Monday, May 14, 2018

New Collection: Nurse Midwifery Program records

Historical Collections & Archives is now posting on Library Notes! Check out this post, and others. there.

This post is by Archives Assistant John Esh.
Image of the Rural Health Conference program of 2006
Rural Health Conference program, 2006

While I’m currently making my way through OHSU’s massive medical artifact collection (more to come on that soon!), my previous project was processing the Nurse Midwifery Program records, collection number 2015-017. This one came to us courtesy of Dr. Carol Howe, the “Godmother of Midwifery,” here at OHSU after her retirement. While various Nurse-Midwifery collections have been posted about before (be sure to check out Meg and Max’s posts), this particular one contains a few new items of interest.

The majority of this collection consists of minutes, grant proposals, certifications, and other documents pertaining to the inner workings of the program, but within can also be found more objects directly pertaining to Dr. Howe and her tenure. Several folders contain articles written about Dr. Howe and her accomplishments, as well as a multitude of articles pertaining to midwifery and the OHSU School of Nursing. This collection also contains many photographs documenting over 30 years of Carol Howe and her staff both at work in the hospital and spending family time with each other.

Annotated speech on “Who is a Midwife,” by Carol Howe, date known
Annotated speech, “Who is a Midwife,” Carol Howe, undated
Most noteworthy though are the presence of several of Dr. Howe’s speeches and presentations at conferences across the country. A prolific speaker and born educator, these speeches give great insight into the evolution of the practice over the years. Along with her hand annotated copies of the speeches, the folders contain everything from ephemera surrounding the various speaking engagements, to thank you notes from effused coordinators and peers.

Anyone with an interest in nurse-midwifery would be remiss to not check out this collection and take to heart the words of Dr. Carol Howe, one of our greatest midwives and contributors to the field.

Friday, May 04, 2018

New Oral History: Virginia Tilden

Historical Collections & Archives is now posting on Library Notes! Check out this post, and others. there.

This post is by Archives Assistant Rosie Yanosko.

Image of Doctor Virginia Tilden
Virginia Tilden, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N.
We recently added an interview with Virginia Tilden, Senior Associate for Research at the School of Nursing, to our Oral History Collection. I highly recommend reading this interview, but in case you're short on time, I'd like to share some of Tilden's fascinating story. Her father was a Foreign Service Officer, so her formative years were spent in the Commonwealth of Nations and the Far East. Her upbringing instilled her with a "sense of a pretty large world, and the suffering of many people." While Tilden was in high school, her family moved back to the States, and she decided to study Nursing at Georgetown University. She described her time at Georgetown as follows:
They were the early years ... nursing was very traditional. It was very much subservient to physicians. It was very much follow orders. You know, that would make me bristle. Follow orders? Wait a minute. I mean, so that was a challenge for me. Why I stayed was I loved psychiatric nursing because it was where I could connect with people, with their suffering, with their limitations.
Tilden's empathy for the suffering of others and dedication to challenging the status quo are evident throughout her career.

After graduating from Georgetown in 1967, Tilden needed a change of pace, and she decided to pursue her Master's in Psychiatric Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Describing herself as "a little bit of a rebel," Tilden lived in the storied Haight-Ashbury district. At that time, few schools had Ph.D. programs in Nursing, so she studied under a group of nursing faculty with doctorates in psychology, anthropology, sociology, and other fields. This interdisciplinary approach had a marked influence on Tilden, who incorporated these divergent viewpoints into her own work. After completing her Master's degree, Tilden served as a clinical instructor before going on to pursue her Ph.D. in Nursing from UCSF. Her groundbreaking doctoral dissertation studied the psychology of women during pregnancy and childbirth, including a sub-study of women who were single by choice.

She completed her Ph.D. in 1981 and accepted a faculty position at OHSU's School of Nursing the following year. Along with Barb Limandri and others, Tilden studied domestic violence and abuse. In 1989, she became the Associate Dean for Research and earned a postdoctoral certificate in Clinical Bioethics from the School of Medicine at the University of Washington (UW). Tilden remembers a lecture at UW that focused on the case of Nancy Cruzan, a young woman in a vegetative state whose family sought to withdraw life support. The nursing home caring for Cruzan refused to comply with her family's wishes, and the case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. This case had a profound impact on Tilden:
I had this interest in families during gestation and childbearing. And then family violence ... I was very interested in what [her] family went through. And as a result of that, I kind of moved my research program to trying to understand what families experienced when they went through ethical dilemmas.
Shortly thereafter, Tilden partnered with other OHSU faculty to create an Ethics Center, where her research supported the creation and development of Physician Orders for Life-Saving Treatment (POLST).

To learn more about Tilden's work and her remarkable contributions to the field of Nursing, consider reading her oral history.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

An Intimidating Prospect: The Records of Peter Kohler

Historical Collections & Archives is now posting on Library Notes! Check out this post, and others. there.

This post is by Archives Assistant Jeff Colby.

