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Duke Hospital in the 1980s
Duke Hospital in the 1980s. Photo by Duke University Archives

The Leader in Medicine

Since its founding, Duke has set the standard for health care and medical research

Duke Health is a big blue umbrella. It’s a hospital – OK, multiple hospitals – renowned for advanced life-saving care (including more firsts than you can shake a stethoscope at), but also the regional go-to for primary care physicians and urgent care. It’s a medical school, with 3,739 students pursuing nine types of degrees, and a school of nursing, with 1,468 enrolled (all figures as of 2023). It is a research institute where doctors and scientists advance everything from transplants to vaccines, and it is a North Carolina employment powerhouse: Of Duke University’s 45,000 employees, about 80 percent of them work for Duke Health.

For a comprehensive history, read Walter E. Campbell’s “Foundations of Excellence: 75 Years of Duke Medicine.”

For an appetizer, give our timeline a look.