In 1846 the first National Medical Convention (forerunner of the American Medical Association) convened to study American medical education.
Plans for a university were developed at the first Constitutional Convention in 1849, when the Gold Rush was well underway.
Elias Samuel Cooper, a surgeon from Illinois, sailed to San Francisco in 1855. He soon was active in organizing a state medical society and in 1858 started the first medical school in the West.
As the example of the University of California School of Medicine reveals, significant reform of the academic curriculum and clinical teaching was well underway in America by the beginning of the twentieth century.
In 1906, due to earthquake and fire, the two preclinical years of the curriculum (basic science departments of anatomy, pathology and physiology) were moved to Berkeley.
The Hooper Foundation was the first medical research foundation in the United States incorporated into a university.
In August of 1911 a starving native-American man walked out of the Butte County wilderness into Oroville.
UC and Stanford shared the staffing of San Francisco Hospital for nearly one century. Collegial competition between the two schools was beneficial to patient care and to the institutions.
Although it was regarded as a regional school isolated in the Far West, the UC School of Medicine was able to compete effectively for federal research money in the years immediately following World War II, especially in the area of cancer research.
Although the first University of California Hospital did not appear until the 1906 earthquake and fire brought urgent hospital needs to the city, plans for a university hospital for the Medical Department had been taking place since the turn of the century.