Department of Medicine History and Milestones

Brigham and Women’s Hospital is an international leader in virtually every area of medicine and has been the site of pioneering breakthroughs that have improved lives around the world.

The following is a listing of notable Department of Medicine milestones:

2015 In September, Stephen J. Elledge, PhD, Division of Genetics is awarded the 2015 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, also known as “America’s Nobel”, for laying a foundation for understanding how cells detect and repair DNA damage.

2015 In May, BWH launched a new Center of Excellence—The Lung Center—and The Lung Research Center to provide the highest level of personalized pulmonary and thoracic surgery care to patients. The Lung Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) provides comprehensive, customized care for all lung patients by bringing together a multidisciplinary team of medical and surgical experts from the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Thoracic Surgery and the Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology within Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center.

2015 In September, the Department of Medicine launched a new division, the Division of Palliative Medicine, to relieve suffering and enhance quality of life for people living with serious illness and their families.

2014 In March, BWH’s Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center celebrated its 40th anniversary. Primary Care physicians within the Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care  see more than 25,000 visits each year at this health center.

2014 In January, BWH announced the launch of the Heart & Vascular Center—a fully integrated and aligned service dedicated to delivering life-giving breakthroughs for patients. The way we deliver care to our patients within the Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center– integrating all of our cardiovascular services in a Center of Excellence with a truly collaborative environment that fosters teamwork amongst all of our specialists. The Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Heart & Vascular Center provides comprehensive, patient-centered care for men and women with heart disease.

2013 In March, a report of the recommendations, led by Robert C. Green, MD, MPH, Division of Genetics, outlined a list of genetic conditions, genes and variants that laboratories performing clinical sequencing should seek and report to the physicians that ordered the testing- regardless of the original reasons for which the test was ordered.

2012 In October, a first-of-its-kind clinical trial, led by J. Michael Gaziano, MD, chief of the Division of Aging at BWH, and Howard D. Sesso, ScD, an associate epidemiologist in the BWH Division of Preventive Medicine, reported long-term effects of multivitamins for the first time. In a landmark clinical trial, they found that a daily multivitamin taken by men over 50 reduces cancer risk, but does not reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease.

2012 In August, Paul M Ridker, MD, principal investigator and member of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine,  launched a new randomized clinical trial, funded by The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), to determine whether lowering inflammation with a common anti-inflammatory drug will in turn reduce rates of recurrent heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular death in high risk patients who have already suffered a prior heart attack.  This study is the culmination of more than fifteen years of research by investigators worldwide demonstrating that inflammation is a central part of the process that leads to heart attack and stroke.

2012 In July, Brigham and Women's Hospital was once again recognized as one of the nation's top hospitals, ranking ninth in the 2012 U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll of America's Best Hospitals. Other top 10 specialties include: Cardiology and Heart Surgery (#9), Diabetes and Endocrinology (#7), Nephrology(#6), Pulmonary (#10), and Rheumatology (#5). This year marks the 20th consecutive year that BWH has appeared on the Honor Roll.

2012 In July, the Department of Medicine launched a new division, the Channing Division of Network Medicine, focused on applying systems biology and network science approaches to complex diseases.

2011 In January, Brookside Community Health Center kicked off its 40th anniversary of serving the community by honoring the efforts of those who make a difference in Jamaica Plain and its surrounding neighborhoods. Brookside Community Health is one of the Health Centers within the Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care.

2009 BWH became the second hospital in the country to be recognized as having a Comprehensive Academic Sleep Program of Distinction by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), which sets standards and promotes excellence in sleep medicine health care, education and research. The academic sleep program at BWH is led by co-directors, Charles A. Czeisler, PhD, MD, Chief of the Division of Sleep Medicine, and Atul Malhotra, MD, Medical Director of the BWH Sleep Disorders Research Program.

2009 BWH and Mass General Hospital (MGH) open the Brigham and Women’s/Mass General Health Care Center at Patriot Place. The state-of-the-art facility offers convenient primary care and other medical and surgical specialty care to BWH and MGH patients in that area of the state.

2008 The BWH Osher Clinical Center is officially dedicated, offering patients access to a full array of complimentary and integrative care from a team of credentialed acupuncturists, chiropractors and massage therapists along with care providers from Medicine, Psychiatry, Nutrition, Physical Therapy and consultations from Orthopaedics, Rheumatology, and other specialties.

2008 In the landmark JUPITER trial, Paul Ridker, MD, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and more than a dozen other BWH investigators found a way to cut in half the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death in men and women who had low levels of cholesterol but were still at high risk for vascular disease due to increased levels of inflammation or high sensitivity C-reactive protein.

2008 The first patients are welcomed to the Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Cardiovascular Center, as the Watkins Cardiovascular Clinic, which now combines Cardiovascular Medicine, Cardiac Surgery and Vascular Surgery in one location, officially opened in June. The inpatient move took place in July.

2007 BWH opened the city of Boston’s first Asian Renal Clinic to better serve the approximately 200,000 Asians living in the Boston area.

2006 BWH launched, in collaboration with the NIH and Amgen, the first Women’s Genome Health Study to find the genetic causes for the development of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other common health disorders. BWH investigators in the Women's Genome Health Study included Dr. Julie E Buring, senior epidemiologic investigator, Dr. Daniel Chasman, director of Computational Biology, Dr. Robert Zee, director of the Laboratory for Genetic Epidemiology, and Dr. David Kwiatkowski, Division of Medical Oncology and of the Harvard Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics.

2005 The Brigham and Women's Hospital Biomedical Research Institute (BRI) is established to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery by encouraging interdepartmental and interdisciplinary research among the Hospital's research community. The virtual research institute also serves as an internal and external voice for researchers.

2001, BWH was one of the first hospitals in the nation to establish an independent Division of Sleep Medicine within the Department of Medicine.

1998 BWH forges an affiliation with Faulkner Hospital in Jamaica Plain, a highly respected community teaching hospital founded in 1900. At Faulkner, patients receive top-notch, routine primary and adult medical and surgical care, as well as mental health, emergency, ambulatory and diagnostic services. Under the new alliance, these patients also gain easy access to BWH should they ever require advanced specialty care.

1985 The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, an organization co-founded by BWH cardiologist Bernard Lown, MD.

1980 Brigham and Women’s Hospital opens its doors, welcoming patients to a new, state-of-the-art facility six years after the formal affiliation of three distinguished predecessors, the Boston Hospital for Women, the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital and the Robert Breck Brigham Hospital.

1963 The Clinical Research Center for Juvenile Arthritis is established, one of the first such clinics in the nation.

1914 The Robert Breck Brigham Hospital, founded with a bequest from Peter Bent Brigham’s nephew, opens to serve patients with arthritis and other debilitating joint diseases.  

1913 The Peter Bent Brigham Hospital opens the medical wards and appoints its first chief of medicine, Dr. Henry Christian.

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