Collage of UC Davis School of Medicine archival photos, celebrating 50 years


The Regents of the University of California vote to establish a medical school at UC Davis.

The Pioneers of UC Davis School of Medicine

“The Pioneers” — left to right, Drs. Hunter, Wolfman, Davis, Mrak, Bolt, Tupper, Beljan, Lindsay and Carlson. (1972)


The School of Medicine affiliates with Sacramento County Hospital.


Dr. C. John Tupper, founding dean, arrives in Davis.


The first class enrolls. Five of the 48 students are women, placing UC Davis above the national average for gender equity.

The first seven faculty members, known among themselves as the “Lucky Seven” arrive.


School of Medicine affiliates with David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base to expand opportunities for practitioners, students, residents and fellows.


UC Davis students establish the Asian Health Clinic, the school’s first free, student-run clinic for the underserved. The clinic is later renamed the Paul Hom Asian Clinic in memory of co-founder Paul Hom.

First graduating class of 1972, UC Davis School of Medicine

The first graduation for UC Davis School of Medicine takes place in 1972.


The School of Medicine graduates it first class.


The UC Regents purchase Sacramento Medical Center for $1.


The school affiliates with the Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in Martinez, providing greater training opportunities for students, residents and fellows.


The Family Practice Network Program begins, bringing residency training to five community hospitals from central California to the East Bay.

The medical school, circa 1977

The medical school campus, circa 1977


The four-story Medical Sciences Complex is completed on the Davis campus, housing the School of Medicine’s laboratories, offices and classrooms (Renamed Tupper Hall in 1996).


The Sacramento Medical Center officially becomes the University of California, Davis Medical Center.


Dr. Hibbard E. Williams takes the helm as the school’s second dean.


The School of Medicine obtains a federal grant to boost student diversity.

School of Medicine classroom, 1970s

A School of Medicine lecture hall, 1970s


The School of Medicine affiliates with Kaiser Permanente to increase training opportunities for medical students, residents and fellows, launching a long-term collaborative relationship that improves the health and well-being of California residents.


Frank Loge is named director of hospital and clinics.


The School of Medicine’s entering class is 53 percent female, with 49 women and 44 men. The national average is only 32 percent.

The medical center, early 1980s

UC Davis Medical Center, early 1980s


Total research funding from the federal government and other external sources reaches $23 million.


  • The Alumni Association established and awarded its first Distinguished Alumni Award to Janice Dutcher, Class of 1975, to recognize outstanding contributions of society through medical research.
  • UC Davis Medical Center is designated a Level 1 trauma center.
  • Entering class ranked fourth highest among the nation’s 127 medical schools for number of under-represented minorities (27.8 percent).


  • UC Davis designated one of seven national Centers for AIDS Research by the National Institutes of Health, recognizing the accomplishments of a multidisciplinary team of scientists in the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, and their collaborative research on human, macaque and feline AIDS.
  • The Center for AIDS Research, Education and Services (CARES) is established.


The UC Davis Cancer Center opens. Within a decade, it becomes a nationally recognized center, known for its unique cancer research partnership with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Telemedicine links up patients and doctors

The telehealth program connects remote patients and their physicians with UC Davis Health specialists.


  • The Center for Comparative Medicine is completed.
  • UC Davis establishes its first telemedicine link with Colusa Community Hospital, enabling women to remain in their own community for delivery services.
  • Edwin G. Krebs, founding chair of the Department of Biological Chemistry, shares the Nobel Prize in Medicine for phosphorylation research work that he began at UC Davis School of Medicine.


  • Gerald S. Lazarus is appointed the third dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine.
  • The Women’s Health Initiative, the largest clinical trial ever undertaken in the United States, begins at UC Davis, one of 16 centers nationwide.
  • The Center for Neuroscience opens in Research Park, housing a broad array of eminent researchers who study the brain of the cellular level.


UC Davis Health System is established, integrating business operations and strategic planning for UC Davis’s physician group, medical school and medical center.

Michael Chapman, M.D., and Lawrence J. Ellison, Oracle CEO

Michael Chapman, M.D., and Oracle CEO Lawrence J. Ellison


  • Oracle CEO Lawrence J. Ellison established a $5 million endowment for orthopaedic research, contributing to a record $12.7 million in private support from individuals, corporations and foundations to the School of Medicine and medical center.
  • UC Davis School of Medicine is ranked second among comprehensive medical schools by U.S. News & World Report.


  • Joseph Silva, Jr. is named fourth dean of UC Davis School of Medicine.
  • The nation’s first combined family practice/ob-gyn residency training program begins at UC Davis to better meet the needs of physicians who plan to practice medicine in rural communities.
comparative medicine photo, UC Davis

The Center for Comparative Medicine is established.


  • The Center for Comparative Medicine is established to study infectious diseases common to both animals and humans.
  • UC Davis establishes the M.I.N.D. Institute, a unique interdisciplinary institute, to conduct research and provide clinical programs focused on autism and neurodevelopmental disorders.


Martha H. Marsh is named director of hospital and clinics.


