Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECOM) has been affiliated with Jacobi Medical Center (the renamed Bronx Municipal Hospital Center) since the birth of both the school and the hospital.
After several years of planning, the new AECOM recruited its first class, of just 56 students, and began their instruction in the fall of 1955. Across the street was the Bronx Municipal Hospital Center (BMHC, now Jacobi Medical Center, JMC), which was the original (and, for years, only) teaching hospital of the College.
AECOM’s Department of Medicine began its academic existence in July 1955 when Irving London, the first chairman, came to the new medical school from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Milford Fulop was recruited by Dr. London to develop the Medicine residency program at Bronx Municipal Hospital Center (BMHC, later JMC). "We had an unknown house staff, a load of patients ready to occupy medical wards at Jacobi, and a yet-to-be-developed chest service that would become the largest in New York City," recalled Dr. London. "There was a resident at Columbia-Presbyterian who was universally recognized as the best and brightest, and when he accepted the opportunity to embark on a career at a medical school yet to prove its mettle, on a service that would be full of problems, I knew that we were very lucky." "The college started from ideas germinating in a number of minds, a little house on Morris Park Avenue, and a deal made with the city," Dr. Fulop said. "The faculty was small enough that we each knew one another on a first-name basis, and the exchange of ideas and conversation was perfectly free."
Department of Medicine house staff, fellows, and faculty in June 1956. From left to right, first row: Victor Herbert, Ernst Jaffé, Labe Scheinberg, Charles Frank, Milford Fulop, Irving London, I.H. Scheinberg, David Hamerman, and Bracha Ramot. Second row: Mallory Stephens, Joseph Niemann, Constantine Gitsios, Herbert Vaughan, Jack Shapiro, Cecil Broderick, Irmin Sternlieb, Seymour Levitan, Norman Isaacs, Harvey Serating, Harold Adel, Myron Zinn, and Frido Kiefhaber.
Dr. Fulop oversaw residents and orchestrated a number of medical school courses, including Physical Diagnosis, Laboratory Methods, and third- and fourth-year clerkships. "In 1958, this young fellow just a few years older than I was seemed to know everything that was going on, and he even seemed to know what we were thinking about," recalled Leslie Bernstein, MD, Professor Emeritus (Gastroenterology). "He's just as amazing now as he was in 1958."
"Making rounds with Milford was memorable. I think he was the first person who used thoughtfulness as a way of developing clinical skills," said Harold Adel, MD, MPH, Professor Emeritus and one of Dr. Fulop's first trainees who later assisted him in leading the residency at Jacobi.
The aerial photograph above was taken in the mid 1950’s and shows the AECOM and BMHC campuses from the south. From left to right, new glazed white bricks sparkling in the sunlight, are the Forchheimer building of the medical school (the college’s only building at the time), Van Etten Hospital and Jacobi Hospital.
Until the Weiler Hospital opened in 1966, all of the Department of Medicine at the AECOM’s Internal Medicine residency training took place on the general Medical Service at Jacobi Hospital and on the Chest and Metabolic Research Services in Van Etten Hospital.
Medical students came from the top schools around the nation to be residents in the Einstein-Jacobi Medicine program and be trained at the new hospital and medical school with its exciting and enthusiastic young faculty.
In the 1960s and 1970s, under the direction of Milford Fulop and David Hamerman, and in the 1970s and 1980s ably assisted by Harold Adel and then Saul Moroff, the residency at Jacobi became one of the most highly regarded Internal Medicine training programs in the country.
Many Jacobi residents went on to successful careers in teaching, practice, research, and medical administration, and many became directors of services and divisions at teaching and community hospitals (Table 1).
After almost 40 years of heading the Jacobi medical service and its residency program, Milford Fulop stepped down from that role in 1993. He continued his very active teaching schedule and administrative responsibilities as Vice Chairman. B. Robert Meyer was recruited from the Cornell University system. He led the program in an outstanding manner for several years, but was lured back to New York Hospital as Vice-chair of Medicine and Director of the Primary Care Program.
Under both Fulop and Meyer, the full time staff at Jacobi Hospital grew, with addition of faculty members in dermatology (Robin Buchholz), gastroenterology (Douglas Simon and Charles Noyer), infectious diseases (Christina Coyle, Elizabeth Jenny-Avital, and David Stein), and pulmonary and critical care medicine (Virginia Chung, Bennet Lipper, and Sunil Dhuper).
Charles Nordin, a graduate of the Montefiore clinical cardiology fellowship and an AECOM research fellowship, who then became a fulltime senior faculty member, was appointed to take Meyer’s place. Dr. Nordin stepped down in 2009, and the current Department Chair is Dr. Stephan Kamholz, who has formerly served as the Chair of Medicine at LIJ-North Shore, and as Chair of Medicine, State University of New York Downstate.
After 55 years on the faculty at Einstein, Dr. Milford Fulop retired on March 31, 2010, but he will continue to participate in teaching conferences and make rounds with the chief residents at Jacobi.
The AIDS epidemic has had a profound effect on the Department of Medicine’s research care and training programs.
In the early 1980s when Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV) was almost an untreatable infection, increasing numbers of patients were admitted to the hospital with complications of AIDS that frequently failed to respond to therapy.
Inpatient services were developed at Jacobi and Montefiore Hospitals, which led to better care of patients. In addition large, comprehensive outpatient programs took care of hundreds of very sick patients. In 1986, Carol Harris and her colleagues in the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) program at Jacobi, attracted a gift of four million dollars from Mrs. Joan Kroc, of which one million dollars went to AECOM for AIDS-related education and humanitarian activities. The Health and Hospitals Corporation then renovated a large area in Van Etten Hospital and dedicated it to outpatient AIDS care, supported by three million dollars of the gift which was used to enhance professional staffing of the unit.
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Scheuer J, The Department of Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1980-1999. Einstein J. Biol. Med. (2004) 20:59-69.