Friday, December 01, 2017

Tuesday! Join us for a book talk by author Bill Graves

Interested in the story of how OHSU became the academic health center it is today? Please join OHSU Library for a discussion with William Graves, author of Transformed: How Oregon’s Public Health University Won Independence and Healed Itself (Pacific University Press, 2016). A Q&A will follow the author’s presentation. Light morning refreshments will be served.

Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017
10 a.m. - 11 a.m.
BICC building, Room 429 (enter through the OHSU Main Library entrance on the 3rd floor)

About the book: Oregon Health & Science University seemed stuck in the backwaters of the nation’s academic health centers when Dr. Peter Kohler became its president in 1988. So Kohler and his young administrative team came up with a radical plan to help OHSU take control of its fate as a semi-independent public corporation. This remarkable story offers a case study and possible model for other public universities and academic health centers now facing the same social and economic forces that drove OHSU to transform. The book is based on countless interviews and hours of research using the unique collections in OHSU Historical Collections & Archives. 

About the author: William Graves has worked more than three decades as a daily newspaper journalist, including 23 years at The Oregonian in Portland. He is co-author of a book on education reform, Poisoned Apple, a graduate of the University of Puget Sound and Western Washington University, and a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Archival questions, archival answers?

by Rachel Fellman

There’s no single educational path into archives, though most of us do go to library school. If there were an archives degree, though, you’d really only need two classes: Exquisite Office Supplies and Making Tricky Calls. Archives is not a career to go into if you like your decisions clear and your guidance universal. A collection with 25 folders is a collection with 25 problems. Are this woman’s records likely to be covered by HIPAA? Who is the man in this photo? Do we respect the office’s original file order if it doesn’t make sense? No, hear me out: what if it sort of makes sense?

1.5% of the collection. Photo by author. Also shown:
sunlight, the archivist's enemy.
All this is leading up to the reason you haven’t heard from us in a while: we’re (re)processing files from the office of Peter Kohler, who was president of OHSU from 1988 until 2006. Dr. Kohler was a central figure in OHSU’s history – during his tenure, the university doubled in size and employee numbers. And his collection is huge. How huge? Somewhere around 200 linear feet. Is that big by archival standards? Maybe not, but OHSU’s collections tend to be small. The Kohler records are our second-largest one. (The largest is 400 feet long, involves human remains and 98 boxes of plaster casts, and has its own room which may or may not be haunted.)

Perhaps half of the Kohler collection was already processed. Our goal now is to process the entire collection into one coherent arrangement scheme. One of the many tricky calls in archives is how much time to spend on a collection in the first place. There's a whole school of thought, called "minimal processing," that argues that we should spend very little -- no refoldering, no relabeling, no removal of paperclips or staples, just a collection hurtling as fast as possible into researchers' hands. Most archivists acknowledge the wisdom of that without taking it as gospel. We try to process quickly, but also go back and reexamine things when we can. (And usually we can't resist taking the paperclips out. They can rust!)

In this case, many of the files we've been working with had been refoldered and relabeled by previous archivists. So for this iteration of the project, the three of us (student workers and Archives Assistant) are going back through these records and doing some polishing, including bringing some of the titles in line with current practices. We're also deaccessioning some records. Plainly put, we had to remove some of the stuff to improve access to the rest.

Some of the choices were easy. There were things that were obviously too private to show researchers, or too banal to be any use to them. Want to see Dr. Kohler’s 2005 tax returns, complete with his Social Security number? Well, you can’t, because I’ve shredded them. Want to see the receipts for his car phones, back when that was a thing? A hint: you will learn more if you just type "car phone" into Google Images, and you'll also see some pictures of people who are really living.

But there were also more ambiguous calls. Most prominently, Dr. Kohler’s office saved many years of letters from patients. Some are positive, others are critical, but all of them reveal ordinary people's experiences and feelings about the hospital. Per OHSU’s records retention policy, we should be throwing them all away, and for most of the length of this project, we have. But the questions creep up. How much does an institution’s records retention policy apply to its archives? How much do we owe to the patients – to make sure their stories are told – and how much do we owe to the institution – to tell its story in full? But also: don't we owe these patients their privacy? They never gave permission for their letters to be kept forever; permission is a privilege not everyone gets. So what's more important, what's the more vital right? Being remembered, or being forgotten?

I can’t provide an upside-down answer key at the end of this post, like on a magazine quiz. Archival questions are all unanswerable; that’s why they’re so tricky. But essentially, we've come down on the side of throwing them away. The record suffers from the absence of these stories, but people suffer when institutions do things without consent, and it's part of our professional ethics to value people over paper. We value the paper because we value the people. Still, there are always ambiguities when you try to be fair to everybody, and we need to keep these things in mind when we look at records that past archivists have processed. They may look neutral, but there are always decisions behind them.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Rosenbaum History of Neurology Lecture: Dr. Jock Murray on November 7th

Please join us for our first history of medicine lecture of the 2017-2018 season:

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017, 5:00pm
Doernbecher Children's Hospital -- Miller Auditorium (11th floor)

In every decade before and after MS was named and framed in 1868, there was always an array of therapies applied to patients. Dr. Murray will explain the theoretical basis behind the numerous treatments up to the present day.

Dr. Jock Murray is a neurologist, and founder and former director of the Dalhousie MS Research Unit.  He was Dean of Medicine, and Professor of Medical Humanities. He had leadership roles as Chairman of the American College of Physicians, VP of the American Academy of Neurology, President of the American Olser Society, and President of the Canadian Neurological Society.  He is an Officer of the Order of Canada, Order of Nova Scotia and a laureate of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

2017-2018 OHSU History of Medicine Society lectures

A new season of History of Medicine Society lecture season is upon us! Please see below for a preview of our 2017-2018 schedule.  We will be posting more event details and reminders as the lecture dates approach.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017, 5:00pm
Doernbecher Miller Auditorium
Herbert Rosenbaum History of Neurology Lecture
Dr. T. John “Jock” Murray, MD
Dalhousie University
Sponsored by the Department of Neurology

Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 10:00am
BICC 429 (OHSU Main Library)
Bill Graves
Author of Transformed: How Oregon's Public Health University Won Independence and Healed Itself

Friday, April 20, 2018, 12:00pm
OHSU Old Library Auditorium
Dr. Dan Albert, MD, MS
Casey Eye Institute

Spring 2018
History of Surgery lecture
Dr. Albert Starr
Sponsored by the Department of Surgery
Date TBD

Thursday, August 17, 2017

"The Marquam Hill Billy"

by Rachel Fellman

scan by the author
No plan survives the enemy, and no departmental in-joke survives eighty years in a file folder. I drew that second conclusion while reading through the three surviving issues of The Marquam Hill Billy, a University of Oregon Medical School employee newsletter from (most likely) 1937. (Volume and issue numbers are listed with almost sarcastic precision, but there are no dates on the issues).

