John Alexander Witherspoon, MD

(1864 - 1929)

John Witherspoon

Dr. John Witherspoon (1864-1929) helped establish the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt. During his career he worked to improve medical education in the United States.

Dr. Witherspoon was born in Columbia, TN and studied for two years in a physician's office before entering the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. After his graduation in 1887, Dr. Witherspoon became Professor of Physiology in the University of Tennessee College of Medicine located in Nashville. He helped to establish the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt, where he served for thirty-three years as Professor of Medicine.

Dr. Witherspoon dedicated his entire medical career to working through medical organizations for the improvement of medical education and in 1913 was elected President of the American Medical Association. Dr. Witherspoon was a founder of the Association of American Medical Colleges and was a proponent of establishing Standards of medical education in the United States.