Category: Exhibits and Events

May 23: 13th J. Worth Estes Lecture

By , March 28, 2017

The Boston Medical Library presents the 13th J. Worth Estes, M.D. History of Medicine Lecture:

Spare Parts
Hope, Drama and Dispute:

Heart Transplantation and Total Artificial Heart
Implant Cases in the 1960s

Shelley McKellar, PhD: Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

5:30pm

Cannon Room/Building C
Harvard Medical School
240 Longwood Avenue, Boston MA 02115

To RSVP, email BostonMedLibr@gmail.com or call Kerry O’Connor at 617-432-5169.

 

debakey-operating-1960s-nlm-profiles-in-science-collection

With the upcoming 50th anniversary of the first heart transplant operation, performed by South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard in December 1967, Prof. Shelley McKellar examines cardiac transplantation alongside the development of artificial hearts as replacement therapies for heart failure patients during the 1960s. Not long after Barnard, American surgeons Adrian Kantrowitz and Norman Shumway performed heart transplant operations in New York and California respectively. Within weeks, more cardiac surgeons jumped on the transplant ‘bandwagon.’

In 1968, more than 100 heart transplant operations were done worldwide, with Denton Cooley, Norman Shumway and Michael DeBakey performing the greatest number of cases. But patient mortality rates were appallingly high due to organ rejection and infection. Still, dying heart failure patients camped outside the offices of heart transplant surgeons, hoping for a life-saving procedure.

In 1969, Cooley implanted an artificial heart in a Houston man as a desperate measure to provide this. The device kept the patient alive for 64 hours until he received a donor heart, but this only sustained him for another 32 hours before he succumbed to pneumonia and kidney failure. The artificial heart implant case fueled the debate concerning the best cardiac replacement therapy—human or mechanical parts—to offer heart failure patients; neither produced satisfactory outcomes and many in the medical community questioned the continued pursuit of these treatments. (The 1969 implant case also severed the professional relationship of DeBakey and Cooley due to allegations of device theft and lack of authorization to perform the implant procedure.)

McKellar explores how the challenges and uncertainties experienced in heart transplant surgery augmented the standing and perceived value of artificial heart implantation as a complementary, not competing, cardiac replacement treatment in a period of ‘spare parts’ optimism in American medicine and society.

 


 

mckellar-headshot-low-resProf. McKellar completed a PhD in the History of Medicine at the University of Toronto, under the supervision of Prof. Michael Bliss. She then worked at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. on a documentary history project before taking a tenure-track position in the Department of History at Western University, London, Canada in 2003. In 2012, she became the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University. In teaching medical students, she aims to foster an appreciation of the historical and cultural contingencies of medical practice; that is, to recognize that time and place matter regarding what we think we know and how we practice medicine.

Prof. McKellar’s research focuses on the history of surgery, predominantly cardiac surgery, medical technology, and the material culture of medicine. Her newest book, entitled Artificial Hearts: The Allure and Ambivalence of a Controversial Medical Technology is forthcoming – fall 2017 – with Johns Hopkins University Press. This book traces the history of an imperfect technology, situating the more-well-known events of the Michael DeBakey and Denton Cooley professional fall-out after the first artificial heart implant case in 1969 as well as the 1982-83 Jarvik-7 heart implant case of Barney Clark within a larger historical trajectory that also includes the development of atomic artificial hearts and ventricular assist devices (or ‘partial’ artificial hearts.) It can be seen as a case study that speaks to questions of ‘success,’ values, expectations, limitations, and uncertainty in a high-technology medical world that grapples with end-stage disease therapies.

McKellar has also written a biography of Toronto surgeon Gordon Murray, who operated on the heart in the era of closed-intracardiac operations (before open-heart surgery), built the first Canadian artificial kidney machine, and pursued research on a controversial cancer serum and a spinal cord surgical procedure to restore function in paraplegics. McKellar also co-authored a book, entitled Medicine and Technology in Canada, 1900-1950, which was commissioned by the Canada Science and Technology Museum to assist in their mandate to collect and research medical technology.

