Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Learn something new everyday!

The post title is both a broad exhortation and a specific component of this job: the great thing about knowledge is that, generally speaking, the more you have the more you want, and the History of Medicine Room is where I feed my habit.

Today, I had the pleasure and privilege of reading a draft departmental history written by one of our patrons. In it I learned that, among many other achievements, the OHSU Department of Surgery, Division of Vascular Surgery, is the home of the very first vascular surgery residency program ever certified by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). OHSU received this accreditation in 1984; today, there are over 100 vascular surgery fellowship programs in the United States.

Modern history (while often new to me!) can be easier to record: the faculty members are still with us, appearing on campus periodically in the manner of many an emeritus professor, able to regale us with stories of the old days.... But what happens when the old days are really old? No one alive today remembers the Matson brothers, twin doctors who practiced in Portland in the first half of the 20th century. As a result, they can only make it into a written history if the original source materials are consulted. (Well, maybe the Matsons could be discovered through the magic of the web, at the Oregon Clinic web site and at RootsWeb.com)

For all of you out there who enjoy hearing an older colleague's stories of the "way it was," or even your father's stories about growing up: get those stories down on something! If you don't have the time or patience to write it up, record it (put that cell phone to a better use!). Someday, you'll thank yourself.

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