Historical Timeline

Emory University Hospital, circa 1950

Established in 1966, the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC) encompasses components of Emory University responsible for education of health professionals, research affecting health and illness, patient care, and policies for prevention and treatment of disease.

Robert W. Woodruff, the WHSC's namesake, the legendary leader of The Coca-Cola Company, was a man whose vision and generosity left a lasting imprint on Emory and on Atlanta.

1854 - Present


Atlanta Medical School, precursor to Emory's medical school, is chartered by the city. The school is the oldest and largest of the entrepreneurial medical schools in the city. The school split and merged and changed names several times before reprising its original name by the time it became Emory University School of Medicine in 1915.


Grady Memorial Hospital opens to serve indigent patients, its site chosen for its proximity to Atlanta Medical College. Grady was a training facility for all of Emory's antecedent medical schools and has been an official Emory training affiliate since 1930.


Wesley Memorial Hospital, the forerunner of Emory University Hospital, is founded in an antebellum home on Courtland Avenue. It moves to Emory's campus in 1922 and is renamed in 1932.


Administrators of Wesley Memorial Hospital open a training school for nurses to provide health care for the hospital's patients. The nursing school later became a school within Emory University in 1944 and was renamed Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing in 1967.


The Davis-Fischer Sanatorium, forerunner to Emory Crawford Long Hospital, opens on Crew Street and soon moved to Linden Avenue. Renamed for Crawford Long in 1931 and deeded to Emory in 1939, the hospital comes under Emory management in 1953. It is now known as Emory University Hospital Midtown.


Medical College joins Emory College, which was expanding to Atlanta from Oxford, Ga., and becomes Emory University School of Medicine.


With a gift of $50,000, Robert W. Woodruff, legendary leader of The Coca-Cola Company, established the Winship Cancer Center, named for his grandfather, who died of the disease.


Emory takes on medical supervision of Lawson Veterans Administration Hospital. Later, the medical school's dean advocates for a new facility, which opens near Emory's campus in 1967.


Dr. Phinizy Calhoun performs Georgia's first corneal transplant at Emory University Hospital. Dr. Bruce Logue establishes Emory's first cardiology residency at Grady Hospital.


The Emory Clinic, the private practice of Emory's clinical faculty, is established.


Emory purchases a primate research facility in Orange Park, Florida (now known as Emory National Primate Research Center). Yerkes moves to Emory's campus in 1965.


Henrietta Egleston Hospital for Children (now Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston) relocates to the Emory campus. The hospital was founded in 1928.


Dr. Charles Hatcher performs Georgia's first blue baby operation using open heart surgery. In 1963 he performs the state's first aortic valve replacement.


The Woodruff Medical Center (now Woodruff Health Sciences Center) is established to bring together those components of Emory involved in patient care, teaching of health professionals, health-related research, and policies for prevention and treatment of disease. This same year, Dr. Garland Perdue performs Georgia's first kidney transplant.


Dr. Charles Hatcher performs Georgia's first successful coronary bypass.


Emory University receives $105 million from the Emily and Ernest Woodruff Foundation, the largest gift at the time to an educational institution in U.S. history. This same year, Drs. Ralph Vogler and Elliott Winton perform Emory's first bone marrow transplant on a patient with acute leukemia.


Dr. Andreas Gruentzig, developer of angioplasty, joins the Emory faculty and continues to perfect the procedure that changed forever the treatment of atherosclerosis. (He died in a plane crash in 1985.)


Surgeons at Emory perform Atlanta's first heart transplant.


Atlanta industrialist O. Wayne Rollins donates $10 million for construction of the Rollins Research Center.


Dr. John Douglas performs the nation's first coronary stent implant. This same year, the Emory/Georgia Tech Biomedical Research Consortium is established. Emory doctors perform the state's first liver transplant.


Dr. Kirk Kanter performs the state's first pediatric heart transplant.


Emory surgeons perform Georgia's first kidney-pancreas transplant.


Named for donor O. Wayne Rollins, the Rollins Research Center is completed, adding 75 labs to Emory's research facilities.


Rollins School of Public Health is established.


The Woodruff family of foundations creates the Robert W. Woodruff Fund with grants of Coca-Cola stock totaling $295 million to help support the health sciences center named for Robert Woodruff and the Winship Cancer Center (now Winship Cancer Institute) named for Woodruff's grandfather.


Emory Healthcare is created to unite Emory's hospitals and clinic into one system of care. This same year, Emory doctors perform the state's first biventricular pacemaker implant. The Emory Clinic expands into a new facility at 1525 Clifton Road.


he NIH designates Emory as one of three Parkinson's Disease Research Centers of Excellence. Emory doctors perform the world's first unrelated umbilical cord blood transplant for sickle cell anemia.


