Louisville National College of Medicine

Image From the United States National Library of Medicine

Foudned in 1888 by W. A. Burney and Henry Fitzbutler, the Louisville National College of Medicine set out to serve Louisville and Kentucky’s African American communities. Dr. Fitzbutler, the first African American graduate of medical school in the state of Michigan, made his way to Louisville where he almost immediately began providing apprenticeships to local men in Louisville. Dr. Fitzbutler was the Dean and Chair of Surgery and Chair of Materia Medica. In addition to the College of Medicine, Dr. Fitzbutler opened a hospital and dispensary as adjuncts to the College. After the school became operational, Dr. Ftizbutler’s wife, Sarah, attended the College and went on to become the first female graduate in medicine in Kentucky. Upon graduation, Dr. S. Fitzbutler practiced and taught both medicine and nursing. Dr. Fitzbutler died in 1901 and the Louisville National Medical College continued under the operation of Rufus Conrad. Briefly, in 1899, an additional medical college, State University Medical College, served as a second institution for Kentucky’s African American men and women of medicine. The Louisville National College of Medicine closed its doors in 1912.

Dr. Ftizbutler was a civil rights activist and lobbied the Kentucky legislature to approve the Louisville National Medical College. The College formally operated from 1888 until its closure in 1912 and graduated a total of 175 African American physicians. In 1894, the College created its own hospital, Louisville Hospital, in two houses neighboring the College of Medicine. Despite its limited fiscal resources and access to a large teaching hospital, the College received good marks in the Flexner Report. Ironically, one of the reasons the College had to close was due to a curricular change from the AMA in response to the Flexner Report.


Faculty and Founders


Image From the United States National Library of Medicine

Contributed by Shawn Logan | contact@kyhi.org


⁘ Works Cited ⁘

  1. Kleber, John, E., et al. The Encyclopedia of Louisville. University of Kentucky Press: Lexington, Ky. 2001.

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