A Brief History

Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine had its beginnings in September 1909 when it affiliated with Illinois Medical College (associated with Reliance Medical College) and created the Medical Department of Loyola University. In 1910, Bennett Medical College approached Loyola as it was seeking an affiliation agreement with a university. This merger resulted in the establishment of Bennett Medical College of Loyola University in 1910 and gave Loyola’s president and trustees the ability to supervise the curriculum and prohibit doctrine opposed to Christian morality. Its first commencement was in 1910.  As its five-year agreement came to an end, Loyola’s trustees moved for closer control and purchased the school.

Loyola’s medical school was accredited by the Council on Medical Education and Hospitals of the American Medical Association on February 9, 1920 and has been a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges since 1921.  (The school has since been continuously accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the governing body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit the MD degree. It will be undergoing its next accreditation cycle during the 2016-17 academic year.)

On April 15, 1948, Loyola’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution to name the school the Stritch School of Medicine (SSOM) in honor of Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago, as acknowledgement of the prominent role he played in securing Stritch’s future through archdiocesan monetary support and fund raising. In August 1962, 62 acres of land adjacent to the Hines Veterans Administration Hospital was given to Loyola University Chicago by the United States government to establish the Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC). In 1967, SSOM moved to the new campus, but temporarily used vacated WWII barrack-style buildings for its classes. By 1968, the new medical school facility at the north end of the campus was fully functional.

Over the next several decades, clinical facilities were added in rapid succession to LUMC, including a Level I Trauma Center (the first in Illinois), Burn Center, Mulcahy Outpatient Center, Lifestar helicopter (now separately managed), and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  The 1980s saw the construction of the Russo Surgical Pavilion, which housed additional operating rooms, intensive care beds, cardiac catheterization laboratories, and a new neonatal intensive care unit.  In the 1990s, an administrative building, parking deck, energy building, helicopter hangar, oral health center, cancer center, new emergency room, new burn center, Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital of Loyola, and Ronald McDonald House were all completed.  Since 2000, Loyola has built a new outpatient center, added another parking deck, and completed a hospital expansion.

In 1997, the Stritch School of Medicine moved into its new medical education building that in 2001 was named the John and Herta Cuneo Center.  The building became a model for 21st century medical schools, and our new physical facility provided the infrastructure for a number of curricular innovations.  It also supported our deeply held values, inspired by our Catholic, Jesuit heritage:   commitment to excellence, care for the individual, and community service.  These values have created a distinctive ethical, scholarly, and professional atmosphere for faculty, students, and housestaff.  Among our curricular innovations are: an integrated three-year Patient Centered Medicine curriculum; online educational bioethics programs through the Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics & Health Policy; enhancing teaching excellence through the Leischner Institute for Medical Education (LIME); an integrated curriculum in spirituality and medicine; opportunities to serve the community locally as well as in Ignatian immersion activities in foreign countries; advanced computer technology and infrastructure support; active interdisciplinary research opportunities; and an MD/PhD dual degree program. 

In 2013, the Department of Medical Education was established to promote innovation, best practices, and leadership in medical and related health sciences education. The department is the catalyst for incorporating the distinctive values of the Stritch School of Medicine across the curriculum. DOME supports curricular efforts related to social justice and concern for marginalized and vulnerable populations, the role of faith in medical practice, and ethical standards of clinical decision making as hallmarks of a Jesuit and Catholic medical education. Systematic, lifelong reflection on one’s professional and personal development as a physician is DOME’s signature formative educational methodology. DOME is home to a growing cadre of academic educators who focus on teaching and pedagogical scholarship and works collaboratively with key clinical departments to further these common aims.  In recognition and to provide support of the roles that DOME would undertake, the Leischner Institute for Medical Education was incorporated into DOME and to signify that event the department’s name was changed to Ralph P. Leischner, Jr., MD Department of Medical Education.

