Our History

Moving Forward, Honoring Our Past

While our focus is on improving the future, the Department of Learning Health Sciences has a long history of research, education, and service in the process of translating medical knowledge into practice to produce a better state of health and clinical performance. Our Timeline gives you an idea about where we started, including several different names: the Department of Postgraduate Medicine; the Department of Postgraduate Medicine and Health Professions Education; the Department of Medical Education; and, since May 2014, the Department of Learning Health Sciences. We appreciate the leaders who have supported the department's evolution.


1850 - University of Michigan Medical School (UMMS) founded

1892 - UMMS offers first continuing medical education (CME) courses on medical science and patient care

1927 - UMMS establishes the Department of Postgraduate Medicine, the first academic department in the U.S. to focus on CME

1969 - UMMS opens the Towsley Center for Continuing Medical Education to house the department and expand CME offerings

1972 - Department becomes the Department of Postgraduate Medicine and Health Professions Education

1982 - UMMS becomes one of first nationally accredited CME providers by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME)

1997 - Department becomes the Department of Medical Education

1998 - Department establishes the Medical Education Scholars Program to train UMMS faculty in educational theory, practice and research

2004 - UM Clinical Simulation Center opens in the Towsley Center

2013 - Department launches the Master of Health Professions Education, the first-in-the-world competency-based program for health professionals, and the Patient Safety and Quality Leadership Scholars Program

2014 - Department becomes a basic science department, expands its mission to become the Department of Learning Health Sciences, and moves to Victor Vaughan Building (the Clinical Simulation Center remains in the Towsley Center)

2016 - Department joins the Endowment for the Basic Sciences 

- Department launches the Health Infrastructures and Learning Systems (HILS) PhD and MS program, the first-in-the-world graduate program on learning health system science

- The first issue of the Learning Health Systems Journal is published

2018 - Clinical Simulation Center in Med Sci II opens