Friday, May 15, 2009

Kam Wah Chung on OPB's Oregon Experience

A quick note, since many of you may have missed this (as did I) last night when it premiered:

Oregon Experience: Kam Wah Chung
In the late 1800s, thousands of Chinese miners came to Eastern Oregon in search of gold. Among them were two men - Ing “Doc” Hay and Lung On - who opened a store and herbal apothecary called Kam Wah Chung. Though originally catering to their fellow Chinese, over time these two men attended to the medical needs of many, becoming highly regarded members of the community.
Premieres May 14, 2009, 9:00 PM on OPB TV

Happily for us, the program is available online or on DVD from OPB.

A reminder that an oral history interview with dentist Dr. Eddie Wah, great grandnephew of Ing “Doc” Hay, was collected by the OMEF-funded history of medicine in Oregon project; a transcript of that interview is available in the OHSU Historical Collections & Archives.

Gathering the memories of Morningside

We are extraordinarily glad to be able to advertise the efforts of a newly established research team dedicated to uncovering the history of the Morningside Hospital and its role in the development of mental health sevices in Alaska.

Ellen Ganley, co-founder, CEO and Principal Consultant at Information Insights, and Karen Perdue, Associate Vice President for Health at the University of Alaska, have started a blog, Morningside Hospital, to share information and reach out to community members up and down the West Coast. According the Ellen, the blog "includes patient information and other information that might be of interest to families seeking lost relatives. There is one patient list there now [May 14] which covers the years 1904 to 1916. We have 3 other patient lists that we have not yet transcribed for 1920, 1930 and 1955. These lists provide a total of approximately 1,500 names of Morningside patients, almost all of whom were Alaska residents. There were probably 6,000 to 7,000 people sent there between 1904 and the mid-1960s."

The blog also includes photographs, snippets from contemporary news stories, and more. If you're looking for information on Morningside--or better yet, have information to share--please contact the project.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Human problems" sans the "humanism"?

Working on a query about the history of the Avel Gordly Center for Healing, formerly the Behavioral Health Clinic, we had the distinct pleasure of reading a little bit about Dr. Edward M. Scott, professor of psychiatry at the University of Oregon Medical School/OHSU.

(By the by, we don't have much information on the Behavioral Health Clinic, so if you know some of the story behind its founding, we'd love to hear from you.)

In a 1973 article from the Oregonian entitled "Dr. Scott likes to work on human problems", we learn that Dr. Scott's manner was, according to some, a little short on the actual humanity:
No question that Dr. Scott has aided thousands of Oregonians and won respect for his results. Still, he cuts a controversial figure. He has been heard to use heavy sarcasm on patients; often he faces them with a stern face, bulldog chin, and forceful look.

'He is too abrasive,' a former colleague said. 'He is too rough and sarcastic,' said another, and a former wino asserted, 'I don't like him.'

But the latter did stop drinking, and that's what matters to Edward Scott. 'I'm not really interested in how people feel about me. They'll thank me when I do my job effectively, or condemn me when I don't. Being nice or sarcastic, either one, isn't worth a damn. It's a question of whether I help them.'

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New donation: Macht Collection on Howard P. Lewis


Historical Collections & Archives was honored last week with the deposit of the Madison Macht Collection on Howard P. Lewis (Accession 2009-010), circa two linear feet of manuscript materials, interview notes, articles, photographs, correspondence and ephemera collected during Macht's research on Lewis. Regular readers and other devoted fans will remember that Dr. Macht presented a talk on Lewis as part of the OHSU History of Medicine Lecture Series in 2008; the streaming video of that presentation is currently available on the web site.

The collection includes both materials pertaining to Lewis's life and career--preserved by students, colleagues, and family members--and materials amassed by Macht in his research into the milieux inhabited by Lewis, from his boyhood in Coos Bay to his education and career at the University of Oregon Medical School to his service on the American Board of Internal Medicine and beyond.

A quick peek reveals some wonderful gems, including the photographs shown here: one of Lewis' particular method of jumping percussion (above), and one of Lewis receiving an honorary fellowship in the American Heart Association (along with other luminaries, such as Louis Katz, below).


A red bound volume of tribute letters, collected at the time of Lewis' retirement from the ABIM, reveals this missive from Franklin Hanger, MD, who hails Lewis for his contributions to medical excellence and calls him "a hard shelled old Tory!" (click for larger image):


Dr. Macht has succeeded in capturing a record of Lewis' life and career, a record which was on the verge of disappearing with the memories of the dear departed. We are truly grateful that he chose to deposit that record with us, for the benefit of all future researchers.

Oh, and keep an eye out for Macht's article on Lewis, forthcoming in the Summer issue of the Pharos.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bennett brings home the Bremner!

Once again, this year's winner of the American Academy of the History of Dentistry's Bremner Award for best article on the history of dentistry is an OHSU School of Dentistry student! Gregory Bennett, third year dental student, has won for his paper, "The Root of Dental Anatomy: a case for naming Eustachius the 'Father of Dental Anatomy'".

Greg's paper briefly traces Eustachi's life and medical career before turning to a consideration of his Libellus de dentibus (or, "Little treatise on the teeth"), an "exhaustive compendium of dental anatomy." In the first of thirty chapters, Eustachi characterizes the material composition of the tooth, providing the first recorded description of the layers of dentin and enamel. Eustachi also gives the "first clear description of the periodontal membrane" and challenges the wisdom of Galen by proposing the existence of the dental pulp. For this groundbreaking work, Eustachi does seem a very good candidate for the title of "father of dental anatomy."

As a bonus (for us!), Greg was able to use the 1761 edition of Albinus' commentary on Eustachi's Tabulae anatomicae in the History of Medicine Collection in his research (title page shown here).

Greg will receive $500 plus travel money to the annual meeting of the Academy to receive his award. According to resident dental historian and emeritus professor Dr. J. Henry Clarke, DMD, students from OHSU SOD have won the award more often than students from any other school. The contest is open to all dental and pre-dental students in the U.S. and Canada.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The economics of medical education

Reading through the Report of the Association for the Advancement of the Medical Education of Women, with addresses delivered at Union League Hall, Tuesday, March 26th, 1878 (New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1878) we find this well-reasoned and passionate argument for public support of medical education, from Mary Putnam Jacobi (who, of course, was making the assertion because public medical education wasn't being provided equally to women as to men, but the argumentation is still striking in this era of diminishing state support)
...[T]he practice of medicine cannot be considered a lucrative profession, if the pecuniary returns are estimated by a comparison with the pecuniary outlay of a medical education. The expense of living during the years of study must increase with every increase in thoroughness, and duration of the term of study, and this must be met by the student, even when the cost to the student, of instruction has been reduced to a minimum. The real cost of instruction, however, cannot be reduced except by diminishing its real value; for its main expense is that required for the brains of its teachers. At the present day the market value of intellect is such that the highest instruction cannot be obtained except at at an expense far above private resources. This expense must be, and is always borne by the state or the public. If society does not choose to assume this expense, the instruction falls at once below the level to which it has risen in other parts of the civilized world. ...

Physicians are not private tradesmen but public officers; for the most mediocre success in their work is required an intellectual capital for which all the intellectual resources in the world must be laid under contribution; and it is to the interests of society, even more than of the physicians, to see that such capital is acquired.
You can certainly see in this excerpt why Mary Putnam's entrance into the medical profession was seen as a great loss for literature.

And a special, unrelated, bonus: Where in the world is Dr. Charles Grossman?