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 the academic and administrative offices to Victor Vaughan Building while 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

  - Launch of LHS Collaboratory: a hub for advancing interdisciplinary research and development of learning health systems at the University of Michigan in partnership with the Office of Research, the Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation (IHPI), and the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR).

2017 - The first issue of the Learning Health Systems Journal is published 

2018 - Clinical Simulation Center in Med Sci II opens