The newsletter takes a mocking tone, and two of its opening editorials take the time to chide annoyed readers: "No fair getting your feelings hurt"; "our policy is not to hurt any feelings, so it's  'no fair gettin' mad.'" It's hard to imagine any of the readership actually gettin' mad, though. The jokes at staff expense are very mild, and composed mainly of self-deprecating anecdotes and things that friends might tell their friends. (One staffer mistakes shaving cream for toothpaste; another is briefly caught up in a riptide; a third is in love.) There are marriage and baby announcements, and a certain amount of medical wordplay ("the weather was a little diluted," and the Hill Billy itself is "issued P.R.N.").

It's in the patient anecdotes that the Hill Billy takes the gloves off. A young patient's mother pronounces "pneumonia" as "peanut ammonia"; another child gets a bee sting on his tongue while running down the hill to tell his mother their house was on fire. In general, the portrayal of patients is very negative: they're portrayed as ill-informed and uneducated, and generally don't know what's what. Some of them are black, which is held to be inherently funny, and racist remarks abound.

Most of the time, I find that old publications read a lot like new ones. The Crohn's newsletters are recognizable precursors of the modern Internet, with a mixture of information and friendly chatter. And an alumni magazine is an alumni magazine whether you meet it in 1957 or 2017. Gallows humor is universal to caring professions, as is private frustration with patients and co-workers. But it's hard to imagine anything like The Marquam Hill Billy existing today. The idea of how a professional speaks and acts has just changed too much, and there's a much stronger boundary between our personal and working lives. Archivists may be annoyed by HIPAA more or less all the time, but at least it stops medical discourse from devolving into "poor people say the darnedest things." (I'll own, though, that "don't get mad at the nasty remark I'm about to make" remains a universal constant.)

The Marquam Hill Billy can be found in the University News and Publications Print Collection, 2004-003.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Beyond the Pickering Debacle

by Rachel Fellman

Dr. Donald Pickering's lab notebooks are easy to date for two reasons. First, he served at the University of Oregon Medical School for only five years -- as a professor of pediatrics, and then as the first director of the Oregon Regional (now National) Primate Research Center. His speedy departure from the latter post was still referred to decades later as "the Pickering Debacle."

Photo by author
The second reason, though, is that he was a tidy man who obviously treasured his office supplies. The first page of each hardcover notebook is neatly labeled with the subject and year, with a first-day-of-school enthusiasm that's been preserved intact through the early years of the doctor's professional life. Their internal organization is similarly scholarly. Photographs are pasted in and neatly labeled, and introductory matter is written in full sentences without corrections. I like to think that Dr. Pickering, who died in 2006, would have appreciated knowing that we've removed the rusted paperclips from his work and fitted it precisely into a 2.5-inch acid-free box.

His tenure here was unhappy, as the word "debacle" tends to suggest. The reason why is less obvious. The relevant oral histories are a Rashomon-like collection of stories, often marked by anxiety about how much detail to discuss, even thirty years later. To Dr. Robert Campbell, the issue was a personality conflict -- a question of money and control -- between Dr. Pickering and the Dean of the medical school, Dr. David W. E. Baird. This blossomed into an open argument in the local press, with the Dean's allies attacking Pickering's personality and mental health. Joseph A. Adams, former head of public relations, remembers Pickering as the aggressor in the matter, a man who got into legal trouble that the dean had to answer for, and whose resignation was a bluff which the Dean cannily called. Dr. Peter Bentley simply says that Pickering was an abrasive manager who was quickly fired. Dr. Richard Jones recalls that the conflict played out over a computer -- a significant purchase in 1963 -- which Dr. Pickering bought without authorization using NIH funds. He speaks warmly of Dr. Pickering's intellectual curiosity, ambition, and creativity, and also of his unapologetic ego. Of all of these accounts, Dr, Jones's appears to be the most objective, although that doesn't mean it's the most correct.

It's always an interesting challenge to delve into institutional history without simply digging up old dirt. I was tempted to stop with the irresistible phrase "the Pickering Debacle," but of course a little research revealed a much more complicated and suggestive story about a rapidly growing institution whose ambitious staff tended to burn hot. It all has very little to do with the fetal development of rhesus macaques, but somehow, in between all the drama, Dr. Pickering found the time to conduct and collect his research into his two elegant notebooks.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

New collection: Donald L. Blanchard papers

by Jaime Bogdash

Strabismic eyes, page 15

Chronic Fluxes of the Eyes, page 100
I've recently finished processing the Donald L. Blanchard papers. Dr. Blanchard is a native of Portland and an alumnus of the OHSU (or UOMS, rather) School of Medicine. He worked at OHSU as an ophthalmologist and is also a medical historian, and although Dr. Blanchard has retired, he still volunteers at the Casey Eye Institute. This collection contains articles written by Dr. Blanchard, papers from the Cogan Ophthalmic History Society's annual meetings, and Blanchard’s writings about German physician Georg Bartisch, as well as his translation of Bartisch’s grand Ophthalmodouleia. In addition, the collection contains an Iceland Spar which has been used in ophthalmology for glaucoma management and ophthalmoscopy. To read more about Iceland Spar and ophthalmology please see a previous blog post about Dr. Blanchard’s Iceland Spar presentation.

Blanchard has done extensive studying and writing about Georg Bartisch and his work. Bartisch was a German physician in the 1500s who is thought to be the first to produce a Renaissance manuscript on ophthalmic disorders and eye surgery.

Application of Medicine, page 146
His text, Ophthalmodouleia Das ist Augendienst, was written in 1583 and contains descriptions of varied ocular diseases and surgical techniques and tools. The book also contains 92 amazing wood cut illustrations of these various eye diseases and tools. Bartisch was an avid fan of magic, witch craft, and herbal remedies, so some of the cures contain some less common practices in ophthalmology. In 1996, Blanchard translated Bartisch’s text into English and included many of the original, beautiful, and often graphic illustrations.

The Donald L. Blanchard papers contain a printer's proof of the translation; a final published version, as well as Bartisch's original, can be found in the HC&A rare book collections. Blanchard’s other articles discuss the historical significance of Bartisch’s work. Overall, this collection contains quite a diverse and interesting looking into ophthalmological history.

