Korea’s oldest private university, Yonsei University, was first established back in 1885 by American Northern Presbyterian Christian missionaries, headed by Dr. H.N. Allen who went to Korea through the request of King Gojung of the Chosun Dynasty.
At first the King asked the American doctor, who was also the family doctor of the royal family, to put up a hospital, which was called Jejungwon in Gurigae. A year later, 16 students were chosen and the school was officially opened. It paved the way not only for the Yonsei University, but also the starting point of the modern medical education in the country, and became the forerunners of modern medicine in all of Asia.
Dr. O.R. Avison, another Christian missionary, who also works as a professor at the University of Toronto Medical School became the head of the school and through the donation coming from a certain Mr. L.H. Severance, the hospital was reconstructed, finalizing the medical education institution, which was later known as the Severance Hospital and Severance Medical School. In 1908, the Korean school produced their first graduates and were issued license by the Korean government.
In 1917, the school was developed and was known then as the Severance Union Medical College. In 1942 at the pressure of the Japanese government, the school was changed to Asahi Medical College. In 1947, two years after Korea won its independence from Japan, the country’s Ministry of Culture and education granted the school the license to put up six-year long course program at the Severance Medical College.
In 1949, their preparatory courses were transferred to Yonhi University, a notable institution established in 1915. In 1951, the Korean war broke out forcing the school to relocate to Busan, one year later the Severance Medical College and Hospital returned to Seoul which was followed by Yonhi University in 1953.
In 1957, the two institutions officially merged and were later known as the Yonsei University. Two years later, the Korean language Institute was established, and in the following years more reconfiguration followed suit.
Today, the Korean university has three campuses that house various departments and colleges. One of their campuses is the Sinchon campus where the college of Nursing, Medicine, Dentistry, Law, Liberal Arts, Engineering, Business, Business and Economics etc are located. They also have the Wonju Campus housing the Science & technology, Government & Business, health Sciences, Wonju College of Medicine, and the Humanities & Arts.
In 2009, the Severance Hospital and Intuitive Surgical opened the Severance Robot and MIS (which is short for minimal invasive surgery) Center, intended for health professionals who want to gain experience in the said surgical technique. The center is the second in Asia, with Hong Kong being the first, and hopes to be the central hub of robotic training in this part of Northeast Asia.
To date, the center has been frequented by a lot of surgeons worldwide, who receive training in robotic surgery and attend the annual Yonsei da Vinci Live symposium, where they are introduced to new techniques that can improve surgical results.