpatient medical care.

The Regional Burn Center receives a special grant from the philanthropic organization Las Patronas in recognition of its community service during the October wildfires.

UC San Diego School of Medicine receives a $1 million telemedicine learning center grant.

Ground is broken for the new Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center and expansion of Thornton Hospital.

The School of Medicine expands its class size from 122 to 134, adding 12 students enrolled in a special new curriculum, called the Program in Medical Education-Health Equity, developed to train physicians interested in caring for at-risk and historically underserved populations.

WebMD provides a fellowship to the Student Run Free Clinic Project to support training for providers interested in caring for the underinsured and uninsured.

One of six Autism Centers of Excellence in the country is established at UC San Diego.

Moores Cancer Center is one of the nation’s first medical facilities to offer the SAVI™ breast brachytherapy applicator. The device delivers radiotherapy after a lumpectomy, making it more likely that early-stage breast cancer patients can avoid mastectomy.

UC San Diego surgeons under the leadership of Dr. Santiago Horgan are among the nation's first to begin performing natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery, a form of incision-free surgery that reduces pain and scarring.

UC San Diego receives the American Heart Association's "Get with the Guidelines" Coronary Artery Disease Annual Performance Achievement Award for implementing a higher standard of care for all patients hospitalized with coronary artery disease.

2007
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Roger Tsien, PhD, professor of pharmacology, chemistry and biochemistry at UC San Diego School of Medicine, shares the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his work with glowing proteins, now being used as a surgical aid. 

UC San Diego Health surgeons are the nation’s first to remove an appendix and a gallbladder through the mouth and the first to remove an appendix through the vagina.

UC San Diego’s new Institute of Engineering in Medicine is created to bring engineering innovation to medicine. Nanoparticle “bombs” to kill cancer, molecular-sized bridges to repair damaged hearts, and scarless surgery techniques are now on the frontier of medical innovations, with the new institute leading the way.

The Division of Hospital Medicine receives the Society of Hospital Medicine's first "Team Approaches in Quality Improvement Award" for efforts to prevent venous thromboembolism.

UC San Diego Medical Center celebrates the expansion of the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to 49 beds. It is the only hospital in San Diego to have both a regional NICU and labor and delivery service in the same facility.

UC San Diego and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies establish the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny to formally explore the origins of humanity.

UC San Diego Medical Center receives its first American Heart Association’s “Get With the Guidelines” Gold Performance Achievement Award for using evidence-based guidelines in caring for heart disease and stroke patients.

UC San Diego Medical Center is the first in state to enroll patients in a stem cell clinical trial to treat congestive heart failure.

The STRokE DOC trial proves the effectiveness of remote-site diagnosis of stroke patients via telemedicine.

2008
 
UC San Diego Health surgical team pioneers natural orifice surgery with removal of appendix through the vagina, 2008. Credit: UC San Diego Health

 
 
Professor Roger Tsien, recipient of 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry. Credit: UC San Diego
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UC San Diego Medical Center is the first hospital in the region to offer microwave technology to destroy liver tumors.

Moores Cancer Center is the first hospital-based program in California to receive accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers, administered by the American College of Surgeons.

The San Diego Epigenome Center at Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at UC San Diego is established and is one of four federally supported Reference Epigenome Mapping Centers.

2009
 
UC San Diego Health physicians perform a complex surgery to treat brain lesions, called arteriovenous malformations, 2009. Credit: UC San Diego Health

 
 
UC San Diego Health surgeons remove a cancerous kidney with a single incision hidden in the belly button, a pivotal advancement in cancer treatment, 2009. Credit: UC San Diego
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Moores Cancer Center is designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology — a designation bestowed on less than six percent of imaging centers in California.

Moores Cancer Center begins participating in a statewide University of California collaboration called the ATHENA Breast Health Network. Approximately 150,000 women will be screened for breast cancer and followed for decades through the five UC medical centers.

Joan and Irwin Jacobs pledge $75 million to build the hospital of the future in San Diego, named Jacobs Medical Center in recognition of their contribution.

UC San Diego Health is honored as one of the nation’s top 15 major teaching hospitals by Thomson Reuters for the first time.

The Joint Commission awards a Gold Seal of Approval to UC San Diego Health’s Chronic Kidney Disease Program for quality of care. It is the first program of its kind to receive this disease-specific certification.

UC San Diego’s Clinical Translational Research Institute receives a $37.2 million Clinical and Translational Science Award to catalyze the delivery of scientific discoveries into improved patient care.

