The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.


THE Board of Regents of the University of Michigan in 1892 gave support to a program of postgraduate education when it authorized the faculty of the Department of Medicine and Surgery to admit medical graduates to undergraduate classes. This provision of the Regents was made in recognition of the rapid increase of medical knowledge. The discoveries of Pasteur were bringing about great changes in the practice of medicine and offering renewed hope in many of the most baffling problems in both medical and surgical fields. The medical graduate in search of further educational opportunities was being forced to look to the Old World medical centers. In extending the teaching facilities of the undergraduate Medical Department, the Regents, in a forward-looking policy, provided an opportunity in this country for the medical graduate to keep abreast of modern advances in practice.

The Department of Medicine and Surgery, in addition to admitting graduates to already established courses, the subject matter of which had been greatly increased since their graduation, offered special graduate courses in hygiene, bacteriology, electrotherapeutics, microscopic and gross pathology, physiology, histology, chemistry, and therapeutics. These were given once a year, in the summer, and were usually six weeks in length. This program continued with some interruption until 1920. As a substitute, one day of teaching each month was offered in the form of a composite program for practitioners. This plan, too, was finally discontinued, and various medical organizations, notably the Michigan State Medical Society, established postgraduate conferences throughout the state to which members of the University teaching staff frequently contributed. These conferences were well received by the medical profession, but there was a growing demand for greater continuity and more academic direction of the program.

In January, 1926, representatives of the University of Michigan Medical School and the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery were invited to meet with the council of the Michigan State Medical Society to consider ways and means of meeting the rapidly growing needs for postgraduate study in Michigan. The meeting was held in Ann Arbor, and the officials of the council presented a résumé of their efforts in this field, of the difficulties experienced, and of the growing demands. Dr. Clarence C. Little, President of the University, and the faculties of both schools responded sympathetically and a committee of three, representing the two medical Page  924schools and the Michigan State Medical Society, was assigned to study the problem for a year and report at a similar joint conference at the next annual meeting of the council. The committee was composed of Dr. Carl D. Camp, Dr. Douglas Donald, and Dr. James D. Bruce, chairman.

The committee presented its report in February, 1927. It expressed the opinion that the obligation to inaugurate and maintain a program of postgraduate education should be assumed by the University because of its state support. It was further stated in the report:

This does not mean that all postgraduate medical study should be conducted at the University Medical School and Hospital. There are many centers in this state and nation distinguished for special attainments in the various departments of medicine which should be made accessible for postgraduate study, and to which physicians should be recommended and sent for advanced and special work. The University Medical School, in which postgraduate study in medicine is offered and administered, should seek and maintain the closest co-operation with those extramural centers with a view of utilizing their facilities. Physicians in these centers who have distinguished themselves might be invited to become extramural members of the faculty of postgraduate medical instruction.

(Journ. Mich. Med. Soc., 26 [1927]: 189-90.)
The committee recommended that a Department of Postgraduate Medicine in the Medical School of the University of Michigan be established to direct these activities. A tentative schedule of study periods was suggested.

The council and the two medical schools were in complete accord with the recommendations. Dean W. H. MacCraken and Dr. A. P. Biddle, representing the Detroit College of Medicine and Surgery, stated that the Detroit College could assume neither direction nor financial support, but promised the co-operation of its faculty, together with the use of laboratories and buildings, if and when any part of the program should be developed in Detroit. Dr. Little, on the part of the University, promised to place the matter before the Board of Regents with his approval. This he did in a communication to the Board on June 17, 1927, proposing the establishment of a Division of Postgraduate Medicine. In the absence of Regent Sawyer the matter was laid upon the table for consideration at the next meeting of the Board, June 24, at which time the following action was recorded:

The subject of post-graduate medical courses was taken from the table… The Board approved the establishment, within the Medical School, of a Department of Post-Graduate Medicine and named Dr. James D. Bruce as the head thereof, without additional salary, with the provision that during the year 1927-28 a beginning would be made toward placing the work of this department in operation. The organization of the Department of Post-Graduate Medicine is to proceed, under the charge of Dr. Bruce and under the usual conditions governing a department of the Medical School …

(R.P., 1926-29, p. 303.)
The direction of the program has been shared since its beginning by committees representing the profession, the Council of the Michigan State Medical Society and the Wayne County Medical Society.

The first postgraduate courses were given May 27 to June 24, 1929, at the Receiving Hospital, Hermann Kiefer Hospital, and Children's Hospital in Detroit. Twenty-four doctors registered for the course in internal medicine and twenty for the surgery course. In 1938-39, the tenth year of this program, fifteen short, intensive courses in various fields of medical practice were given in Detroit and Ann Arbor. Extramural teaching programs of eight days each were given in various centers: Saginaw, Battle Page  925Creek-Kalamazoo jointly, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson-Lansing jointly, Traverse City-Cadillac-Manistee-Petoskey jointly, and Ann Arbor. Summer session courses were available to medical practitioners, and during the school year composite courses were arranged upon special request. Doctors were enrolled from approximately one-half of all the cities and towns in the state, as well as from a considerable number of other states. The total registration in courses increased from forty-four in the first year to 2,392 in the tenth year.

Since the inauguration of the postgraduate medical program all the professional schools in the University have engaged in meeting the educational needs of graduates in their respective fields. As a further evidence of the acceptance of this general policy the following is quoted from the recommendations of the University Council to the Regents, which the latter acted upon favorably in August, 1939:

In view of the rapid growth of continuing professional training afforded by various units of the University, as described in the report submitted at the April meeting of the University Council, and in view of the likelihood that there will be pressure for further development of educational opportunities along these lines, it is recommended that a University Committee on Continuing Professional Education be appointed by the President with the approval of the Board of Regents. The Committee is to consist of representatives of the Schools of Medicine, Law, Dentistry, Education, Business Administration, Forestry and Conservation, Nursing, and Music, of the Colleges of Engineering, Architecture, and Pharmacy, and of the Division of Hygiene and Public Health. In addition, the Dean of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, and the Dean of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies, or their designated representatives, shall be ex-officio members of the Committee to represent such professional fields as may be embraced within the jurisdiction of their respective units.

The Committee shall be authorized to act through an Executive Committee of not less than five members under such procedure as it may itself establish. The functions of the Committee shall be twofold: (1) to keep itself informed of the experience of the various units, with a view to harmonizing and improving established activities for continuing professional education; and (2) to advise the President, on the basis of this knowledge, concerning the desirability and character of new projects for continuing professional education. This University Committee on Continuing Professional Education is to replace the University Committee on Postgraduate Education authorized by the Board of Regents at its meeting of December, 1933.

(R.P., 1939-42, pp. 2-3.)


Announcement, Department of Medicine and Surgery [Medical School, 1915 — ] (title varies), Univ. Mich., 1892-1940.
"Aspects of Medical Education,"Univ. Mich. Bur. Alum. Rel., Gen. Bull., No. 28 (1939): 11-12.
Bruce, James D."Developments in Postgraduate Medicine."Univ. Mich. Bur. Alum. Rel., Gen. Bull., No. 20 (1937): 5-6.
Calendar, Univ. Mich., 1892-1914.
Camp, Carl D., , Douglas Donald, , and James D. Bruce. "Post-Graduate Medical School."Journ. Mich. State Med. Soc., 26 (1927): 188-91.
Catalogue …, Univ. Mich., 1914-23.
Catalogue and Register, Univ. Mich., 1923-27.
President's Report, Univ. Mich., 1893-1909, 1920-40.
Proceedings of the Board of Regents …, 1891-1940. (R.P.)