A Guide to the Department of Medicine

Internal Medicine definitionFor nearly a century, members of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of Medicine have worked together to heal patients, discover ways to advance care, and train the next generation of doctors dedicated to internal medicine and its related specialties.

Founded in 1924, the department emerged as a university unit as the medical school transformed from a two-year basic science program to a four-year curriculum. Today, we form the largest academic department in the entire University of Wisconsin statewide system. 

Our Focus: Internal Medicine and Its Subspecialties

Our department’s work focuses on internal medicine: the diagnosis and nonsurgical treatment of diseases in adults. Subspecialties within internal medicine are reflected in our 11 divisions: 


Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

Diagnosis and treatment of allergies, asthma, and immune deficiency disorders (allergy and immunology) or lung disorders (pulmonary medicine), and management of patients requiring life support and close monitoring in intensive care units (critical care medicine).

Cardiovascular Medicine

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine 

Diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the heart and circulatory system.

Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

Diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the endocrine organs, hormone systems, and their target organs, as well as metabolic disorders.

Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the gastrointestinal tract including the stomach and intestines (gastroenterology) and liver (hepatology).

General Internal Medicine

Division of General Internal Medicine

Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of adult diseases as a primary care practitioner (internist).

Geriatrics and Gerontology

Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology

Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases related to advanced age and management of conditions specific to aging.

Hematology, Medical Oncology and Palliative Care

Division of Hematology, Medical Oncology and Palliative Care

Diagnosis and treatment of diseases related to the blood (hematology), the treatment of cancer with medicine, including chemotherapy (medical oncology), and care that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing problems associated with life-threatening illness (palliative care).

Hospital Medicine

Division of Hospital Medicine

Specialization in the overall medical care of hospitalized patients.

Infectious Disease

Division of Infectious Disease

Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections.


Division of Nephrology

Diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the kidneys.


Division of Rheumatology

Diagnosis and treatment of rheumatism, arthritis, and other disorders of the joints, muscles, and ligaments.

What’s the Difference Between the Department of Medicine and the School of Medicine and Public Health?

Simply put, the Department of Medicine is a department within the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH).

The SMPH has a total of 27 departments—17 clinical departments and 10 basic and applied science departments—and numerous institutes and centers. The Department of Medicine is the largest of those departments (and in fact, the largest department in the University of Wisconsin statewide system).

The SMPH itself is one of 13 schools and colleges at UW–Madison.


Department of Medicine researchers conduct laboratory-based biomedical studies to better understand the cellular and molecular underpinnings of disease, carry out clinical studies to yield new tests and therapies and lead health services research to improve the effectiveness of health care systems.

  • A total of 283 active studies in FY20
  • Ranked 21st in the nation in 2020 for National Institutes of Health funding awards to departments of internal medicine, according to the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research
  • Approximately 444 peer-reviewed publications in CY19


The Department of Medicine provides nationally-recognized, innovative programs for every stage of medical education, as described below. 

medical education steps


  • Undergraduate or graduate school: Many of our faculty members serve as research mentors for students pursuing bachelor’s degrees, master of science degrees, or PhD degrees through other UW-Madison programs. 

  • Medical school: Hundreds of our faculty and clinical adjunct faculty members provide classroom and clinical instruction for students in the Doctor of Medicine (MD) Program at the SMPH.

  • Residency: The department is the academic home for the UW Internal Medicine Residency Program, in partnership with UW Health. After graduating from medical school, physicians must complete residency: three years of in-depth clinical training necessary for practice and board certification in internal medicine. As of FY20, our residency program has a three-year 100 percent board exam pass rate.

  • Fellowship: After residency, physicians who wish to practice in internal medicine subspecialties must complete fellowship programs. Fellowships are usually one to three years long and provide advanced training in fields such as cardiology, gastroenterology, infectious disease, or nephrology. Some physicians may complete further advanced training in sub-subspecialties such as cardiac electrophysiology. The Department of Medicine offers 22 fellowship programs. As of FY20, our fellowship programs have a three-year 99 percent board exam pass rate

  • Continuing medical education: The department provides courses and workshops to support practicing physicians’ learning throughout their career.

Patient Care

Clinical faculty and staff members in the Department of Medicine are affiliated with UW Health, the integrated health system of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Read UW Health FY19 facts and figures.

Our clinical faculty also care for patients at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veteran's Hospital.

Our People

Based on FY20 data


  • 428 faculty members
  • Additionally, more than 250 volunteer faculty members statewide provide clinical training for students, residents and fellows

Advanced Practice Providers:

  • 150 nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) 


  • 331 academic staff members
  • 64 University staff members

Physicians in Training:

  • 4 chief residents, a one-year leadership role
  • 91 internal medicine residents
  • 78 fellows

Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Researchers:

  • 64 graduate students from at least 16 different UW–Madison programs
  • 30 postdocs 

A Special Thanks to Our Donors

The Department of Medicine is especially grateful to the more than 500 donors who each year make generous gifts to support our work. Thank you for your generosity! 


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