As much as possible, McKellar incorporates medical objects into her teaching and research. As curator of the Medical Artifact Collection at Western, she conducts object research, mounts displays, and runs ‘hands-on’ student workshops to spotlight the often ‘hidden’ history of medical instruments and devices.

 

 

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Announcing a new exhibit on the history of women at Harvard Medical School

By , March 7, 2017

A Brief History of Women at Harvard Medical School

“A Brief History of Women at Harvard Medical School” is now on display on Countway Library’s 2nd floor next to the Joint Committee on the Status of Women library collection.

The exhibit, curated by Joan Ilacqua, Project Archivist for the Archives for Women in Medicine, explores the history of women in medicine at Harvard Medical School. It begins with the story of Harriot Kezia Hunt, Harvard’s first woman applicant, and follows the struggles and triumphs of Harvard Medical School’s first women instructors, researchers, professors, and students, as well as the creation of the Joint Committee on the Status of Women and the Archives for Women in Medicine.

An extended digital version of the exhibit is available via OnView.


The Archives for Women in Medicine is a program of the Countway Library’s Center for the History of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. The Archives for Women in Medicine actively acquires, processes, preserves, provides access to, and publicizes the papers of women physicians, researchers, and medical administrators. Interested in learning more? Visit countway.harvard.edu/awm or contact Project Archivist Joan Ilacqua.

 

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New Exhibit at the Countway Library Commemorates Harvard Medical School’s Relief Efforts during World War I

By , February 15, 2017

Soldiers Wounded at the Battle of the Somme Arriving at No. 22 General Hospital, 1916 [0004184]

Soldiers Wounded at the Battle of the Somme Arriving at No. 22 General Hospital, 1916 [0004184]

Although the United States did not enter World War I until April 1917, American medical personnel were active in war relief efforts from nearly the beginning of the conflict. Harvard Medical School—its faculty and its graduates—played a key role in this relief work by providing staff for French and English hospitals and military units, and these early endeavors provided invaluable experience once America came into the war and the need to organize and staff base and mobile hospitals for the U.S. Army became critical to the war effort.

Noble Work for a Worthy End, a new exhibit at the Countway’s Center for the History of Medicine, charts Harvard’s participation in this medical relief work and experiences in military medicine and surgery through the wealth of first-hand documentation preserved by the men and women who volunteered their time and labor, sometimes at great sacrifice, to helping the sick and wounded of the First World War. Highlights of the display include records of the Harvard University Service organized by Harvey Cushing at the American Ambulance Hospital in Paris.  This unit’s brief sojourn in the spring of 1915 is documented through photographs and postcards, publications, and a copy of Elliott Carr Cutler’s daily journal of his experiences.

The Medical School’s most enduring contribution to the war effort was the Harvard Surgical Unit, which first arrived in Europe in July 1915.  Inspired by Sir William Osler, the unit provided physicians, surgeons, dentists, and nurses to staff the British Expeditionary Force’s No. 22 General Hospital at Camiers, France. The exhibit includes photograph albums, letters, drawings, newsclippings, Paul Dudley White’s diary account of a case of shell shock, medical field cards and case notes, and unusual ephemera, including an armband worn by members of the Unit and an enamel pin presented by the Harvard Corporation to the unit’s nurses, along with a testimonial of gratitude from King George V.

Final Inspection of Harvard Unit at Fort Totten, N.Y., May 11, 1917 [0003947]

Final Inspection of the Harvard Unit at Fort Totten, N.Y., May 11, 1917 [0003947]

Once the United States entered the European conflict, Harvard faculty and students became involved with staffing base hospitals for the Army. The exhibit also chronicles the work and experiences at Base Hospital No. 5, a unit formed from Harvard and Peter Bent Brigham Hospital personnel.  Base Hospital No. 5, one of the first units to reach France, remained on loan to the British Expeditionary Force for the duration of the war, at which point it had treated some 45,000 soldiers, and, notably, sustained casualties from an air raid bombing on September 4, 1917. Photographs, a letter from Harvey Cushing describing the air raid, and records of Walter B. Cannon’s research on surgical shock are all included.

Noble Work for a Worthy End: Harvard Medical School in the First World War is on display on the first floor of the Countway Library of Medicine and open to the public, Monday through Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm. A companion online exhibit is also available here .