UC San Diego Health receives a $15.3 million Beacon Community Collaborative award from San Diego health care providers and other community partners — to pilot the wide-scale use of health information technology to improve patient care.

UC San Diego Health is named a Designated Hospital by Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE) — the only national geriatric initiative dedicated to improving the care of older hospitalized adults.

Surgeons perform what is believed to be the nation’s first stomach reduction via the mouth — a novel weight-loss procedure known as a sleeve gastrectomy.

2010
 
UC San Diego Health physicians travel to Haiti to help earthquake victims like this boy, excavated from the rubble of his home, 2010. Credit: UC San Diego Health.
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UC San Diego Health earns Magnet® status by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in recognition of its quality patient care, nursing excellence and innovations in nursing practice.

The Joint Commission approves disease specific care certification for ventricular assist device destination therapy at UC San Diego Health. Only eight California-based health systems offer this option.

Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center officially opens its doors as San Diego’s first dedicated cardiovascular center.

The Medical Education and Telemedicine building opens, bringing all training programs under one roof. The $70 million state-of-the-art training center includes the Center for the Future of Surgery, one of the largest, most comprehensive training facilities for surgeons in the world.

The East Campus Office Building opens to expand space and support for clinical trials.

The Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine (CALM) opens, with high-tech diagnostic services for clinically applied translational research. Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, which brings together five of the world’s top research institutions — UC San Diego, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, The Scripps Research Institute, and La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology — opens a $127 million facility at UC San Diego.

UC San Diego Health achieves Stage 7 of electronic medical record (EMR) adoption — a ranking devised by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics group and achieved by only 1.1 percent of U.S. hospitals in 2011. 

UC San Diego Health surgeons perform the West Coast’s first implant of the world’s only FDA-approved total artificial heart in a four-hour procedure. 

UC San Diego Health is ranked first in San Diego in U.S. News & World Report’s first “Best Hospitals” metro rankings. It has ranked #1 in San Diego every year since.

UC San Diego School of Medicine is among 27 research institutions selected to be part of the National Cancer Institute-funded Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network — to find agents that harness patients’ immune systems to fight their cancer. 

The National Institutes of Health awards UC San Diego School of Medicine researchers an inaugural grant to fast-track development of a novel Alzheimer’s disease therapy as part of its $50 million Blueprint for Neuroscience Research.

2011
 
Teaching facility within the Center for the Future of Surgery, 2011. Credit: UC San Diego Health

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Chief Nursing Officer Margarita Baggett (center) welcomes Magnet appraiser Patti Vanhook (right) to UC San Diego Medical Center, 2011. The designation of Magnet status is the highest credential for nursing excellence. Credit: UC San Diego Health.

 

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The cardiology team performs its 100th lead extraction surgery — a delicate procedure to replace the thin wiring of lifesaving heart devices such as pacemakers or implantable defibrillators.

Construction begins on Jacobs Medical Center and an official groundbreaking ceremony is held in April.

The Bariatric and Metabolic Institute is recognized as a fully accredited Level 1 Bariatric Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons Bariatric Surgery Center Network.

The Center for Transplantation is recognized as a heart-lung transplant Center of Excellence by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

The Birth Center welcomes baby number 4,000 on August 6.

Moores Cancer Center is one of the first in the nation recognized by the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative certification program for meeting its rigorous standards for high-quality cancer care.

A transplant team successfully performs the West Coast’s first ex-vivo liver resection.

A UC San Diego Health surgeon is the nation’s first to successfully implant the new FDA-approved LINX™ Reflux Management System, a treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease.

UC San Diego Health becomes one of the nation's first Comprehensive Stroke Centers.

2012
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UC San Diego Health radiation oncologists treat a patient at Senegal's only radiation clinic, as part of a non-profit cancer care outreach program, established by Radiating Hope, 2012. Credit: UC San Diego Health.

 

 
Larry Goldstein, PhD, and colleagues create Alzheimer’s neurons from “pluripotent” stem cells for the first time, 2012. Credit: Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego
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T. Denny Sanford pledges $100 million to establish Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center.

The five UC medical centers are collectively designated one of three Centers for Accelerated Innovations by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Surgeons perform their 3,000th pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE), more than any other institution in the world.

Moores Cancer Center is named the first and only San Diego-based National Comprehensive Cancer Network Member Institution for the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of cancer patient care.