Friday, July 21, 2017

New collection: Crohn's support groups of yore

by Rachel Fellman 

Crohn's-Colitis Chronicle, from collection 2017-005
We are all archivists, though some of our collections are more organized than others. This is an important concept to hold onto if we’re ever tempted to think of archives as a rarefied job practiced only by serious people in dust masks. Librarians and archivists do take our work seriously, and we do wear dust masks on especially awesome days, but what we do is only the professional side of a universal practice: organizing the records and artifacts that make up our stories.

I was thinking about this as I processed my first collection today. It came to us as a small (0.25 linear feet) binder of information about Crohn’s disease, collected by the donor over a thirty-year period, with the majority dating from the eighties and nineties. There are folders of national and local newsletters, newspaper clippings, articles, and pamphlets.

The binder is like a personal medical textbook, the ephemera of many years of living with a painful and unglamorous illness. But it also provides many fragments of intriguing medical history. How did support groups see and present themselves in the early eighties, when a community of the sick was still a new idea? How did people in the local groups feel about their illness, and what attitudes did they urge on each other? How did they use the local and national organizations to advocate and bond? (The various newsletters include both member profiles and personal ads.) How did '80s and '90s doctors explain Crohn’s to newly diagnosed adults and teenagers, and how did they counter assumptions that it was psychosomatic? (One pamphlet even explains that “this brochure can be offered as a reference when friends and colleagues seem to think that ileitis or colitis are caused by being 'overly emotional'”).

It’s easy to let the less concrete parts of history disappear. A person born in 1990 would be only 27 today, and yet that world still seems very distant – especially the parts about how people talked to each other outside the world of books and glossy magazines. A lot of that is locked up in memory, which is notoriously unreliable and prone to overwriting. With collections like this, we can take a more accurate look at how people felt about illness before the Internet, and we’re grateful to our donor for maintaining it for all that time.

You can read the full finding aid for this collection here (via Archives West).

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Highlight on Dr. Ann Becket, Ph.D., R.N.

by Jaime Bogdash

Dr. Ann Becket, circa 1990 (School of Nursing Archives)
We recently shared a new oral history about School of Nursing faculty member Ann Beckett, Ph.D., R.N. In case you haven’t been able to read this interesting oral history interview, I thought I would highlight some of her achievements and her impressive work and academic history.

Dr. Beckett started in public health nursing in the Maryland and Washington, D.C. areas. Although she was one of only a few minorities at her university at the time, she found a large cultural community within Howard University and the greater D.C. area. She entered into academic teaching serendipitously when a member of her church, who was a faculty member at Howard University called to ask for teacher recommendations for their new baccalaureate program. While working as faculty at Howard University, Beckett began her Master’s degree at Catholic University. She was also a parent to one child and pregnant with her second while teaching and working on her Master's. Although she fell into academia almost by accident, she worked at Howard University for a total of twenty-one years.

In Dr. Beckett’s oral history interview, she talks about her experience with diversity in her student population. As she explains:
“I learned a lot. I had a lot of experience. I met a lot of students. We had international students there. And so I think my experience was really broadened culturally. We had students from Africa. We had some Asian students. Hispanic students, not a whole lot. Our largest, probably, group, international group, was African students from Nigeria, Kenya, and some of the other countries. So I did, I was exposed to different, you know, the cultural differences. And was made more aware of that. Because working at Howard University, as people know, I mean, it’s predominantly an African American school. So I found that very interesting, that I had that opportunity.”
Dr. Beckett really embraced diversity in teaching and socially so her move to OHSU was a bit of an adjustment. When she came to OHSU, she began teaching in the Department of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing. At the time she “was probably ... the only African American in the group. But after a while, that didn’t seem to be such a big issue. I believe there was one other faculty member that had been here for a very long time that was African American. And she, I was introduced to her and she was sort of helping me, you know, sort of navigate the campus and find things I needed to know and meet the people that I needed to meet.”

Beckett decided to pursue her doctorate two years into her teaching position at OHSU. Although she was content with her work, she decided to pursue an advanced degree simply as a personal goal. She continued to focus on diversity and found a need in African American psychiatric health. She focused her graduate and doctoral thesis work on the mental health of African American adolescents, specifically those who had been affected by homicide and drug related crime. Her dissertation, Surviving an Adolescent Violence Trajectory: An African American Perspective, can be found online in OHSU's Scholar Archive. In her thesis, she was able to work with African American adolescents who had witnessed homicide and their trauma around their experiences. Dr. Beckett talks about her experience doing this important qualitative study and the trauma and stress she felt through conducting it.

Dr. Beckett also discusses her committee work and the amazing work she has done at OHSU in the nursing department and to better develop the teaching curriculum and practicums of the students in the nursing department. You can read more about Dr. Beckett’s impressive work and career by examining her oral history online.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Life-saving pants! (Or are they?)

Hi all – it’s me, the Archivist – frequent blog reader/reviewer, infrequent blog writer. I’ve been quite busy since starting here back in October, but we recently received an interesting donated artifact that I felt like writing about.

The Rogue Regional Medical Center contacted us a while back as they were cleaning out some holdings and had a pair of pants they thought we might want. “Pants?,” you ask. Yes. But not the type you would wear on a normal day. These pants are Medical Anti-Shock Trousers, or MAST (alternatively referred to as Military anti-shock trousers or pneumatic anti-shock garments). These pants open up and are placed around the pelvis and legs of a trauma victim, and then inflate – applying pressure to the lower half of the body.

MAST: Medical anti-shock trousers
MAST: Medical anti-shock trousers, MMC.2017.001

The concept of the MAST came about early in the 1900s, first described by Dr. George Crile. His device was used during World War II. Further development was overseen by NASA in the 1960s, with their product being used during the Vietnam War. Later in the 1970s, they were introduced into general hospitals and emergency medical services (EMS) for civilian use. The idea behind them is that severe blood loss could be treated in the field to prolong the life of the victim during transport to a medical facility. They would also help immobilize the patient and provide some support and comfort during transport. MAST became regularly used by EMS in the 1970s and 1980s.

MAST: Medical anti-shock trousers case
The trousers come in a handy travel case
However, how the MAST actually helped save lives was little understood and evidence of the effectiveness of the trousers was generally anecdotal. Later in the 1980s, researchers in Houston, TX conducted a 2½-year-long study to examine patient outcomes when MAST were used. In the end, they concluded that the trousers offered little towards saving lives or reducing hospital stays; in fact, they may actually be detrimental overall. As time passed, use of the MAST decreased and they are now seen as a relic of past medical practices. And thus – they end up somewhere like our Archives.

