About 30 years ago on the beach in front of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the foundations of an extraordinary school of medicine were laid. A group of physicians and basic science biologists, bare-footed in the sand at La Jolla Shores, planned a boldly innovative curriculum. They predicted this school would become a world-class institution within a decade. With a single-minded commitment to scientific excellence, they recruited a medical school faculty from Boston, New Haven and so many from Bethesda, that the University of California in San Diego School of Medicine had the nickname "NIH-West" for a dozen years.
Their proposal was to so deeply root the school of medicine in the general campus, that UCSD would "become the pearl in the necklace of the University of California's schools of medicine." In the next three decades, the general campus and the school of medicine developed in parallel, and both have prospered.
The faculty now includes 62 fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 54 members of the National Academy of Sciences, seven Nobel laureates, six recipients of the National Medal of Science and numerous other distinguished members.
The clinical enterprise began somewhat more slowly, but the opening of the San Diego Veterans Administration Hospital adjacent to the School of Medicine Basic Science Building in La Jolla in 1972, augmented the clinical resources of the main teaching hospital located in downtown San Diego such that the medical school class could be expanded to its current size of 122 in the late 1970s. The growth of the clinical arm of the school has been rapid and is accelerating, and the UCSD Medical Center was once again named one of the 100 best hospitals in the nation.