Tufts Medical Center

Charitable Roots

Tufts Medical Center's proud and distinguished tradition began in 1796, about the same time as George Washington wrote his farewell address to the nation. A group of public-spirited Bostonians founded the Boston Dispensary, funding tickets that enabled the city's poor to receive treatment. One of the original tickets was signed by subscriber Paul Revere and can still be seen today at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

A Pioneer in Health Care

The Boston Dispensary provided high-quality, patient-centered care, pioneering many treatments and health care delivery improvements. It was the first to initiate many medical practices that are commonplace today. For example, in 1814, it assigned nurses to accompany district physicians on their routes.

By the early 1830s, Dispensary physicians started examining and comparing the sociological conditions of their patients. Between 1856-1899, the Dispensary established the first 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.

An Alliance for the Future

In the 1960s, the Boston Dispensary merged with the Floating Hospital for Children and the Pratt Diagnostic Clinic/Tufts Medical Center Hospital. It also formed alliances with Tufts University School of Medicine which serves as the principal teaching affiliate for the Medical Center. Chiefs of service at the Medical Center have dual appointments with the medical school and chair the school's respective departments. This collaboration facilitates access to extensive educational opportunities in clinical care and research.

A Distinguished Reputation for Research

The Tufts Medical Center complex, located in the downtown Boston neighborhood where the Dispensary was founded in 1796, now includes state-of-the-art research facilities. Tufts Medical Center researchers are focusing on cancer, heart disease, and other life-threatening illnesses, as well as outcomes measurements and management, which has become a key component in health care reform.