Unfurling these from the cool and vintage-science-looking case they came in, I was tempted to try them on – mostly for the photo opportunity, but the strange mediciney-rubbery smell emanating from them curtailed that somewhat-unprofessional idea. However, they are an interesting technological innovation from medical history and should you or a friend wish to research the history of trauma care, these pants may offer you some tangible benefits.


Bledsoe, Bryan. “EMS Myth #1: Medical Anti-Shock Trousers (MAST) autotransfuse a significant amount of blood and save lives.” EMS World. November 30, 2003. Accessed July 18, 2017. Archived version:

“Military anti-shock trousers.” Wikipedia. January 10, 2017. Accessed July 18, 2017. (see references here for more information)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Tuberculosis Germs Surround Us

by Rachel Fellman 

Recently, while working on a project in one of our many storage areas, I spotted this large sign. It was listed on our spreadsheet simply as “framed tuberculosis poem” -- but it’s not a poem, it’s a warning to patients not to come near their visiting children.

photo by the author

The design of the sign fascinated me: the stern Gothic lettering, applied by a skilled hand, combined with surprisingly jolly cartoon drawings of “tuberculosis germs.” The drawings seem like an attempt to lighten the mood, but for the children in question -- standing awkwardly on the forbidden floor, unable to accept their sick parent's gifts or look at them from closer than six feet away -- I doubt it helped much.

photo by the author

The only further clue to the sign's provenance was a small label: “Medical Science, January 1967-February 1968.” It might have hung in the Oregon State Tuberculosis Hospital in Salem, which operated until 1969; it might also be a relic of the tuberculosis hospital on OHSU’s Marquam Hill campus, which closed in 1963. The sign also features two Crosses of Lorraine, symbol of the fight against tuberculosis. (Today, these might have been awareness ribbons: the one for tuberculosis is bright red.)

Monday, July 10, 2017

Oral history: Susan Tolle, M.D.

By Rachel Fellman

Susan Tolle photograph
Dr. Susan Tolle (courtesy of the Center for Ethics)
Another of our new oral history interviews is with Dr. Susan Tolle, director of the Center for Ethics in Health Care. Dr. Tolle is a founding member of the Center for Ethics and has spent much of her career fighting for improved end-of-life care for Oregonians.

An internist and longtime OHSU faculty member, Dr. Tolle had a formative experience early in her career here. It was her first shift as an attending physician. She was conscious of the fact that she was younger than all of her students, partly due to an unusual undergraduate experience – she had finished in just under three years to save more of the household budget for her younger siblings. Because of her youth and drive, she pushed herself to be the ideal faculty member, “trying to look older and be the attending and study very hard at night and work very hard.”

Just before this first shift, a patient in her late twenties was admitted and seen by an intern. Dr. Tolle took over at midnight, and at five in the morning, the patient was found dead. She’d had a benign tumor that had bled out internally, but nobody knew it that night, and in the meantime, Dr. Tolle found herself concerned by the way the hospital handled the matter. “Handing [the patient’s husband] a bag of pink plastic belongings. Being told at the time with legal, we don’t know what happened, don’t share information. Having the intern leave medicine. She was so worried that she had made a mistake, and permanently left medicine.” The hospital didn’t follow up with the family or offer adequate emotional support for the staff, and the only real discussion of the case came in the form of a lawsuit.

The experience led to a lifelong interest in ethics. Soon, Dr. Tolle and Dr. John Benson began a major study about end-of-life care. They contacted the families of patients who had died, and asked what the hospital had done well and where they'd fallen short. The families, they found, complained “much more often about how their loved one received too much care than that their loved one received too little care.” (This was in the 1980s, when patients were much more likely to die in the hospital rather than in hospice or at home.) Some family members had asked the doctors to stop treatment, to spare their loved ones pain, and had felt a deep sense of anguish and inner conflict. Often, they felt like “murderers,” and the experience left them scarred. Poor communication from doctors was a problem too – the families would get good news from some specialists and bad news from others. Dr. Tolle and her team recognized that clarity was especially important: “Good ethics relies on good facts.”

In 1989, Dr. Tolle and her colleagues founded the Center for Ethics. Her salary was initially cobbled together from grants, small budgets from the various medical schools, and private philanthropy – but not private philanthropy as it’s usually pictured. This was a grassroots project, and funding often came from those family members of terminal patients who’d had traumatizing experiences with their loved ones’ end-of-life-care. One professorship, the Miles J. Edwards Chair in Professionalism and Comfort Care, was endowed by 322 people. This unusually strong, democratic connection to their donors gave the Center a mandate to work on a broad range of questions.

Their flagship program has been the POLST form (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment), which they began developing in 1991. It’s now used in 47 states to give very sick patients control over their own end-of-life care: they can opt in and out of CPR, intensive life-saving measures, and artificially administered nutrition. This lets the patients decide the big questions – life and quality of life – before the crisis comes. The Center remains very focused on updating the form, educating the public about it through dramatized documentary videos, and making sure that it’s used correctly and sparingly. They also teach within OHSU, most recently with a course called Living With a Life-Threatening Illness, in which the students meet six times with a “patient-teacher,” a seriously ill person who can help them understand the practical and emotional consequences of illness. The class is intense and mutually therapeutic, and the student’s goodbye letter is often read at the patient’s funeral.

As usual, there’s much more in the oral history than I could ever fit into this post. Medical ethics is such a rich and complex topic, and Dr. Tolle has played an active part in its evolution. Over more than twenty-five years, the Center has helped to take medicine from an unintentionally chilly and bureaucratic place to a much more immediate, conscious, and empathetic one. If you’re interested, you can explore the entire interview here.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Digitizing History

This post comes from Grayce Mack, Student Assistant for the LSTA digitization project. Grayce is an MLIS student at Emporia State University who is about to graduate from the program and head off into the professional library world.

Last week we wrapped up work on our two-year digitization project Public Health in Oregon: Discovering Historical Data. Since June 2015, student archives assistants have been digitizing collection materials that document the fascinating history of public health in Oregon during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The collection includes county health surveys, patient records, reports from medical institutions such as the Portland Free Dispensary and the Oregon State Tuberculosis Hospital, and much more.

