Friday, May 08, 2009

Peony power!

Maybe I should start a horticultural subseries of posts; certainly, the Willamette Valley and the Marquam Hill campus could provide a wealth of lovely specimens (and I could even throw in the gentian studies from the Howard Mason Papers--but more on that later).


But the first follow-up to the magnificent magnolia has to be the peony. This bush is located just outside of the main entrance to our building, the Old Library/Auditorium. Minds more trained than mine to see patterns have suggested to me that the floral motif on the main entry doors is meant to echo the peony; research on the symbolism of the architectural elements has not confirmed this hypothesis (although it is pretty to think so).

The peony's presence on campus is not merely decorative, however: the flower is an enduring symbol of healing in both Western and Eastern cultures. One tradition holds that the peony was named for the Greek god Paean, physician to the Olympian gods; the other has used peonies in medicinal preparations for centuries. Without question, our peony was planted to call these associations to mind; luckily for us, it's also a beautiful bloom with a delicate and lovely fragrance. (Have we mentioned that we love working in this building?)

The peony was also selected as the symbol of the OHSU History of Medicine Society; a golden peony was embroidered onto the banner that is displayed at each lecture. You can see it in the photo below, with Dr. Joseph McCormick at the podium.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Video available: History of Medicine Society Lecture on GERD

For those who were unable to attend Monday's final presentation in the 2008-2009 season of the OHSU History of Medicine Society Lecture Series, the streaming video is now available on the web site.

Dr. DeMeester traced the history of gastroesophageal reflux disease from its description as a peptic disease by Wilder Tileston in 1906 ("you see, it's been an American disease all along") through the the work of Phillip Allison, Norman Barrett, Rudolf Nissen, Ronald Belsey, Lucius Hill, and Donald Castell, highlighting the controversies that arose between surgeons and physicians over etiology and treatment. DeMeester noted that, with incidence of GERD on the rise, the time is ripe for further concerted research.

Also available on the web site is the list of confirmed speakers for next season; we look forward to seeing folks on September 25, 2009, as we kick off the new season with what is sure to be a fantastic talk from cardiologist and bibliophile Dr. Brian Morrison.

(Photo, l-r: John G. Hunter, MD, Mackenzie Professor and Chairman of Surgery, OHSU; Tom R. DeMeester, Professor and Chairman Emeritus, Dept. of Surgery, Keck School of Medicine, USC; and Donn H. Spight, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, OHSU)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Unique gift for National Nurses Week

Today is National Nurses Day, the first day of National Nurses Week (which ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale). The American Nurses Association expanded the national day of recognition to a full week of celebration in 1990, and have since instituted days for honoring registered nurses and student nurses as well.

So, what do you give a nurse for Nurses Day? Well, there are whole web sites out there designed to get the thoughts stirring, but we here in Historical Collections & Archives have found the perfect gift: a unique piece of history.

That's right: our methodical survey of the collections in offsite storage has revealed yet another uniquely held item, and this one is a key document in the history of the ANA and the organization of American nursing. ANA analysis of the report of the structure of organized nursing by Raymond Rich Associates is the Association's response to a study of the organizational structure of the six American nursing organizations in existence in 1946. The report tackles issues from non-nurse membership to specialty societies to recruitment and board review. (Interestingly, the previous owner of the OHSU copy was inspired to underline and highlight only two phrases in the 58-page report, both "collective bargaining.")

The double-column layout of the analysis, with excerpts from the Rich report on the left and the ANA "study and comments" on the right, provides a fascinating back-and-forth reading of all the major issues in nursing. As with much organizational assessment, however, there are many issues which could easily cross over to provide insight to other disciplines. Take the Association's comments on the report's findings on professional journals:
In so far as publications are concerned, the Rich Report appears to be concerned primarily with income and assuring a flow of income into the treasury of an organization rather than with the functions of the publication....

Most associations, in the minds of advertisers, have a publication which could not exist if it had to stand on its own feet....

An important factor in keeping a magazine constantly on its toes is to be in a position of standing or falling on its editorial merits....
Whether print or electronic, the song remains the same.

In 1947, Raymond Rich Associates also conducted a study of a national health library, a copy of which is held, again, by only one library in the United States. So, during this Nurses Week, you might want to honor our nurses--and their history--by capturing a nurse's story, saving a nursing brochure, or digging that old nursing text out of your closet/basement/attic and offering it to a repository near you. Someday, it may be a uniquely valuable record.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

In lasting memorial: Dianna Mack Andes, 1949-2008

On Christmas Eve 2008, the OHSU Library lost a longtime employee and great friend. Dianna Mack Andes had worked with three library directors in her 38-year tenure, and knew more about the university and its mysterious ways than most of the rest of us ever will.

Dianna had also undergone three open heart surgeries during her lifetime, and was an early recipient of a Starr-Edwards heart valve. She was really excited when Historical Collections & Archives received a significant collection of Starr-Edwards valves from perfusionist Jeri Dobbs in 2006. She was very supportive of efforts to collect and preserve the history of the university and the history of medicine, so it is fitting that monies collected in her name have been used to purchase a significant work in cardiovascular surgery for the History of Medicine Collection.

Mathieu Jaboulay (1860-1913) was a French surgeon who pioneered several surgical techniques, developed an anastomosis button for gastrointestinal repairs, and attempted the first kidney transplant. He is most celebrated, however, for being the first to perform the operation of sympathectomy for the relief of vascular disease. Chirurgie du grand sympathique et du corps thyroïde (les différents goitres). Articles originaux at observations réunis et publiés par E. Martin (Paris, O. Doin, 1900) is widely considered to be his most important work. Of the titles listed under Cardiovascular Surgery in Garrison-Morton, it was the only monographic work that the OHSU collections lacked.

An obituary for M. Jaboulay, published in the Nov. 29, 1913, issue of the British Medical Journal, noted that he was "in reality most affectionate, and to intimate friends most open, fascinating, and generous. He was a man of rare disinterestedness, and was held in the highest respect by his colleagues. His loss is greatly felt..." And so this work is a doubly fitting memorial for a woman whose great warmth and deep integrity will be greatly missed.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Reminder: History of Medicine Society Lecture TODAY

Our final lecture in the 2008-09 season of the OHSU History of Medicine Society Lecture Series is taking place today--please join us for light refreshments and an enlightening presentation. The lecture is free and open to the public; details are below:

“The History of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease”
Tom R. DeMeester, M.D., Professor and Chairman Emeritus, Dept. of Surgery, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

Monday, May 4, 2009
Public lecture: 12:15 p.m.
Refreshments served at noon
Location: Old Library Auditorium

Tom R. DeMeester, M.D., Professor and Chairman Emeritus, USC Department of Surgery, is renowned for his work in foregut and pulmonary disease. He is the originator and developer of the field of noninvasive foregut ambulatory monitoring, and has made several key contributions to the understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of diseases of the esophagus and their surgical correction. He has over 430 publications in peer reviewed journals, 161 book chapters, 9 books and several videos and motion pictures to his credit.

Dr. DeMeester earned his medical degree from the University of Michigan and was an intern and chief resident in surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. After serving as assistant chief, Thoracic-Cardiovascular Surgery Service at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, he joined the University of Chicago, where he rose to the rank of tenured professor and chief of the Thoracic Surgery Division. He spent seven years at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, as professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery before joining USC as chairman of the Department of Surgery in 1990. In 2009 he retired from the chair to focus on clinical practice, teaching and research.

[Image of GERD damage courtesy of the CORI Collection in the OHSU Digital Resources Library]