Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, the University of Virginia Health System embodies the leadership and inventiveness personified by its founder, Thomas Jefferson. Two centuries ago, Jefferson established the University of Virginia and the nation's 10th medical school, which has since grown into a nationally renowned academic medical center committed to providing outstanding patient care, educating tomorrow's health care leaders and discovering better ways to treat disease.
"Without health, there is no
happiness. An attention to health, then,
should take the place of every other object."
When "Mr. Jefferson" completed his designs for the University of Virginia, he included a medical building called the Anatomical Hall. Completed in 1826, the Hall contained a theater for anatomical and medical demonstrations for students. Dr. Robley Dunglison, recruited from London by Jefferson, was the first medical faculty member and the first full-time professor of medicine in the United States. Charlottesville was at that time too small and isolated to support a hospital, so medical courses proceeded on theory and anatomical study rather than practical experiences. Over the next several decades, a dispensary and then infirmary were opened to provide care for students and for local community residents who also served as models for the medical classes.
In 1889, Dr. Paul Barringer joined the University faculty and instituted many improvements including increased attention to laboratory investigations, use of the microscope, and a steady expansion in the years of study required for a medical degree. As Chairman of the Faculty, Dr. Barringer tirelessly promoted the establishment of modern clinical facilities at the University.
In 1893, the medical faculty recommended construction of a modern hospital on University grounds. The first University of Virginia Hospital — a 150-bed facility with a central building flanked by pavilions — opened on April 13, 1901, Thomas Jefferson's birthday.
Today, the UVA Hospital has grown into the Health System, representing a network of facilities that support and integrate patient care, health education, research and public service:
- The University of Virginia Medical Center is an integrated network
of primary and specialty care services ranging from wellness programs
and routine checkups to the most technologically advanced care. The hub
of the Medical Center is a full-service, tertiary-care hospital with
over 500 beds and a Level 1 trauma center. Primary and specialty care
is also provided at many clinic locations throughout Central
- The University of Virginia School of
Medicine is ranked 10th in the nation among state-assisted medical
schools and consistently attracts the nation's brightest students and
most distinguished faculty members. Awarded millions of dollars in
funding each year, the School of Medicine's 25+ research centers are
making discoveries resulting in new and better therapies, especially in
the areas of cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease,
and vaccine development.
- The University of Virginia School of Nursing has
earned a national reputation for excellence in education, research and
practice. Ranked among the nation's top 25 public nursing schools, the
UVA School of Nursing offers undergraduate, master's level and doctoral
- The Claude Moore
Health Sciences Library offers expert information services in every
area of medicine. This state-of-the-art library has a staff of skilled
professionals available to help health care specialists and patients
find the latest health news and on-line information and discover UVA's
rich history in the development of modern medicine. The HS Library is a
unique, comprehensive online library providing access to dozens of
full-text online journals and a research liaison service.
- The Health Services Foundation is the physician group practice that manages billing for UVA physicians.
Recognized for excellence by U.S. News & World Report, Best Doctors in America and Good Housekeeping, physicians at the UVA Health System serve patients from the Charlottesville area, the Southeast and from around the world. Many UVA physicians, nurses and other health care professionals are recognized nationally and internationally as leaders in their fields.