After scanning the collection, we began transcribing tables of data from the records into Excel. By creating digital spreadsheets of the information from these records, researchers will be able to use the historical data more easily and efficiently, and will allow researchers from data-driven professions to analyze records that are usually limited to study by historians. The content varies widely, from vital statistics to tuberculosis fatalities, even an annual budget of hospital groceries. We soon found that working with legacy health data presents unique challenges, including issues of patient privacy and data loss.

Our goal was to transcribe records as closely as possible, but this often proved difficult because they were written in a time before records needed to be machine-readable. Many records contained inconsistent terms and abbreviations, spelling mistakes, and data placed in the wrong columns. Combine these errors with century-old cursive penmanship, and we had our work cut out for us. On most records, when small corrections to original errors could be reasonably made, we changed the data and included a note on the digital record.

Other data we could not alter so easily. In order to maintain the integrity of the original record, we decided not to transcribe any data presented in an unstructured (or non-tabular) format, even when this resulted in some data loss. We also could not always transcribe non-textual symbols on analog records. Certain words on the original may be circled, written over, or underlined in red. These may have been important notations to the original users, but we often did not have a key to interpret their meaning, and, more importantly, no way to adequately represent these symbols in the Excel document.

We also ran into issues with transcribing and publishing protected health information (PHI) in our digitized records. While the medical records we transcribed are between 50 and 120 years old, HIPAA protections for patients still apply until 50 years after the death of the patient. If the date of death was unknown (which was frequently the case), we redacted PHI for patients born after 1867 or anyone whose birth date was also unknown.

Redaction goes beyond just omitting the patient’s name. Following the Safe Harbor methodology for satisfying HIPAA, we redacted names, addresses, cities of residence, phone numbers, family members, and admission and discharge dates. While it can be frustrating to lose valuable data during this process, redaction is a necessary and ethical safety measure to protect the legacy and families of patients of OHSU’s past institutions.

As the project comes to a close, we have scanned 8,634 pages of archival documents, redacted over 3,500 pages, and transcribed the data from around 6,700 pages. By redacting and transcribing historical health records, we learned about the challenges of preserving legacy health information. While it is impossible to digitize archival materials without losing some original data, we have expanded the usability of these enlightening historical records and can now share this collection with researchers all over the world.

Check out the collection to view the digitized records and transcribed data files. You can also visit our online exhibit for context about the history of public health in Oregon documented by this project.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Oral history: Karen Deveney, M.D.

by Rachel Fellman

We have another oral history project to highlight today: Dr. Karen Deveney, former head of the OHSU Surgery Residency Program and president of the Pacific Coast Surgical Association.

Karen Deveney, M.D. (courtesy of "Reflections on a trailblazing career in surgery") - click to link to article
Karen Deveney, M.D. (courtesy of "Reflections on a trailblazing career in surgery")
Dr. Deveney is a strong voice for women's and rural surgical education, and these interests are reflected in her background: she came from Gresham back when it was a country town. Although their home wasn’t yet a suburb of Portland, her father had the quintessentially Portland job of rose farmer. Her family had always been pioneers (her mother’s family came over on the Oregon Trail), but it fell to her to be the educational trailblazer, as her parents had come of age at the start of the Depression and had had no chance to go to college.

Growing up, Dr. Deveney only knew one doctor. He was the mayor of Gresham and seemed to move in a different sphere. So medicine never seemed to be on the table as a career choice. It took a few years of teaching at a tumultuous junior high school in San Francisco, where a Molotov cocktail was once thrown into the teachers’ lounge, to convince her that she wanted to take her education further. In this, she was encouraged by her husband, then a medical student; when she told him he was lucky to be doing something he loved, he suggested that she join him.

During admissions, the interviewer asked what a woman of her “mature years” was doing applying to medical school (the twenty-three-year-old applicant suspected that this was simply a euphemism for “married woman”). But her strong will, work ethic, and ability to collaborate with faculty prevailed. She became the second woman to finish a surgical residency at the University of California in San Francisco, and went on to do advanced work in colorectal surgery, creating a program at the San Francisco VA to research surgical outcomes and teach surgeons endoscopy and colonoscopy. She became half of a husband-and-wife team of surgeon-administrators.

In the late eighties, they were called home after her mother developed Alzheimer's. She was hired at OHSU to run the surgical education program, and given a mandate to build the best department on the West Coast.

For Dr. Deveney, the process of building that department was inseparable from the process of making it an environment where women could thrive. (Her husband, tapped to be chief of surgery at the Portland VA, shared similar priorities.) At the time she began, there were no women on the faculty, one or two female residents at best, and an unchecked culture of sexual harassment. Women were discouraged from going into surgery; “It was viewed as too difficult and that it was a very stressful, malignant situation. […] Even the faculty in other departments would tell female medical students, ‘Don’t go into surgery. You’ll have a miserable life. You’ll never be happy. And it will be terrible.’” 

Today, a third of the OHSU faculty are women, as are half the residents. Dr. Deveney is a strong believer in a “critical mass” of underrepresented people “that can work together to make a change in the culture of the organization.” She is passionate about women’s leadership, arguing that women offer “situational awareness, emotional intelligence […] the ability to be collaborative and not autocratic.” And with many women among the residents, the male residents feel that they have permission to be “more humanistic and more concerned about their family life,” rather than pushed to express nonstop machismo. Through judicious hiring, encouragement of diverse leadership, and strong discouragement of sexual harassment and bias on campus, OHSU was able to learn to value and welcome female students.

Dr. Deveney is also proud of her work developing a rural surgery rotation for OHSU, with year-long programs in Grants Pass and Coos Bay. Rural surgeons need to be generalists as well as specialists, and they’re expected to know their communities intimately – the job takes interpersonal as well as surgical skills. Rural hospitals also have a perpetual problem with recruitment and replacing aging staff. OHSU’s program began as an elective and later evolved into a rotation. Most of OHSU’s rotations are six weeks to two months, but residents work in rural surgery for a full year to give them a chance to connect with the community and build the experienced surgeons’ trust.

This rather long post still doesn't cover most of the oral history -- it's packed with reflection and advice. I encourage you to check it out here.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Now available from OHSU Library: Digital collection of primary sources and legacy data on public health in Oregon

OHSU Library is pleased to announce the completion of its digitization project, Public Health in Oregon: Accessing Historical Data for Scientific Discovery, funded by the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The project provides public access to digitized rare and unique materials related to public health in Oregon, as well as open access to the structured datasets they contain. The library is presenting the results in a digital collection of 351 items, as well as a narrative exhibit of original research on the history of public health in Oregon.

