About CDU

About CDU


Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) is a private, nonprofit, community-founded, student-centered University committed to cultivating diverse health professional leaders who are dedicated to social justice and health equity for underserved populations through outstanding education, clinical service and community engagement.  CDU is also a leader in health disparities research with a focus on education, training, treatment and care in cancer, diabetes, cardiometabolic and HIV/AIDS.

In the five decades since the school was incorporated in the Watts-Willowbrook area of Los Angeles in 1966, CDU has graduated more than 575 physicians, 1,200 physician assistants and over a thousand other health professionals, as well as training over 2,700 physician specialists through its sponsored residency programs. Its School of Nursing has graduated over 1000 nursing professionals, including more than 600 family nurse practitioners. 

CDU has earned designation as a minority-serving institution by the U.S. Office for Civil Rights, and is recognized by the Department of Education (DOE) under Title III B as a Historically Black Graduate Institution (HBGI). The University is also a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. 

Over 70 percent of graduates since 2000 are from underrepresented backgrounds. CDU is the second most diverse four-year private nonprofit college in the nation, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education (August 2017).  In fact, a California Wellness Foundation report estimated that one-third of all minority physicians practicing in Los Angeles County are graduates of the CDU medical school and/or residency training programs.  And more than 80 percent of CDU students report returning to practice and provide much-needed care in underserved communities following graduation. 

CDU has evolved and grown, shaped by the needs of the community it serves.  The institution benefits from its location and the corresponding diversity and complexity of its population by creating an academic environment unlike any other.  That unique environment features the “CDU Advantage,” a curriculum based on five specific pillars—research, social justice, international exposure, experiential education, and health policy—that gives CDU graduates both solid preparation to practice in their chosen field of healthcare, and a true understanding of health disparities, health policy and social justice.

CDU strives to improve the health status of underserved communities through innovative biomedical research and progressive health policies. By maintaining and expanding relationships with local health professions schools, research institutions and community-based organizations, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science strives to eliminate health disparities by providing access to and delivery of healthcare services to underserved populations.

The University is named after Dr. Charles R. Drew, a brilliant, pioneering African-American physician who overcame long odds and racism in the early and mid-20th century to produce seminal work on blood banking and blood plasma storage and transfusion.  He was also a distinguished surgeon and chair of surgery at Howard University. His dedication to learning and sharing knowledge to benefit mankind is the inspiration for the University.