History of the renal section, New York University School of Medicine 1926-1986, New York University Medical Center

Bull N Y Acad Med. 1989 Oct;65(8):879-97.


This history of the Renal Section at New York University School of Medicine ascribes its birth to a policy introduced by John Henry Wyckoff in 1924 that divided the Department of Medicine into sections devoted to the various subspecialties. Physicians selected to head each section sought further training. William Goldring, asked to organize the kidney section, spent a sabbatical year working with Homer William Smith, chairman and professor of the department of physiology at New York University School of Medicine. The second event was the development of a postdoctoral fellowship program in which medical school graduates, following completion of their intern and residency program, returned to basic science departments for exposure to and training in research in preparation for their return to clinical medicine. The aim of this fellowship program was to introduce the experimental method, which had been productive in the physical sciences, to the study and treatment of disease in man. The third event was the continuous collaboration between members of the Department of Medicine and the Department of Physiology under the chairmanship of Homer Smith. Experimental protocols in cardiovascular and renal physiology developed in the laboratory were carried over to Bellevue Hospital for studies and treatment of patients with hypertensive and renal diseases under the direction of members of the Renal Section. The final step conceived by Saul J. Farber, Chairman and Professor of the Department of Medicine was unification into a single group of all faculty members working in the field of hypertensive and renal diseases in Bellevue, University, and Manhattan Veterans Administration Hospitals. The Renal Section then can attribute its origin and development to the establishment of divisions within the Department of Medicine, the postdoctoral fellowship program, and the collaboration between the Departments of Medicine and Physiology. The establishment of the Renal Section served as a prototype for organizing medical school faculties into teams responsible for teaching, investigation, and treating hypertensive and renal diseases and spawned nephrology as a subspecialty of Internal Medicine.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • History, 20th Century
  • Hospitals, Teaching / history*
  • Hospitals, University / history*
  • Nephrology / history*
  • New York City