Among the collections digitized for the project are death records, public health surveys, Oregon’s earliest medical journals, hospital ledgers, visual materials, and institutional records. Many of the records address communities that are under-represented in historical analysis and under-served in health care, including communities of color, women, rural populations, and people with disabilities.

A distinguishing feature of this project is that it provides access not only to digital surrogates of print and manuscript materials, but also to machine-readable versions of structured datasets in those materials. To do this, project staff identified structured data within the materials, electronically redacted protected health information (defined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA), and then transcribed and normalized the data into Excel files, which are available for download alongside the digitized image files.

The project director was Maija Anderson, Director of Curatorial Services. The project managers were Steve Duckworth (2016-present) and Max Johnson (2014-2016). Project contributors were Shahim Essaid, Research Associate; Kate Thornhill, Repository Community Librarian; Morgen Young, Consulting Historian; and Defteling Design. Student assistants were Rachel Blume, Rachel Fellman, Sherra Hopkins, Lacey Legel, Grayce Mack, and Sam White.

OHSU Library is honored to provide scholars, students, researchers, and the public with ready access to these materials, which may inform perspectives on public health in Oregon today. This project was supported in whole by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library. Please contact Maija Anderson at for more information about this project.

Student Assistants at NWA/CIMA '17

by Sam White

Grayce Mack, Rachel Fellman, and Sam White in front of their presentation poster
L to R: Grayce, Rachel, and myself at NWA/CIMA '17
Hello, dear readers,

My name is Sam White, and this will be my first, and last, post here on the Historical Collections & Archives blog. Alas, my position as a Student Assistant for the Public Health in Oregon: Discovering Historical Data digitization project is on its last leg. That doesn’t mean that I can’t tell you a little bit about myself and some of the exciting things I’ve been doing here at OHSU though, so here we go!

I am an almost-graduate, set to walk the stage for my Masters of Library Science from Emporia State University on August 13th of this year. Prior to making the decision to return to school, I worked as a Starbucks barista and bemoaned the fact that I’d earned my Bachelor’s in a subject as “useless” as History, when I could have been a Political Science major like my sister (who managed to snag a fantastic job right out of college). When I did finally decide to become an archivist, I packed my things and my boyfriend into a moving truck and drove from Sacramento, CA to Portland, OR, and I haven’t looked back since.

But enough about me, let’s talk about the exciting things I mentioned earlier.

Because of our work on the Public Health project, I and two fellow Student Assistants (Rachel Fellman and Grayce Mack, who you may already know) were actually sponsored by the department to attend the Annual conference for Northwest Archivists and Council of Inter-Mountain Archivists.

our presentation poster from NWA/CIMA 2017

Our poster from NWA/CIMA '17
Held in Boise, ID, from May 17th-19th of this year, this was a relatively informal gathering of like-minded professionals dedicated to lifelong learning, and the three of us were grateful for the opportunity to not only attend, but present a poster as well.

While we were between panels and pop-up sessions, we found time to attend events such as the opening reception, where the terror of networking was softened considerably by the fact that the event was held at Woodland Empire Ale Craft, a taproom, and there was beer aplenty. And also a taproom Ogre, guarded by (or perhaps guarding?) Brienne of Tarth.

We likewise attended the final reception, held at the Union Pacific Mainline Depot, which I unfortunately did not photograph, but suffice to say that you should visit if possible. On the same day, we also made a trip to the Boise Art Museum (fondly known as BAM), where we feasted our eyes on three separate installations and a small sculpture garden, as well as a truly exorbitant gift shop.

Another of the interesting events of this trip was our tour of the local Basque Museum and Cultural Center, which not only took us through the museum as promised, but also included a tour of an actual historic Basque boarding house, as well as a live demonstration of a truly athletic sport called Basque pelota. Again, no pictures, this time because they weren’t allowed, but I highly recommend a visit if you have the time.

Facade of the Boise Public Library
The Boise Public Library!
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of our trip to Boise, however, was found where you would least expect it: at the Boise Public Library! Although I suppose that's not very surprising for a bunch of library students.

No, really. If only every public library building were so excited about being a library.

All in all, our visit to Boise was what I would call fruitful. Grayce, Rachel, and myself became closer (being in one hotel room will do that, I suppose), we attended and presented at our very first conference, we schmoozed with archivists of the Pacific North West like the desperate graduate students we are, we spotted a library with an exclamation point, and finally ...

We marveled at the beauty of Boise street art.

Two transformers with cartoon figures painted on, in Boise ID
Two transformers with cartoon figures painted on, in Boise ID
Body builder painted on the side of a building, with "I love you" below
The bodybuilders of Boise love you.
There was, for example, an Arnold-like bodybuilder painted on the patio of a local taproom, who wanted only to tell you, and everyone else in Boise, that he loves you.

There were also two transformers with figures painted on, which would have not been amiss on the set of a Gorillaz music video.

Transformer street art in Boise, ID
Tonto contemplates life, and his new car.
And finally, we have this ingenious man, who fits with one of two possibilities. One, he is Tonto to the masked man's Lone Ranger, or two, he's trapped a bandit (or the sheriff in these here parts?), and is now contemplating his freedom and the beauty of his time travelling wheels.

There were plenty more transformers, and a surprising amount a street art, but I think that maybe I've posted too many already, so I'll end with this:

So long, HC&A, and thanks for all the fish.

Just kidding, that's plagiarism.

Really, I have been so grateful to work in a department that values the professional growth of its student workers, and I cannot recommend this position enough, particularly for library students looking to get into the archival profession. Thanks for having me, and I'll be following you from the other side ... of the blogger-sphere.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The other Historical Collections & Archives student worker!

by Jaime Bogdash

Hello! My name is Jaime Bogdash and I am one of the student workers in the Historical Collections & Archives department at OHSU. I am fairly new to this position
and the world of archives, but am very excited about the collections and the process of preservation. I am currently a student in the Master’s of Library Science program at Emporia State University in Kansas, but I live and work in Portland. It’s an interesting fact that Oregon does not currently have any programs to earn a Master’s in Library Science, so Emporia State started a Portland-based cohort program where we attend classes partially online and about twice a month have weekend meetings. It’s a nice balance that allows me to work at OHSU to gain practical experience while still having the personal connection of a cohort and in-person classes.