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Center hosts Massachusetts high school students for Phineas Gage symposium

By , December 6, 2016
Microsoft Word - Phineas Gage Flyer.docx

Colloquium on Phineas Gage flyer, Courtesy of Nancy Donlon

The Center for the History of Medicine hosted forty students and seven teachers from six area high schools on November 28th for a half-day “Colloquium on Phineas Gage: A Scientific Inquiry.” The AP Psychology and AP Biology students came from schools across eastern Massachusetts and included Medford High SchoolBurlington High SchoolJohn D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and ScienceArlington High SchoolBraintree High School, and Dedham High School. The program was developed and organized by Medford High School AP Psychology teacher Nancy Donlon and was generously supported by the Medford Educational Foundation. Director Scott Podolsky, MD and Warren Museum curator Dominic Hall participated from the Center.

The students were exposed to a panel of Harvard Medical School and independent scholars who presented diverse material on the historical character of Gage and on modern medicine’s

Phineas Gage colloquium t-shirt. Courtesy of Kaitlin Donlon.

Phineas Gage colloquium t-shirt. Courtesy of Kaitlin Donlon.

understanding of the human brain. Harvard Medical School associate professor and Massachusetts General Hospital neurosurgeon Frederick Barker, MD placed the Gage narrative within the 19th-century debates surrounding neuroscience and the rejection and adoption of cerebral localization. Independent scholar Matthew L. Lena discussed the problematic fictions that have been tied to Phineas Gage’s patient history and how one integral case study can inform, support or hinder modern medical practice. The panel concluded with associate director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School assistant professor Steven Schlozman, MD‘s presentation on the modern understanding of how adolescent and teenage minds hold information and processes emotion through the construction of narratives.

The colloquium ended with the students breaking into groups and exploring the content presented from the three panelists and their renewed sense of the Gage narrative.

 

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HMS LXX: 70 Years of Women at Harvard Medical School

By , November 15, 2016

 

Excerpts from an oral history interview with Raquel E. Cohen, member of HMS’ first coeducational class compiled for HMS LXX

On October 21, 2016, Harvard Medical School celebrated over 70 years of women at Harvard Medical School. The event highlighted several milestones, including the 70th anniversary of Harvard Medical School’s first coeducational class, the appointment of the 250th woman as a full professor, the 20th anniversary of the Eleanor and Miles Shore 50th Anniversary Fellowship Program for Scholars in Medicine, which supports junior faculty, the funding of the Elizabeth D. Hay Professorship in Cell Biology, the 10th anniversary of the Archives for Women in Medicine, and over 40 years of the Joint Committee on the Status of Women.

The event featured a series of curated conversations with women in medicine, from medical students to international leaders in health, addressing issues of women’s leadership, challenges faced by women in medicine, and work done by women at the forefront of women’s health. The event was punctuated by a keynote conversation with Shirley Tilghman, President Emerita of Princeton University and member of The Harvard Corporation.

First class of women accepted to Harvard Medical School, 1945. (HMS, Classes and Reunions, 00100.057)

First class of women accepted to Harvard Medical School, 1945. (HMS, Classes and Reunions, 00100.057). Cohen is pictured in the top row, second to right.

The “Women’s View at HMS: Then and Now” panel featured a video excerpting highlights from Raquel Cohen’s 2006 oral history interview. Cohen, an internationally recognized expert in the field of intervention and assistance to survivors of disasters, earned her Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1942, and was a student in Harvard Medical School’s first coeducational class, graduating in 1949.

Although Dr. Cohen could not attend HMS LXX in person, highlights of her oral history, curated by Project Archivist for the Archives for Women in Medicine Joan Ilacqua, detail just a few moments of her fascinating life story. Dr. Cohen’s full oral history is available via Onview, and additional oral histories with women leaders in medicine and the medical sciences are available at: tiny.cc/womeninmedicine.

To learn more about the Archives for Women in Medicine, visit: countway.harvard.edu/awm.

