Posts tagged: public health

Fredrick J. Stare Papers Open to Research

By , March 29, 2018
Fredrick J. Stare at desk, undated.

Fredrick J. Stare at desk, undated. H MS c499. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce that the Fredrick J. Stare papers, 1912-2002 (inclusive), 1950-1999 (bulk), are now open to research. Fredrick Stare was Distinguished Professor of Nutrition Emeritus and Founder and Chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts. His research focused on the relationship between diet and disease, and promoted a low-fat diet for minimizing the risk of cardiovascular disease. He is known for his nutrition recommendations in the popular media, and spent his career fighting what he considered nutrition quackery and misinformation.

Fredrick J. Stare (1910-2002) received his B.S. (1931), M.S. (1932), and Ph.D. (1934) in biochemistry and nutrition from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and his M.D. (1941) from the University of Chicago, Illinois. He was invited in 1942 by Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School to found the Department of Nutrition, the first nutrition program in the world connected with a school of public health or medicine. He served as chair of the department through 1976. He fundraised heavily throughout his tenure in the department, soliciting donations from many food industry corporations and interest groups.

Fredrick J. Stare during a conference at Trout Lake, Wisconsin, visiting the chemistry laboratory at which he worked during the summers of 1929-1931. 1983 May 18.

Fredrick J. Stare during a conference at Trout Lake, Wisconsin, visiting the chemistry laboratory at which he worked during the summers of 1929-1931. 1983 May 18. H MS c499. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

Stare’s research focused on diet’s relationship to health and disease, particularly cardiovascular health, obesity, and cancer. His major studies included: the 1960s Ireland-Boston Brothers Heart Study, which studied how environmental, lifestyle, and diet factors contribute to heart disease; lysine fortification studies in Tunisia and Thailand in the 1960s and 1970s; and several 1970s studies on diet and cardiovascular health in boarding schools, which resulted in mass-market availability of polyunsaturated margarine. His frequent research collaborators included David M. Hegsted (1914-2009), Bernard Lown (born 1921), and Elizabeth M. Whelan (1943-2014), among many others. Stare advocated throughout his career for a low fat diet as a way to minimize risk for cardiovascular disease, and used his industry connections to push for low-fat and multigrain ingredients in manufactured foods. He opposed fad diets, and fought against what he considered nutrition quackery or misinformation. To these ends, he used his nationally-syndicated newspaper column, “Food and Your Health,” and radio program, “Healthline,” to provide research-based nutrition advice to the general public. With Elizabeth M. Whelan, he was also a co-founder of the American Council on Science and Health, which was founded to research and distribute evidence-based health and nutrition information to the wider population.

Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Building architectural drawing, circa 1960. By Voorhees, Walker, Smith, Smith, and Haines.

Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Building architectural drawing, circa 1960. By Voorhees, Walker, Smith, Smith, and Haines. H MS c499. A note at the bottom of the drawing reads, “Nutrition Research Laboratories – A Gift of General Foods Corporation”. From the Harvard Medical Library in the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine.

The papers are the product of Fredrick J. Stare’s professional, research, publishing, travel, and personal activities throughout the course of his career. The bulk of the collection consists of: Stare’s personal and professional correspondence; and administrative and fundraising records generated through his professional appointments and service in professional organizations. The collection also includes: research records of various projects; manuscript drafts, reprints, and clippings of Stare’s nutrition and public health publications; conference and public speaking records; photographs taken during Stare’s professional and research activities; travel itineraries and journals; appointment calendars; collected educational audiovisual recordings on nutrition; and collected publications and grey literature on nutrition and public health.

For more information on Stare and his collection, please view the collection’s online finding aid. For information about accessing the collection, please contact Public Services.

Rare Haitian Reports Donated and Digitized For Access

By , November 10, 2017

One of the four reports from the PISP Project, now digitized and available through the Internet Archive.

The Center for the History of Medicine was recently gifted two sets of the four-volume report, “Projet Intègre de Santé et de Population”, which was co-sponsored by the Division d’Hygiène Familiale of the Ministère de Santé Publique et de Population and the Harvard School of Public Health (now the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health), and published in Port au Prince, Haiti between 1978 and 1982.

The reports follow three defined rural populations in Haiti (approximately 30,000 people) from 1974-1978, and include family census forms and vital sign data recorded by both resident home visitors and trained community health workers. The reports are often sought after for reference, although very few volumes exist and all have yet to be translated from the original French.

