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Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
Established 1966
Type Private medical school
President Dr. Keith C. Norris
Location Willowbrook, CA, USA
Campus Urban (11 acres)

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science is a private, non-profit school located in Willowbrook, unincorporated Los Angeles County, California, United States.[1][2] It was founded in 1966 in response to inadequate medical facilities within the Watts region of Los Angeles, California, USA. Later, the institution became a University and changed its name in order to reflect its new academic role. The University is named in honor of Dr. Charles R. Drew. It was associated with the former-Martin Luther King Jr./Charles R. Drew Medical Center (now King-Harbor hospital) from 1972 to 2006, and sometimes referred to as King-Drew University.

Drew is perhaps best known for its medical school designed to train physicians interested in working in urban environments, and founded in the response to the 1965 Watts riots to train minority doctors who would serve the poor of the South Los Angeles area.[3] They also offer degrees in closely related clinical programs such as radiology, pharmacy, and physician assistants. Drew is now expanding to offer an undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences. The program places a strong emphasis on research, it is not uncommon for undergraduates to be performing research in their first year.

King/Drew problems

Both the University and associated public hospital fell into serious trouble at the outset of the 21st century.[4] By 2006, several residency programs had to be terminated because they lost accreditation for not meeting the necessary amount of oversight, and the hospital itself was forced into a radical restructuring plan in late-2006.[3] The restructuring caused hospital to sever its ties to the neighboring medical school and terminate support to 248 medical residents.[5] In October 2006, the national Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education informed school officials that it planned to revoke the university's accreditation because of the hospital's upcoming loss of Medicare money; as a result the university voluntarily withdrew its accreditation.[3] The school can seek reinstatement to relaunch its residency program in July 2008, but given the restructuring of its former teaching hospital may not be able to meet that deadline. As a response to the problems, the university reorganized and got rid of its president and dismissed nearly two-thirds of its board of trustees.[3]

On March 6, 2007, officials from the university announced that they will sue Los Angeles County for $125 million for breach of contract, claiming that the restructuring of the hospital gutted the adjacent university.[5] In response, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Mike Antonovich stated "Drew University will fail in court as they failed as a medical school."[5]

In June 2007, the school began an 18-month rebranding effort aimed at preventing people from associating the school for the continuing ordeals of King-Harbor; the school criticized the hospital for leaving an old sign bearing the King/Drew name.[3]

In July 2007, the university passed a curriculum review by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and retaining its accreditation, announcing plans for a new four-year medical school and nursing school in partnership with the University of California.[6]

In an escalation of the rift between the county and the university, the county is now attempting to evict the university's research department out of the Augustus F. Hawkins Mental Health Center building.[7] The university had a greater increase in publications this year than any other American research institution in a time where American publications are on the decline. [8]


  1. ^ "Willowbrook CDP, California." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on September 27, 2009.
  2. ^ "Contacts." Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. Retrieved on September 27, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e Tiffany Hsu, University official stresses campus isn't King-Harbor, Los Angeles Times, June 22, 2007.
  4. ^ Tracy Weber et al., The Troubles at King/Drew (5 part series), The Los Angeles Times, December 2004, Accessed Sept. 26, 2006.
  5. ^ a b c Susannah Rosenblatt, Medical school to sue L.A. County, Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2007.
  6. ^ Drew medical school retains accreditation, Los Angeles Times, July 19, 2007.
  7. ^ As reported by Dr. Susan Kelly at a university meeting on November 9th 2007.
  8. ^ Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science

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