Friday, November 02, 2007

Secret committees and nuclear reactors


No, it wasn't a history of the Soviet Union, it was our interview with Tyra T. Hutchens, M.D., yesterday afternoon.

We heard about how Medical School Dean Charles Holman asked Hutchens to chair a "secret committee" to investigate the feasibility of developing a faculty practice plan and to provide recommendations for implementation; much contentious debate erupted when the committee finally presented its report to the faculty, but the plan -- with revisions -- was finally adopted.

Hutchens, a true pioneer in nuclear medicine, also talked about his role in the establishment of several prominent nuclear medicine groups, including the American Board of Nuclear Medicine. The first certification exams for nuclear medicine were given in 1972, and Hutchens was one of three pathologists on that first panel. Having gotten his start in nuclear medicine during an NRC AEC fellowship stint at Reed College, Hutchens was later involved in getting Reed's nuclear reactor in 1968.

I did take the opportunity to ask the expert about the dangers of our radioactive Medical Museum Collection pieces, such as our drinking radium (from the J. Chandler Smith Collection) and the Revigator crock. He didn't seem overly concerned, but he didn't ask to see the collection, either ....

For complete details divulged during the afternoon, stay tuned for the video and transcript, both of which will be available for check-out from the Main Library after processing.

A technical note: I'll be out of the office all next week, so there will be a brief respite from posts. See you all again on November 12.

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