Prior to starting my library program, I completed a Master’s in Educational Leadership and Policy at Portland State University. While working on that degree, I worked as a graduate teaching assistant and learned that I had a passion for helping undergraduate students work on their research and literacy competency skills. My passion for research and university education led me to library science and the archives at OHSU. I am very passionate about local history and providing and organizing artifacts to help others best be able to successfully complete research whether from books, historic collections, or artifacts. In my short time at OHSU, I have already gained a lot of new knowledge and a growing interest in the history of the medical field. I look forward to being able to share on this blog some of the interesting artifacts, stories, and collections we come across in the OHSU archives.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Oral history interview with Toni Eigner-Barry, DMD

by Rachel Fellman

“One of my residents said one time I was the Indiana Jones of dentistry,” says Dr. Toni Eigner-Barry Eigner in her interview for the OHSU Oral History Program. “And really, that’s who I want to be.” 

Her globe-spanning dentistry practice has led her to Cameroon, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Nepal, as well as to public health work closer to home. Throughout her career, she’s worked for underfunded, duct-tape dental programs and done things dentists don’t usually do.

Dr. Eigner-Barry with staff and students at OHSU (Historical Image Collection, doi:10.6083/M4445JZH)
She grew up working-class in Portland, the daughter of a heating/AC mechanic. As a prospective student, she applied to programs in psychology and general medicine as well as dentistry; dentistry school said “yes” first, and that determined the course of her life. She began her professional education in 1973, and although she was one of only three women in her class of eighty, she always felt supported there. When an administrator tried to force the female dental students to store their equipment in the dental hygienists’ locker room, two floors below the one reserved for dentists, the male students threatened a sit-out until the administrator backed down. “It was this great moment,” she says, “where you realized the tide had turned.”

Dr. Eigner-Barry’s career was adventurous from the beginning. After her freshman year, she and her first husband (a medical student) traveled to Cameroon to work at Banso Hospital. It was the first of several such trips over the years. The general surgeon there, Dieter Lemke, told her to “only leave behind what you teach” when working overseas -- advice that she’s tried to live by. He taught her to do local anesthetic and remove teeth; in turn, she trained a Cameroonian nurse and a local teenager who eventually became a dentist herself. Years later, she was responsible for putting together a full-scale dental clinic. On another trip, she rescued maternity clinic staffers from a tribal war, then picked up the wounded and acted as an anesthesiologist for the treating surgeon.

She had always been interested in work that was a little beyond conventional dentistry, taking on a general practice residency (GPR) after graduation to learn “how to wire a fractured mandible, oral surgery, general anesthesia.” After her residency, she joined the OHSU dental faculty as well as the hospital dental service, treating complex cases: “cancer, bleeding disorders, heart failure, organ transplant.” To treat a boy with severe hemophilia, she learned a new anesthesia technique, using a tiny 30-gauge needle, and practiced it on herself.

Besides the dental service, teaching, and extensive clinical work overseas, she spent much of her career at the Russell Street Clinic (founded by Dr. David Rosenstein, who we recently featured on this blog). She speaks admiringly of Dr. Rosenstein’s optimism: “He thinks that pigs can fly. And he made that one fly for thirty-five years.” Here, once again, her work sometimes overlapped with general medicine. Her clients at Russell Street were “populations that are underserved medically and dentally. So I mean, because they’re also underserved medically, you really need to look at people closely. I’ve been the first one to see a patient and diagnose oral cancer two or three times.” Another time it was bacterial endocarditis.

Check out the interview here for more about this swashbuckling dentist.

Friday, June 23, 2017

2018 Oregon Women's History Consortium Fellowship Announced

The Oregon Women’s History Consortium, in which OHSU is a collaborator, offers two research fellowships to support scholarship that will lead to a significant contribution in the field of Oregon women’s history.

Now is the time to plan for your application, or one of your students, to the 2018 Oregon Women's History Consortium Research Fellowship.

Junior Fellowship - $1,000
Senior Fellowship - $1,000

Application deadline is November 1, 2017

Fellowship application details

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Introduction: Rachel Fellman, Student Assistant

The author, about to admire a HIPAA-compliant page of a 1930s obstetrics ledger.
Hi, everybody – I’m Rachel Fellman, the archives student assistant who’s replacing Rachel Blume. (New year, new Rachel.) I’ve actually been here since September, digitizing public health records on our LSTA grant project, but now I’ve moved across the room to processing and various other activities.

I’m a Master’s of Library Science student at Emporia State University. This is a hybrid distance program; the school’s in Kansas, but we take our classes in Portland and online. In addition to my work here at OHSU, I’m a reference intern at Clark College in Vancouver and do access services at the University of Oregon campus downtown. There aren’t many types of librarianship that I’m not interested in, but I especially enjoy academic work and archives.

Before I started my MLS, I earned my master’s degree in English from UO and my bachelor’s from Scripps College. Outside of work, I volunteer at a suicide hotline and write science fiction and fantasy. I’m looking forward to sharing the bizarre, intriguing, and inspiring contents of the OHSU archives here on the blog.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Now on display: "For the Greater Good?"

Now on view in the BICC Main Library entrance, our new exhibit on public health:

Summer 2017 Exhibit:
OHSU Main Library, BICC Building 3rd floor

OHSU Historical Collections & Archives’ recent digital project, Public Health in Oregon: Discovering Historical Data, digitized and transcribed vital statistics on public health in Oregon. Improved access to and use of this data will inform current and future studies relating to public health in the state and around the globe. This exhibit examines the primary sources of the project, highlighting public health regulation of such concerns as communicable disease, food safety and sanitation, and eugenics at the turn of the twentieth century in Oregon.

The exhibit will be on display Summer 2017  in the OHSU Main Library, on the third floor of the Biomedical Information Communication Center (BICC) on OHSU’s Marquam Hill campus. For a campus map, as well as customized driving, biking, and transit directions, please visit the interactive OHSU map:

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Now online: oral history interview with Dr. Ann Beckett, PhD, RN

Great news! The transcript of our oral history interview with School of Nursing faculty Dr. Ann Beckett, PhD, RN, is now online.

Dr. Ann Becket, circa 1990 (School of Nursing Archives)

Dr. Beckett is a pioneer in public health and psychiatric mental health nursing, and a key contributor to the development of trauma-informed psychiatric care. She speaks to her experience finding nursing in college, entering academia at Howard University, and helping to guide the curriculum at OHSU. She also considers how a university like ours can strive toward creating a culturally inclusive, welcoming environment to retain students and faculty from diverse cultural and racial backgrounds.

This oral history interview is a really interesting read -- so we hope you'll dig in!

Read the interview

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Hambleton Project Records

by Rachel Blume

The Hambleton Project Records have been recently processed and the finding aid is available here.

Hello readers, we are back again highlighting issues of diversity and inclusion within our archival collections! 