Moores Cancer Center, Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Sanford- Burnham Medical Research Institute form the San Diego National Cancer Institute Cancer Centers Council to advance cancer treatments.

The Center on Gender Equity and Health is established.

2013
 
Teenager with dangerously high LDL levels recovers after a non-surgical treatment known as apheresis, 2013. Credit: UC San Diego Health.

 
 
UC San Diego Health surgeons perform their 3,000th pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE), 2013. Credit: UC San Diego Health.

 
 
The last beam is placed atop Jacobs Medical Center, 2013. Credit: Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego
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California Department of Public Health designates the five UC medical centers as the state's primary Ebola treatment centers.

Three first-in-human stem cell trials launch to treat diabetes, spinal cord injury and leukemia.

UC San Diego School of Medicine has the ninth highest total National Institutes of Health funding out of 136 schools of medicine.

The John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety & Quality Award is presented to "Patient Safety First … A California Partnership for Health," a statewide three-year partnership with Anthem Blue Cross, National Health Foundation, Regional Hospital Associations and UC San Diego Health. The program is credited with preventing 3,576 deaths and saving more than $63 million in otherwise unnecessary hospital costs between 2009 and 2012 statewide.

Leapfrog Group names UC San Diego Health a "Top Hospital" — an honor earned by less than 7 percent of U.S. hospitals for demonstrated excellence in hospital safety and quality.

All graduating pharmacy students pass the 2014 licensing exam. Eight of the school's nine graduating classes have had perfect pass rates on the exam.

A new drug developed by Dr. Thomas Kipps and colleagues enters a Phase 1 clinical trial. The drug, Cirmtuzumab, is a monoclonal antibody currently undergoing evaluation in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The antibody also shows promise in targeting cancer stems cells and in preventing the growth and spread of ovarian, lung, breast, colon, pancreatic and other cancers.

2014
 

UC San Diego Health’s Level 1 Trauma Center is a model for trauma centers around the world, 2014. Credit: Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego

 

 
Practicing safety protocols for treating a potential Ebola patient, 2014. Credit: UC San Diego Health
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Three faculty members are elected to the National Academy of Medicine, bringing the total number of UC San Diego faculty elected to the prestigious advisory group (current and emeritus) to 50.

UC San Diego Health is designated a National Network of Depression Centers member, a consortium of leading academic medical centers improving care for individuals with depressive and bipolar illnesses.

Moores Cancer Center and San Diego State University receive federal funding to continue community-based health programs aimed at reducing cancer disparities among Hispanics/Latinos.

UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute receives a five-year, $52-million National Institutes of Health grant to accelerate the translation of laboratory discoveries into new treatments and cures. Shiley Eye Institute, which includes the Anne and Abraham Ratner Children’s Eye Center, Joan and Irwin Jacobs Retina Center and the Hamilton Glaucoma Center, is established.

The Movement Disorder Center at UC San Diego Health is designated the 41st Center of Excellence in the National Parkinson Foundation’s global network, in recognition of its outstanding Parkinson’s research, outreach and care.

Truven Health Analytics names UC San Diego Health one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals for quality of patient care, operational efficiency and financial stability.

2015
 

Dr. Alice Yu, MD, PhD, professor emeritus, is among a group of UC San Diego scientists instrumental in developing the pediatric cancer drug Unituxin, which received FDA approval in 2015. Credit: UC San Diego

 

 
Pride lighting of UC San Diego Medical Center. Credit: UC San Diego Health
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UC San Diego Health and Sharp HealthCare form a joint liver transplantation program, expanding and enhancing services for patients with end-stage liver disease. UC San Diego Health is the only medical center in San Diego performing living-donor liver transplants.

Altman Clinical and Translational Research Center building opens.

UC San Diego Health researchers, with colleagues in China, use stem cells to restore vision in infants after cataract surgery.

UC San Diego Health joins national clinical trial testing a gene therapy treatment for individuals with hemophilia B.

The 245-bed Jacobs Medical Center opens, redefining the standard of inpatient care in oncology, advanced surgery and high-risk obstetrics and neonatal care.

UC San Diego Health surgeons perform the region's first heart-liver transplant. The academic medical center is the only local hospital to perform heart-lung, living-donor liver, and multi-organ chest-abdominal transplants.

2016
Ribbon-cutting of the Altman Clinical and Translational Research building in La Jolla, 2016. Credit: UC San Diego

 
Jacobs Medical Center opens November 20, 2016.
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