This past year saw the Historical Collections & Archives crew involved in a massive, all-hands-on-deck project to conclusively finish organizing the massive amount of records (of all types) gathered primarily through the period of administration of OHSU President Peter O. Kohler, which spanned from 1988 to 2006. They include not only Dr. Kohler’s own papers but those of his Vice-Presidents as well. As is to be expected, reams of bureaucratic paperwork are pretty charmless in and of themselves. However, at the end of it all, it gives one a greater appreciation of the sheer breadth and depth of the concerns of a major modern academic medical center.

early plan for South Waterfront development, circa 2000
 An old saying is that money runs the world, and in this case finances were an integral part of the collection. And an especially alarming part, as a series of politically motivated tax laws and continuing budget cuts led to the drastic decision of OHSU to cut loose from the State and re-invent itself as a Public Corporation. While this did not totally stop OHSU from trying to massage funding from State and Federal Legislatures, it did lead to a much wider net being thrown to haul in more private investors. This would lead to the “Oregon Opportunity” campaign, which endeavored to bring more biomedical research into Oregon.

Partnerships with other local entities, like the City of Portland and Portland State University, were another major component of the collection. Like the Public Corporation and Oregon Opportunity, these efforts were part of an overall process of strategic planning in which it was felt essential for OHSU to give up its “Shining City on the Hill” aloofness and come downtown. We joined with PSU in the new South Waterfront campus, now up running and still expanding, with the OHSU Dental School, OHSU/PSU School of Public Health, and the Center for Women’s Health.

early tram inspiration, from a 2005 PowerPoint presentation
Other important issues are likewise dealt with, such as Medicare/Medicaid and the medically under-served populations of rural Oregon. The first is a perpetual headache that must be survived. The second had a happier outcome with the extension of rural clinics and Area Health Education Centers (the AHEC program) to help create a new generation of healthcare workers themselves living in these rural areas.

This in turn led to attention to curriculum changes to take advantage of all these new efforts and incorporate the lessons of this new research into our own student lessons. Add to all this the miles and miles of budget files and the personnel files with their many (restricted) grievances, one gets a mind-boggling idea of the scale of things heaped up on our Administrations’ plates … ‘tis not for the weak of heart.

For more information, review the finding aid for the Office of President Peter Kohler records.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Goodbye "Historical Notes"

For many years, OHSU's Historical Collections & Archives has maintained this blog, Historical Notes, separately from the other OHSU Library pages. However, we've recently decided that it will be better for everyone if we bring together the HC&A blog and the official OHSU Library Notes blog - one place for all your favorite library posts.

For the next few weeks, we'll be cross-posting on both blogs to allow everyone a bit of time to make the transition. But, by the start of June, we plan to only be posting on the OHSU Library Notes blog. But don't worry, our posts will be tagged in the Historical Collections & Archives category and you can still subscribe to email updates or the RSS feed to fulfill all of your notification needs.

And don't worry, this blog site isn't going anywhere. We'll keep it going to retain access to old posts (we are archivists, after all), but you can also visit our Web Archive to find them there (just in case). So check out the new space, update those bookmarks, and sign up to get notifications of new posts. We hope you'll keep following us for years to come.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

New Collection: Casey Bush collection on Robert S. Dow

by John Esh

Dow in New Guinea
New Guinea, undated
I’m proud to say that I recently processed my first official collection and it was put up for the whole world to see on Archives West. In collaboration with my coworker Rosie Yanosko, we pored through the life of Robert Stone Dow, a world renowned neuroscientist and longtime Portland resident. We organized, and then processed the records for the OHSU Historical Collections & Archives. Dr. Dow has been posted about before on this blog; I’ll give you a quick recap of his life as the eminent neuroscientist in Oregon.

While born in Wray, Colorado, Dr. Dow was raised in Newberg and McMinnville, Oregon before attending Linfield College where he worked under Dr. James MacNab as a lab assistant. It was here he gained the attention of Dr. Olof Larsell, and it was under Larsell’s tutelage that Dr. Dow gained a passion for the inner workings of the cerebellum and both his Ph.D. and M.D. from Oregon State University. After marrying and travelling while pursuing a post-graduate education across two continents, Dr. Dow returned to his home state where he built the first electroencephalogram (EEG) in Oregon, as well as the first neurology practice in the state. Furthermore, having established the Neurological Sciences Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital, Dow continued his research into epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, strokes, and Parkinson’s, among other brain related maladies, before dying at the age of 87 in 1995.
There are other collections about Dr. Dow in the OHSU Archives, but this particular one was donated by Casey Bush, a poet, writer, and the biographer of Dr. Dow with his book entitled Inside the Black Box: A Biography of Oregon Neuroscientist Robert Stone Dow. While this biography has never been published (evidenced by a handful of rejection letters from various publishers), a copy is available in this very collection for anyone to read.

Dow in New Guinea
New Guinea, undated
Along with his biography, the collection consists of correspondence, presentations, photographs, and publications of the famous neuroscientist. Some of the content that I found most interesting to my previous anthropological schooling was Dr. Dow’s presentation, Kuru: The Mysterious Disease of New Guinea, which he made in 1965 after spending time there with the Fore people attempting to deduce the cause of the disease. Kuru is an affliction most common among said tribes and directly translates as “trembling” and is also known as the “laughing sickness,” which we now believe to have been transferred during cannibalistic funerary rites when the brain was ingested. As well, the people of the Fore would often enlist sorcerers to craft talismans for them with the intent of inflicting kuru upon those they hated. Thankfully the practice ended in 1960, but the long incubation time of the disease (10-50 years) meant that only recently has the disease completely died out.

The Casey Bush collection on Robert S. Dow provides a fascinating look into Robert Dow’s busy life and work and is definitely worth the time to look through, or perhaps even request a copy of his biography from, to learn a little more about the history of the medical profession in Oregon.