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The Department of Medicine

Our History

Along with its history of rooting for Boston sports teams, Tufts Medical Center has had a number of medical firsts. More than 200 years ago, the roots of our Medical Center were planted by several compassionate Bostonians, including American patriots Samuel Adams and Paul Revere. In 1796, these public-minded individuals founded the Boston Dispensary, a facility dedicated to the care of the poor. Between 1856-1899, the Dispensary established the first medical clinic, the first dental clinic and the first lung clinic in the United States. By 1918, the Dispensary had created the first evening pay clinic, a well-child clinic, a preventative health clinic and the first food clinic.

Floating Hospital for Children began as a hospital ship, sailing the Boston Harbor for the first time in 1894. The mission of the ship was to take ill urban children out onto the harbor to experience the healing qualities of fresh sea air and sunshine. In the late 1920s, Floating Hospital left the harbor waters and moved it's facilities on land.

In 1929, the Boston Dispensary entered into an arrangement with the Boston Floating Hospital for Children and Tufts College Medical School, to form New England Medical Center (which we know today as Tufts Medical Center).Since then, Tufts Medical Center has been on the forefront of medical innovation with advances like establishing the world’s first pediatric trauma center, inventing artificial milk (later called Similac) and discovering the modern syphilis test.