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Spring 2005

UCLA Medical Center Celebrates 50 Years of Healing

When UCLA Medical Center opened 50 years ago, the structure of DNA was not yet defined, never mind the sequencing of the entire human genome. There were women, and there were elderly, but little focus put on the specific health needs of these populations. There were no personal computers, personal data assistants, or Internet.

The hospital that opened its doors in 1955 was a smaller structure than the one today, and was surrounded by temporary Quonset huts that housed many of the institution’s research programs. The UCLA School of Medicine had opened two years prior, with a class of 28 students who met in makeshift facilities to begin their training.

In just five decades, UCLA Medical Center has joined the ranks of the nation’s elite medical centers and has become a leader in patient care, medical research and teaching. Among astounding achievements in medicine through the decades, some UCLA accomplishments include: the first open-heart surgery in the western United States; the development of tissue-typing techniques, which revolutionized transplantation; the development of the PET scanner, which revolutionized medical imaging; and the identification of AIDS.

 “UCLA Medical Center has adapted to challenges and contributed to discoveries never imagined five decades ago,” says David L. Callender, M.D., M.B.A., director of UCLA Medical Center and associate vice chancellor of UCLA Hospital System. “Our vision continues as we build for the future with our technically advanced, new hospitals currently under construction in Westwood and in Santa Monica.”





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