The Hambleton Project Logo and Sharon Hambleton
This week, Historical Collections & Archives is excited to spread the news about a recently processed group of records that document the work of the Hambleton Project. Based in the Portland, Oregon area, the Hambleton Project is a nonprofit organization with a mission to provide support to lesbian women with cancer and other life threatening conditions.

The organization began with Sharon Hambleton, who received help from a similar group in Washington, D.C. Impressed by the care given to her by that group during her treatment for cervical cancer, she was inspired to replicate that work in the Portland area. Unfortunately, Sharon Hambleton passed away from cancer in March of 1997 before the project could get off the ground, but the work she began was taken up and continued by her friends.
Buttons included in the collection

Because of prejudices at the time towards lesbians as healthcare patients, the Hambleton Project worked to guide and advocate for the patient, family, and friends of lesbians affected by cancer. The support of the group included providing services for individuals whose needs were not being addressed, bereavement groups for women who had lost a partner to cancer or illness, and outreach to the healthcare community in order to educate on serving these patients.

The Hambleton Project Records (collection number 2016-005) house records covering board and committee meetings, education and outreach events, and other related efforts from 1997 to 2007. Many types of textual documents are included in the materials, as well as some more unique items, such as DVD presentations, memorabilia, photographs, and a mammography comparison chart.
Hambleton Project Site

What is particularly exciting about this collection is the focus on revealing the specific experience of lesbian women with cancer and the struggle these women have had to receive quality healthcare. With in-depth documentation of committee work and events, researchers with interests in LGBT health and the changing perspectives and treatment of lesbians in healthcare will greatly benefit from these materials.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

MONDAY: Live and live stream, Dana K. Andersen, "Pancreatic Surgery: Conquest of an Uncooperative Organ"

Please join us on Monday evening for our next History of Medicine lecture:

Dana K. Andersen, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Monday, February 27, 2017
OHSU Old Library Auditorium

Successful surgery of the pancreas has required the understanding of complex anatomy and physiology, the development of methods to safely negotiate a hostile location, and technological advances which permit precise intervention. The transplantation of whole pancreas and islets illustrates the value of cellular transplantation, and has energized the development of a "bio-artificial" organ. Pancreatic cancer now kills more people than breast cancer, and the early diagnosis of this disease has become a healthcare priority. New methods of pancreatic imaging and interrogation provide opportunities for improved outcomes of pancreatic diseases compared to those obtained just a few years ago.

Dr. Andersen completed his undergraduate and medical degrees at Duke University, where he also trained in Internal Medicine as well as General Surgery. His career includes appointments at the State University of New York Health Sciences Center at Brooklyn, at the University of Chicago and Yale University, where he was Professor and Chief of General Surgery, at the University of Massachusetts where he was Chairman of Surgery, and at Johns Hopkins where he was Vice-Chair of Surgery and Surgeon-in-Chief at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. He is a past president of the Association for Academic Surgery, and a co-editor of Schwartz’s Principles of Surgery. He is currently Scientific Program Manager in the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition at National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, National Institutes of Health.

Light refreshments will be served before the lecture.

Sponsored by the Department of Surgery and OHSU Library.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Diversity Spotlight: Dr. David Rosenstein (part two)

by Rachel Blume

The following post is part two of a two-part series inspired by our oral history interview with David Rosenstein, DMD, MPH. The interview transcript is available at David Rosenstein oral history. (Part one of this blog post is available at Diversity Spotlight: Dr. David Rosenstein (part one).

In 1982, the Centers for Disease Control and the National Cancer Institute announced that what was then known as Gay-related Immune Deficiency (GRID) had "reached epidemic proportions and the totals probably represented just the tip of the iceberg."(1) To make matters worse, despite the reassurance of epidemiologists that no evidence had been found that the condition spread from person to person like influenza or measles, healthcare professionals were often terrified to treat HIV-positive patients.

Portland, Oregon gay and lesbian pride march in 1987
Portland gay & lesbian pride march in 1987 (2)
In the midst of all this, Rosenstein was contacted by his immunologist to say that one of his HIV-positive patients was in need of dental work, but no one would treat him. Rosenstein states in his oral history that the level of homophobia was unbelievable. According to his interview: "patients were talking to me about how doctors would say, 'No, take the magazine. That’s for you to take home' simply because they had touched it."

Yet, Rosenstein and his staff were nonplussed. In fact, he describes working with these patients as a challenge he enjoyed. During one of the greatest highlights of his interview, Rosenstein describes his proudest moment in terms of selecting the right staff. Knowing they were about to receive their first HIV/AIDS patient, Rosenstein called in the county health officer to meet the staff and talk to them about HIV. In describing the meeting, Rosenstein states:
He came over to meet with our staff. And he talked about HIV. And you know, I think this is when it was called GRID. Gay-related Immune Deficiency. It wasn’t even called AIDS or HIV then. And he talked. And he said, “Does anyone have any questions?” And Colleen … she said, “What can we do to make sure that we’re helping them?” And that was the only question. There was no, you know, will I get it, how do I protect myself. The question was, what can we do for the patient?
In this manner, the Russell Street Dental clinic developed an expertise in treating HIV/AIDS patients, and they came from all over the Pacific Northwest including Montana, Northern California, and beyond.

David Rosenstein
Rosenstein thrived in his work with these patients despite being questioned on the issue by his university colleagues, including the dean. Rosenstein remembered a time when doctors were afraid to treat black patients out of fear of what their white patients would say and responded to these questions with: "the day will come when you can't get away with not treating AIDS patients." And so it did with the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. Rosenstein would go on to lead the establishment of the HIV/AIDS Section of the American Public Health Association.

Throughout his oral history, Rosenstein expresses his wish that the OHSU School of Dentistry would have given a chance to more students of diverse and under-represented groups, including the poor, saying "give them an education. Let them go out and help people." That simply wasn't a priority to the School at the time. Rosenstein predicts in his closing remarks that there will always be people who get left out in the cold in the private healthcare sector and, for that reason, public health dentistry will always be there as a place to care for those patients.

If you have any records relating to the Russell Street Clinic or its predecessor, the Fred Hampton People's Free Health Clinic, and would like to donate them to our archives, please contact Steve Duckworth, University Archivist, at 503-494-0186.

1. Altman, Lawrence K. (1982 May 11). "New Homosexual Disorder Worries Health Officials," New York Times,
2. Gay and Lesbian history collection, Mss 2988-1, Oregon Historical Society Davies Family Research Library,