In 1927, No.4 Sun Yat-Sen University School of Medicine was set up in Wusong. It is the first medical school established and run by Chinese people. The founders of the medical school, Yan Fuqing, Le Wenzhao and Gao Jinglang, practiced medicine and education with the sheer intention to relieve patients from pain.
In July 1932, the government of the Republic of China approved the independence of the National Central University Medical College which was later renamed as the National Shanghai Medical College. The college took No.1 China Red Cross Society Hospital, previously China Red Cross Society General Hospital, as its teaching hospital. Thanks to generous donations from the society, new college buildings and the affiliated Sun Yat-Sen Hospital were built in the Fenglin Bridge area in 1936. In 1937, the 4th conference of Chinese Medical Association, the 3rd conference of Chinese Leprosy Society, the 1st China Medical History Literature Exhibition by Chinese Medical History Society and the inauguration of new college buildings were held on the site of the college.
After the break of the war, the National Shanghai Medical College, led by Yan Fuqing, now the President of the college, sent medical rescue teams to the front line with the rest of the college moved to the less affected provinces of Yunnan and Chongqing. The National Shanghai Medical College managed to continue with medical education while facilitating disease control and medical research in the rear area.
After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Shanghai Medical College gradually adjusted its academic structure, aiming at three development directions: clinical medicine, medical education and medical research. To better engage with the society and safeguard the country and its people, the institution built a public health network, helped with the construction of other medical institutions, trained medical practitioners in the rural area and joined international rescue missions. In 1952, the institution was renamed as Shanghai No.1 Medical College. In 1956, 16 professors of the college was recognized as Level I professors by the state, their specialties covering almost all areas in Western medicine. In 1959, the college was acknowledged by the state as one of the 16 national key higher education institutions. The college also played an important role in the rescue mission during the Korean War, hospital construction in Chongqing and elimination of blood fluke.
In February 1978, the State Council approved the “Report on the Resumption and Betterment of National Key Higher Education Institutions” submitted by the Ministry of Education and the status of Fudan as a national key higher education institution was reaffirmed. In 1985, the institution was renamed as Shanghai Medical University. Since then, it has maintained its tradition and advanced to become a first-class, world-famous, modern medical university featuring scholarship, precision, knowledge, interdiscipline and cooperation. In 1994, Shanghai Medical University was selected into Project 211, a state project to raise research standards of higher education institutions.