Our History

The CUNY School of Medicine shares City College of New York’s original mission to offer an affordable education to a diverse student population.

The Center for Biomedical Education was established in 1973 to address longstanding challenges of attracting physicians to primary care specialties and the geographic areas of greatest need. High-achieving high school graduates were admitted to an accelerated five-year curriculum that integrated the requirements for a baccalaureate degree with the content of traditional preclinical medical education. Successful students were subsequently matched to partner accredited medical schools for the clinical (clerkship) training and conferral of the MD degree. In 1978, the Center for Biomedical Education was renamed the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education (SDSBE). 


In 2016, SDSBE transformed its existing structure into a fully accredited medical school and was named the CUNY School of Medicine (CUNY Med).  The School recruits and educates a diverse, talented pool of students to its seven-year BS/MD program, and expands access to medical education to individuals from underserved communities and to those whose racial/ethnic backgrounds are traditionally underrepresented in the medical profession. Since our founding, our BS/MD program has graduated ~2,500 students of whom 97% received the MD degree. Among members of the three graduating classes since CUNY Med was established, 99% matched to residency programs.


CUNY Med also offers a physician assistant (PA) program – founded at the School in 1978 – which provides its students increased access to physician assistant education. The PA program was founded in 1970 as a joint project of the Harlem Hospital Center and the Columbia University School of Public Health to train individuals with prior healthcare experience to practice primary care in communities of greatest need. Our Program is one of the oldest in the country, founded only five years after the birth of the profession. In 2016, the program transitioned to a graduate program leading to the Master of Science degree. The PA program remains committed to increasing the number of PAs of African American, Latino, and other backgrounds whose communities are historically underrepresented and underserved in the medical field. The program has graduated >1,000 PAs and 95% have been from the NY metropolitan region, where an overwhelming majority of graduates subsequently practice.


The CUNY School of Medicine has not diverted from its founding mission to provide access to medical education to talented people from social, ethnic and racial backgrounds historically underrepresented in medicine. We train our students to understand the social determinants of health, and to eliminate inequities wherever they exist. As New York City’s medical school, we know New York is at its best when the CUNY School of Medicine is at its most vital and producing doctors New Yorkers want to see.

Help us recruit and retain the best and brightest minds and kindest hearts to conduct research and care for patients and sustain the future of health care.

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