Stritch School of Medicine includes eight dedicated teaching spaces called Learning Clusters.  They allow different classroom set-ups to accommodate varying educational formats, student study space, and the ability to simultaneously deliver online examinations to an entire medical school class through the dedicated computers at each student space.  Two large lecture halls provide seating for 150 and 200, two additional Case Method Rooms each seat 78 students and all of these rooms have the ability to remotely broadcast sessions to other rooms/sites to accommodate larger groups.  The entire building allows wireless connectivity, but wired computers are also located throughout the building as well as in the Computer Assisted Learning Lab (CALL) allowing students’ access to the Loyola University Medical Education Network (LUMEN), health sciences library, email and internet.  There are 16 smaller seminar rooms (accommodate 10-12 people) that are used for small group sessions and as additional sit-down/study space by students.

The lower level houses multifunction laboratories for dissection and prosection activities.  In 2009 further enhancements were added and the Center for Simulation Education was formed (http://hsd.luc.edu/simulation/).  These additions include the Stamm Procedural Training Center & Bedside Teaching Lab and the Advanced Procedure Education Center. With the Selfridge Clinical Skills Center (14 patient exam rooms that simulate an ambulatory experience using standardized patients), a spectrum of educational innovations is available within the John and Herta Cuneo Center.  This adjacency has facilitated integrating these facilities into the curriculum to support clinical learning, integration of basic science education, assessment, and interprofessional and team-based learning.

The building’s aesthetic centerpiece is a second-floor atrium surrounded by three student communities.  The second floor also serves as a mall for student activities and services, including admissions, computer lab, financial aid, bursar, registration and records, student affairs, Academic Center for Excellence and Accessibility, and ministry.  In 1997, a new fitness center adjacent to Stritch opened for students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding communities. All medical students are automatically enrolled. 

The Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and Center for Collaborative Learning (MNSON) building opened in August 2012.  In addition to housing administrative offices, it also has a lecture hall (seating for 175) and two classrooms with seating for a total of 80, but each individually capable of being divided into smaller classrooms.  MNSON is also the home for our Health Sciences Library and its Vincent J. Galante, M.D. Information Commons. Both remain open for student use 24/7.  An adjacent “Quiet Study Room” provides additional study space for 79 individuals.  The third floor houses the Walgreens Virtual Hospital, a 7,000-square-foot-facility with six state-of-the-art simulation bays each complemented by a control room and debriefing rooms. When not being used, the debriefing rooms serve as additional small group meeting rooms or student study space.  Each floor of MNSON is attached to the John and Herta Cuneo Center allowing us to become one integrated learning and educational community.

In April 2016, our Center for Translational Research and Education (CTRE) was formally opened.  Providing over 250,000 square feet of research space and an integrated animal facility, the CTRE also has an auditorium (seating capacity of 266) and one classroom (seating capacity of 90, but divisible into two rooms of 45 each).  This facility is adjacent to the Cuneo and MNSON buildings.  Its advanced architecture supports current and new research programs as we continue to develop a focus that aligns pre-clinical and transitional research with Loyola University Health System’s (LUHS) clinical programs.  Together with the SSOM, MNSON and Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC) partnerships, the CTRE will advance patient and population care.

Prior to July 1, 2011, the University owned and had oversight of its healthcare affiliate Loyola University Health System (LUHS). At that time, LUHS oversaw other health care related entities, including Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), which was separately incorporated in 1995. On July 1, 2011, the University completed a transaction with Trinity Health Corporation, pursuant to which Trinity replaced the University as the sole member of the Health System, and Trinity assumed control of LUMC, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, and the other health care affiliates. An affiliation agreement was developed during this sale that reserved Loyola University Chicago oversight over academic matters; secured the educational, research and service missions of SSOM; identified SSOM as the primary academic partner of LUHS and LUMC; identified LUMC as the primary clinical partner of SSOM in the Chicago metropolitan area; and established a closed staff model at LUMC.

To learn more about the history of the school of medicine you can read Loyola University and its Medical Center: A century of courage and turmoil by Richard A. Matré.