Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Vox populi

Yesterday, we received a small package from our hard-working and talented Director of Community Relations, who is also a sometime contributor of items to our collections here. Inside were 1) a copy of Larsell's Development of medical education in the Pacific Northwest, with the author's presentation inscription to A.E. Mackay, and 2) a very fascinating report of an opinion poll conducted in 1980, surveying the residents of the state of Oregon on their familiarity with the then University of Oregon Health Sciences Center.

As probably anyone working at UOHSC at the time (and many of us around today who have had to navigate the former-name labyrinth) would have told the administration, the name "University of Oregon Health Sciences Center" apparently meant very little to anyone off the Hill. The name recognition for "University of Oregon Medical School," however, remained high, and impressions of the school were overall quite favorable. People were aware of the types of activities that took place here; that it was a university as well as a hospital, and that it was a center of innovative health care. So, the positive image remained intact, despite the adoption of the unwieldy moniker in 1974.

Dated 1980, the report must have played some role in then President Leonard Laster's campaign to unburden the institution of its six-word name, trimming it down to a mere four words: Oregon Health Sciences University. The people had spoken!

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