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History of UTMB School of Medicine

Vintage photo of Old RedFounded as the state's first medical school in 1891, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) has served the health care needs of Texans for more than a century with outstanding programs in health science education, patient care, and research.

The University of Texas Medical Branch's Ashbel Smith building, which appears to the left and is affectionately known as Old Red, has played a vital role in the history of UTMB. Completed in 1890, and built in the Romanesque Revival style, its colorful nickname comes from the materials it is made from - red pressed brick, red Texas granite, and sandstone.

Ashbel SMith Building, fondly known as Old Red.As the oldest medical school building in Texas, Old Red is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and marked with a Texas Historical Commission placard. Old Red has truly earned its landmark status by surviving the Galveston hurricane of 1900, one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. Although the storm destroyed much of Old Red's original roof, the main structure remained standing. Today, Old Red continues to serve thousands of UTMB students, faculty, staff, and visitors and currently houses administrative offices, the School of Medicine's Alumni Association office, a teaching amphitheater, the Institute for the Medical Humanities, and the anatomy laboratory used in the training of future physicians.

Shriner Burns Hospital in GalvestonOver the past 125 years, UTMB has conferred more than 39,000 degrees to students in medicine, nursing, biomedical sciences, and the health professions. From its small beginnings as one hospital and one school with 23 students, UTMB today encompasses four schools with more than 3,700 students and residents, as well as 133 post-docs and 15 research fellows. UTMB has expanded into a comprehensive Health System providing a full range of primary and specialty care through a network of hospitals and clinics across three campuses, a Level I trauma center, three institutes, an affiliated Shriners Burns Hospital, seen to the right, and state-of-the-art research facilities. UTMB was recently ranked by a leading minority higher education publication as the nation's top producer of medical degrees for Latinos and seventh in the nation in the number of medical degrees awarded to African Americans.

Galveston National Biocontainment LaboratoryIn 2003 UTMB received funding to construct a $150 million Galveston National Biocontainment Laboratory on its campus, one of the few non-military facilities of this level. It houses several Biosafety Level 4 research laboratories, where studies on highly infectious materials can be carried out safely.

Areas of clinical excellence provided for all Texans include geriatrics, cardiac services, diabetes care, kidney disease, telemedicine, and behavioral health. UTMB's nationally recognized and growing research programs focus on biodefense and infectious diseases, vaccine development, aging and longevity, neuroscience, molecular medicine, environmental health, asthma, gastrointestinal health, cancer, and diabetes.