  • Robert E. Chason is named director of hospital and clinics.
  • Total research funding from federal and other external sources at the School of Medicine tops $72 million.
  • The medical and veterinary schools launch a new master’s degree program in public health to address the changing health needs of California communities. The program combines the strengths of both schools, including strong programs in medicine, epidemiology, preventive veterinary medicine, agricultural health, zoonoses and nutrition.
  • UC Davis Cancer Center achieves National Cancer Institute designation.
baby simulator and Dr. Emily Andrada

Dr. Emily Andrada demonstrating baby simulator in the Center for Virtual Care.


The Center for Virtual Care, a state-of-the-art facility consisting of a variety of cutting-edge tools such as patient simulators, is established by the School of Medicine and medical center to provide a realistic setting in which students and established professionals can develop critical thinking skills and practice a variety of techniques that play out in real time.


UC Davis General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) receives NIH funding.


Claire Pomeroy is appointed dean of the School of Medicine and the first vice chancellor for human health sciences.


  • The Clinical and Translational Science Center is established with $24.8 million from the NIH. UC Davis is one of the first 12 institutions in the country to receive this coveted award.
  • The Education Building opens on the UC Davis Medical Center campus, bringing all four years of medical school activities to Sacramento.
  • Ann Madden Rice appointed CEO of UC Davis Medical Center.
Gordon and Betty Moore

Gordon and Betty Moore — Photo taken by Susanna Frohman, San Jose Mercury News


The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation donated $100 million in founding support to launch the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. The record gift helps to establish a professional nursing school in Sacramento that emphasizes leadership, scientific rigor and multidisciplinary education.


Rural-PRIME launches to increase health care access for underserved populations living in rural areas. The unique program offers a range of experiences to students interested in rural primary care medicine, from public health and community service to the use of leading-edge medical technologies like telemedicine.

Three years later, UC Davis, UC Merced and UCSF Fresno launched San Joaquin Valley PRIME (SJV PRIME) to create physician leaders specifically trained in addressing the unique challenges of underserved populations in California Central Valley.


The UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures, a facility supported by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, opens on the Sacramento campus. The university’s hub for stem cell science, the $62 million facility includes Northern California’s largest academic Good Manufacturing Practice laboratory, with state-of-the-art equipment and manufacturing rooms for cellular and gene therapies.

Thomas Nesbitt

Thomas S. Nesbitt, M.D., M.P.H.


UC Davis Cancer Center earns “comprehensive” status from the National Cancer Institute, joining only 40 other U.S. institutions with this designation.


Thomas Nesbitt, who has guided UC Davis as a national and international leader in telehealth services, education, policy and research, is named interim School of Medicine dean and interim vice chancellor for Human Health Sciences.


  • Julie Freischlag appointed dean of the School of Medicine and vice chancellor for human health sciences.
  • The School of Medicine and Kaiser Permanente Northern California partner to launch one of the nation’s first three-year medical school programs, the Accelerated Competency-based Education in Primary Care program (ACE-PC). ACE-PC students complete the same pre-clerkship requirements and clerkship rotations as students in the traditional four-year track, but they enter practice earlier — and with less of the debt that burdens new physicians in the lower-earning primary care professions.
  • The Behavioral Health Center of Excellence is established with initial funding from California’s Mental Health Services Act to bridge neuroscience research, mental health care and policy to improve the lives of those touched by mental illness. Former Senate pro Tem and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg named visiting professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
School of Medicine, Dean's Induction Ceremony, 2015

Induction Ceremony, 2015, UC Davis School of Medicine


School of Medicine and The Permanente Medical Group launched the Prep Médico program — short for “Preparando Estudiantes Para Ser Médicos,” or “Preparing Students to Be Physicians” — an initiative to produce more doctors well-prepared to advance Latino health.


The Precision Medicine initiative led by Frederick J. Meyers is established.

Grateful patient Ernest E. Tschannen gives a record $38.5 million in gifts and pledges to support the UC Davis Eye Center and the Center for Vision Science, making Tschannen the largest individual donor to UC Davis in the university’s 108-year history.


  • Lars Berglund is appointed interim dean of the School of Medicine.
  • The University of California Firearms Violence Research Center, funded with a $5 million appropriation from the state of California for five years, launches on the UC Davis Sacramento campus.
  • Betty Irene Moore Hall opened on the Sacramento campus, completing the health education core of UC Davis and promoting innovative, interprofessional education.
  • Total National Institutes of Health (NIH) research funding tops $176 million. UC Davis School of Medicine is ranked #26 for NIH funding, placing the school among the top 20 percent of all US medical schools.
School of Medicine graduation 2018

Commencement day, School of Medicine, 2018


  • David Lubarsky appointed vice chancellor for human health sciences and CEO of UC Davis Health.
  • 200 female faculty members promoted to the rank of full professor as of this year.
  • The School of Medicine includes over 400 enrolled students and 4,200 graduates.
  • The UC Davis Aggie Square satellite campus planning is off and running with an infusion of $2.8 million in state funds.
  • As of 2018, the SOM has four tailored tracks within the Community Health Scholars Program: ACE-PC; Rural-PRIME; REACH-PRIME; and TEACH-MS.
  • The School of Medicine is ranked #10 in nation for primary care education by U.S. News and World Report.