A research wing that includes the Vaccine Research Center opens at Emory National Primate Research Center.


The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing moves into a new 100,000 square-foot home.


The Whitehead Biomedical Research Building opens with 325,000 square feet of space for interdisciplinary research programs.


Expansion at Emory Crawford Long Hospital (renamed Emory University Hospital Midtown in 2009) includes a 20-story medical office tower and diagnostic and treatment center.


The Emory Winship Cancer Institute moves into a new facility that supports outpatient cancer care and research. Emory opens a Faculty and Education Building at Grady Memorial Hospital. Drs. Chris Larsen and Tom Pearson perform Georgia's first islet cell transplant for diabetes.


A neuroscience research building is completed at Yerkes, and a new building for the Emory Children's Center opens next to the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston on Emory's campus.


Emory Healthcare rolls out the second phase of a $50 million electronic medical record initiative. The National Institute on Aging awards an Alzheimer's Disease Research Center designation to Emory. When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast the Sunday before Labor Day, faculty, staff, and students mobilize quickly to offer assistance.


A medical education building opens on the Emory campus with state-of-the-art simulation suites, auditoriums, and classrooms. In suburban Atlanta, Emory Healthcare opens a new 110-bed facility, Emory Johns Creek Hospital. Emory University establishes the Global Health Institute.


The 120-bed Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital opens in Tucker, Georgia. The Rollins School of Public Health breaks ground for a second public health building. Plans are being drawn for a new Emory Clinic building.


Emory Crawford Long Hospital is renamed Emory University Hospital Midtown, to better reflect its role as a major component of Emory. Emory's Winship Cancer Institute earns National Cancer Institute Cancer Center designation.


A new building for Rollins School of Public Health opens, doubling the school's space.


Emory and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta break ground on a joint research building. Surgeons perform Georgia's first hand transplant. The FDA approves belatacept, the first new immunosuppressant to be developed since the 1990s. developed by Emory clinician-researchers Chris Larsen and Tom Pearson for kidney recipients, the drug is less toxic than other immunosuppressant drugs.


Emory's Winship Cancer Institute celebrates its 75th anniversary. Emory Healthcare (EHC) finalizes a partnership agreement with Saint Joseph's Health System, giving EHC majority ownership and combining the two systems' resources and strengths. The University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) ranks Emory University Hospital and Emory University Hospital Midtown second and sixth, respectively, for quality, marking the first time two hospitals from the same health system are ranked in the UHC top 10. Emory receives NIH designation as an Autism Research Center of Excellence.


The 200,000-square-foot Health Sciences Research Building (HSRB) opens; a two-story bridge connects the building with the Emory Children's Center, which houses both pediatric research and patient care. The HSRB also houses researchers in cancer and other areas. Clinicians in emergency medicine publish findings indicating that use of observation units in the emergency room can shorten stays, decrease admissions, and save the US health care system $5 to $8 billion annually. The first human "exposome" (environmental equivalent of the human genome) center in the country is established at Rollins School of Public Health.


Emory University Hospital becomes the first hospital in the country to treat an Ebola patient and eventually treats four patients, all of whom survive. Emory shares care protocols for treating Ebola and conducts research on vaccines and therapeutics. Emory is among the top 100 universities in the world that have been granted patents. Neurologist Mahlon DeLong receives the Lasker Award for his work in using deep brain stimulation to restore motor function in patients with Parkinson's disease.


After treating former Ebola patient Ian Crozier for eyesight-threatening uveitis caused by the Ebola virus, an Emory Eye Center team travels to Liberia to help establish an eye clinic for Ebola survivors there. Researchers establish the Emory Antibiotic Resistance Center to study an increasingly serious and urgent problem.


Emory's Brain Health Center launches the largest clinical research study in Atlanta history to understand aging and aging-related disease. Patients and clinicians plant 5,000 white flags on the medical school lawn to celebrate Emory's 5,000 bone marrow transplant. Jonathan Lewin becomes the eighth leader of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center.


Emory's Winship Cancer Institute earns National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center designation. Emory University Hospital opened a new tower across Clifton Road, with 450,000 square feet of space on nine levels, plus 500 underground parking spaces and a pedestrian bridge concourse connecting both EUH buildings, Emory Clinic, and Winship Cancer Institute.


The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation pledged $400 million to Emory to construct a Winship Cancer Institute tower on the Emory University Hospital Midtown campus and a second health sciences research building on Emory's Druid Hills campus. Three DeKalb Medical hospitals became part of Emory Healthcare and were renamed Emory Decatur Hospital, Emory Hillandale Hospital, and Emory Long Term Acute Care.