Friday, February 13, 2015

Artifact Spotlight: Valentine's Day Edition

We recently photographed some of our favorite artifacts for outreach materials, and were struck by how classically "heart-shaped" this heart model appears. I couldn't resist sharing it on such a timely occasion!

Photo by Max Johnson
This vascular corrosion cast of an unidentified heart is one of several held in the School of Dentistry Artifact Collection.

The practice of injecting materials into vascular systems for anatomical study dates back centuries, but the technique of injecting solidifying materials to create anatomical casts developed in the 17th century, when Jam Swammerdam experimented with a mix of beeswax, tallow, and resin.[1] By the twentieth century, the method utilized synthetic polymers such as neoprene latex and polyester resin. Creating a corrosion cast first requires removing the blood from the organ and injecting a polymer, such as resin, which will fill the space in place of the blood. When the injected material has hardened, the next step is to corrode away the surrounding tissue with an alkaline solution, so that all that remains is a hardened cast of the vascular system. As you can see from this photo, this technique even captures tiny vessels! More recently, a similar method was used in the popular traveling "Body Worlds" exhibit.

If you'd like to see more of these casts, or discuss other anatomical artifacts, contact me at and we can set up an appointment to visit our research room.

From the bottom of our [plasticized] hearts, Happy Valentine's Day from HC&A!

[1] Tompsett, D. H. (1969). Anatomical injections. Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England45(2), 108–115.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Video: Dr. Michael Garland, "Creating the Oregon Health Plan" (History of Medicine Society lecture, 2/6/2015)

For those unable to make it to Friday's lecture, or if you'd like to revisit Dr. Garland's excellent presentation, we are pleased to share streaming video of his lecture, "Creating the Oregon Health Plan: An Ethics Mosaic" below.

Our next History of Medicine Society lecture will be in May - stay tuned for details!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Oral history program update: Upcoming interview with Dr. Ira Pauly

The OHSU Oral History Program has been humming along under the management of consulting historian Morgen Young of Alder LLC. For our next interview, Morgen and I are traveling to Phoenix for the honor of interviewing Dr. Ira Pauly, a pioneer in transgender health care.

Dr. Pauly served on the faculty of University of Oregon Medical School's Department of Psychiatry from 1962-1974. In the early 1960s, through what he described as a "soul-searching" process, he joined a handful of psychiatrists who supported sex reassignment surgery for transsexuals. In the 1960s-1970s, he collaborated with noted endocrinologist and sexologist Harry Benjamin, and published influential studies on human sexuality, particularly on transgender men and sex reassignment surgery. Dr. Pauly is now Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at University of Nevada's School of Medicine, and a supporter of LGBT community.

Dr. Pauly came to my attention through George Nicola of the Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest. We will be working George and his colleagues to craft questions for the interview. Though Dr. Pauly's contributions are celebrated within the transgender community, they are less well known at OHSU. The university's current leadership in LGBT healthcare equality make this interview particularly timely.