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November 9: “Pyrrhic Progress – Antibiotics and Western Food Production (1949-2015)”

By , November 4, 2016

The Center for the History of Medicine presents:

Pyrrhic Progress – Antibiotics and Western Food Production (1949-2015)

Dr. Claas Kirchhelle: Research Associate, University of Oxford’s Martin School and the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine; Junior Research Fellow, Wolfson College

pig

This presentation will examine the history of antibiotic use in Western food production. It will ask why antibiotics were introduced to food production, track the development of agricultural antibiotic use on both sides of the Atlantic, and explore why regulations designed to curb bacterial resistance and antibiotic residues differ in the US and Europe.

Dr. Claas Kirchhelle’s work addresses the history of antibiotic use, resistance, and regulation on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2016, his dissertation Pyrrhic Progress was awarded the University of Oxford’s annual Dev Family Prize for the best thesis in the field of history of medicine.

 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016
1:00pm [NEW TIME]
Lunch served at 12:30pm

Lahey Room, fifth floor
Countway Library of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
10 Shattuck Street, Boston MA 02115

Free and open to the public.

Registration is required. To register, use our online registration form or email us at ContactChom@hms.harvard.edu.

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December 15: “From Attendants to Nurses: Philanthropy, Psychiatry and American Nursing 1940-1955”

By , October 12, 2016

Department of Postgraduate and Continuing Education, McLean Hospital and the Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, present:

Colloquium on the History of Psychiatry and Medicine

“From Attendants to Nurses: Philanthropy, Psychiatry and American Nursing 1940-1955”

6d822a15c164b94c14ec3be06c7001ceKylie M. Smith BA (Hons), PhD: Assistant Professor, Andrew W Mellon Faculty Fellow for Nursing and the Humanities, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University

The third in a series of three lectures given as the 2016 Colloquium on the History of Psychiatry and Medicine. The Colloquium offers an opportunity to clinicians, researchers, and historians interested in a historical perspective on their fields to discuss informally historical studies in progress.

Thursday, December 15, 2016
4:00-5:30 PM

Minot Room, fifth floor
Countway Library of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
10 Shattuck Street, Boston MA 02115

Free and open to the public.

For further information contact David G. Satin, M.D., Colloquium Director, phone/fax 617-332-0032, e-mail david_satin@hms.harvard.edu

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November 17: “Madness, Politics, and Society: Toptasi Mental Asylum”

By , October 12, 2016

Department of Postgraduate and Continuing Education, McLean Hospital and the Center for the History of Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, present:

Colloquium on the History of Psychiatry and Medicine

“Madness, Politics, and Society: Toptasi Mental Asylum”

insane-patients-in-the-toptascca7c4b1-mental-asylumFatih Artvinli, Ph.D.: Assistant Professor of the History of Medicine and Ethics, Acibadem University School of Medicine, Istanbul, Turkey

The second in a series of three lectures given as the 2016 Colloquium on the History of Psychiatry and Medicine. The Colloquium offers an opportunity to clinicians, researchers, and historians interested in a historical perspective on their fields to discuss informally historical studies in progress.

Thursday, November 17, 2016
4:00-5:30 PM

Minot Room, fifth floor
Countway Library of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
10 Shattuck Street, Boston MA 02115

Free and open to the public.

For further information contact David G. Satin, M.D., Colloquium Director, phone/fax 617-332-0032, e-mail david_satin@hms.harvard.edu

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October 18: “The Great Moment and the Advent of Anesthesia”

By , October 12, 2016

Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Center for the History of Medicine at the Countway Library present:

Movie Night: The Great Moment and the Advent of Anesthesia

On the heels of the 170th anniversary of the first successful public demonstration of anesthesia at MGH, join us for two cinematic interpretations of that fateful day. We will screen “The Great Moment,” a 1944 film directed by Preston Sturges, which focuses on dentist William T.G. Morton; and “The Advent of Anesthesia,” a short, silent 1936 film in which contemporary MGH staff reenacted the events of October 16, 1846. (Hint: One of these films is pretty true to history, and the other is … not.)

 

Movie Night poster3_trimmed

 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016
6:00-8:00pm

Light refreshments will be served.

Paul S. Russell, MD Museum of Medical History and Innovation
Massachusetts General Hospital
2 North Grove Street, Boston MA 02114

To register, email mghhistory@partners.org or call 617.724.2755.

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