A History of Firsts

Yale has a history of contributions to the field of medicine that have had a major impact on the health of people around the world. Some of these are:

1896Arthur Wright produces first X-ray
1942Introduction of life-saving penicillin to the United States
1942First use of chemotherapy as a cancer treatment in the U.S.
1946First U.S. hospital to allow healthy newborns to say in rooms with mother.
1947Yale-New Haven Hospital opens the first rheumatic fever-cardiac clinic, one of the nation's first regional heart centers
1949Developed first artificial heart pump in the U.S.
1949First U.S. hospital to introduce natural childbirth as a general service
1957First hospital to use fetal heart monitoring
1958Discovery of melatonin
1959First antiviral drug developed
1960World's first intensive care unit for newborns
1966Phrenic nerve pacemaker allows quadriplegics to breathe without a respirator
1966"Morning-After" birth control pill developed
1972First hospital-based newborn screening program for sickle cell anemia in the U.S.
1975Lyme disease identified and named
1978FDA approved timolol to treat glaucoma, the first effective therapy for the disease since the early 1900s
1979First insulin pump for diabetes
1980The first genetically modified mouse (these are now used in the early stages of research to develop treatment for diseases
1985First fetal cardiovascular center in the U.S.
1994FDA approved Zerit, a drug to treat HIV and part of the three-drug “cocktail” that extended the lives of many tens of thousands of people with HIV/AIDS worldwide
1997The discovery of a mechanism of protein folding, a step toward understanding neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease
1997First documented heart transplants of adult identical twins, one in 1992, second in 1997
2010First to use high-throughput DNA sequencing to diagnose a disease
2014Genomic analysis leads to the discovery, diagnosis, and treatment of a rare disease