Monday, April 07, 2008

Today: History of pediatric surgery lecture

A reminder to all our local readers that this afternoon the first annual John R. Campbell, MD, Pediatric Surgery Lecture will be delivered by C. Everett Koop, MD, at 5:00 pm in the OHSU Old Library Auditorium.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Late last week, I did receive word that the lecture will be videotaped; as I get it, I'll pass along information on the availability of this video to those who cannot attend the lecture in person.

Koop, former Surgeon General of the U.S., Emeritus Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and Emeritus Surgeon-in-Chief of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, will speak on Pediatric Surgery: a 62-year perspective from the nation's oldest children's hospital.

Established in 1855, the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia predates OHSU's own Doernbecher Children's Hospital by a cool 70 years; it wasn't until the arrival of lecture series honoree Jack Campbell, MD, in 1967 that DCH even had a Surgeon-in-Chief. But, pediatric surgery was alive and well here in Portland well before Campbell's arrival: Dr. Harold M. Erickson was the first graduate of the pediatric surgery residency at the University of Oregon Medical School back in 1935. In 1990, he contributed his reminiscences of that time to the Pacific Northwest Archives Collection.

After 15 months as resident, Erickson reports, he set out to engage in professional practice: "The future of a Pediatric Surgeon at that time was somewhat uncertain. Dr. Herbert Coe [Seattle, WA] was the only full time children's surgeon in the Pacific Northwest." Finding no employment in his specialty in the Portland area, Erickson went on to serve as health officer in Multnomah, Sherman, and Wasco counties; as a private practitioner in The Dalles; and as assistant state health officer, before leaving the state of Oregon to seek employment outside of the Pacific Northwest.

Since the 1930s, pediatric surgery in Oregon has continued to grow and flourish: see the web site for the Division of Pediatric Surgery in the OHSU School of Medicine's Department of Surgery for more information on current research and training programs.

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