Since its inception in 1850, the health care system has witnessed many breakthroughs in treatment techniques and medical technology. Currently, the university health system and its hospitals are known for their ultra-modern patient care systems and research programs.
In addition, the health care system operates approximately 30 health centers, 120 outpatient clinics, M-CARE HMO and the Michigan Health Corp. The foundation for University of Michigan Health System was laid in 1848, when the University of Michigan’s Board of Regents established a three-member medical department that later formed the present day U-M Medical School.
In 1869, a 20-bed medical facility was established, making it the first university-owned medical facility in the United States. Catherine Street Hospital, which was later replaced by University Hospital, was declared as the largest teaching hospital in the nation in 1900. This hospital introduced one of the nation’s first children's wards in 1903.
The university health care system has many firsts to its credit. In 1912, it established the nation’s first Department of Dermatology.
The first physician training program in thoracic surgery was offered at the University Hospital in 1928. The success of this training program was seen four years later, when the university’s physicians performed the world's first successful removal of a lung.
In 1940, the nation’s first human genetics program was also inaugurated by the university. The following year, in 1941, the nation's first hereditary diseases clinic was established at University Hospital. The nation’s first comprehensive Depression Center was established here in 2001.
The university health care system also pioneered many new medical techniques. The electrocardiogram (EKG) was developed by the university’s own researchers in 1913.
The health care system was one of the first to introduce the usage of the insulin pump for injecting insulin. It was also the first institution to use a fertility technique called electroejaculation, which enabled men with spinal cord injuries to father children.
The University of Michigan was a member of a team that isolated the gene partially responsible for causing prostate cancer.
The University of Michigan Health System being a leading center for treatment, research and teaching, currently attracts patients from around the state and nation. On an average, 1.2 million outpatient and 36,000 inpatients cases are handled each year.
About 70 percent of the admitted patients are from regional hospitals outside the Ann Arbor area. The university hospitals have been ranked 11th in the nation, in 2005 by U.S. News & World Report magazine.