The first set of reports were donated to the Center by Dr. Gretchen Berggren as part of the Gretchen Glode and Warren L. Berggren Papers, 1967-2010 (inclusive). Gretchen and her late husband Warren launched groundbreaking community health programs in several countries in the developing world, most particularly in Haiti at the Hôpital Albert Schweitzer in Deschapelles. Both have been affiliated with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Warren was an associate professor of tropical public health and population sciences from 1972 to 1981, and Gretchen was affiliated with the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies from 1974 to 1989.

A second set of the reports were later donated to the Center for the History of Medicine by Dr. Henry Perry (Johns Hopkins School of Public Health), in recognition of their connection to the Berggrens and the Harvard Chan community.

These four volumes are indeed rare. Prior to the Center’s receipt of the complete sets, only two of the four volumes were available at other institutions. Additionally, the Haitian printing press involved in their distribution had long ago been destroyed during an earthquake. After receiving the reports, the Center quickly cataloged them and financed their digitization, making them available electronically through the Internet Archive.

The reports can now be accessed through the following sources:

  1. Demographie et fecondite. Port-au-Prince, Haiti : Les éditions Fardin, [1978?]. (Link to digital version)
  2. Recherches sur la medecine traditonnelle : dans l’aire du projet integre de sante et de population du district sanitaire de Petit-Goave. [Haiti] : Departement de la santé publique et de la population, Division d’hygiène familiale, 1979. (Link to digital version)
  3. Enquete sur la nutriton et la sante. Port-au-Prince, Haiti : Les Ateliers Fardin, [1979?]. (Link to digital version)
  4. Administration et organisation d’un programme communautaire de sante? et de population en milieu rural. Port-au-Prince, Haiti : Les Ateliers Fardin, 1982. (Link to digital version)

 

From Riding Breeches to Harvard: Stories of the First Female Harvard Chan School Graduate

By , September 27, 2017
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Bernice Ende, lady long rider and great-nice of Linda James Benitt, the first woman to graduate from the Harvard Chan School (then known as the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers) shared photographs of Linda’s parents, as well as anecdotes on her early life.

The Center for the History of Medicine was delighted to host the event, “From Riding Breeches to Harvard” on Wednesday, September 20th at the Countway Library. Bernice Ende, great niece of Linda James Benitt, who was the first woman to graduate from the Harvard T.H. Chan School (then the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers), presented findings, photos, documents, and stories from her research on, and relationship with, her “Aunt Linda.” Ende, a lady long rider for over thirteen years, has credited both her mother and her aunt for inspiring her life-long desire to encourage female leadership through long riding.  Dr. Joe Brain, Cecil K. and Philip Drinker Professor of Environmental Physiology, Department of Environmental Health, and Chair of the Harvard Chan School Archives Advisory Committee, welcomed the intimate crowd and shared his experiences working with the committee and the Harvard Chan School Archivist, Heather Mumford, in uncovering the early history of the school.

Heather Mumford, Archivist for the Harvard Chan School, presented on her 2013 "discovery" of Linda James, the first woman to graduate from the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers.

Heather Mumford, Archivist for the Harvard Chan School, presented on her 2013 “discovery” of Linda James Benitt, the first woman to graduate from the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers (precursor to the Harvard Chan School).

Prior to Ende’s presentation, Joan Ilacqua, Project Archivist for the Archives for Women in Medicine, provided background information on the first women on the Harvard Longwood campus, with a nod to Linda James Benitt’s being the first woman to be credentialed on the same basis as men in 1917 by the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers.

Following Ilacqua’s presentation, Mumford spoke on her discovery of Linda James Benitt in 2013 during the school’s centennial. The results of her early research, primarily conducted through the Minnesota Historical Society, resulted in a two-part blog series, available here. Ultimately these blog posts were what connected Mumford and Ende, and sparked their correspondence over the next three years.

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The James family, circa 1920. Photograph courtesy of Bernice Ende.

During her presentation at the Countway, Ende shared family photographs, letters, clippings, and anecdotes which helped paint a more well-rounded perspective of Linda James Benitt, and followed her throughout her life at Harvard and beyond. Common threads, such as a love of horses, a dedication to fighting for women’s rights and highlighting the accomplishments of women, as well as cultivating opportunities for adventure, were also discovered for the first time during the course of her research, and have led Ende to a much deeper appreciation for her great aunt. Ende has written a book on these topics, which is anticipated to be released in 2018. As a very special treat, Bernice Ende’s older sister brought and displayed family photos and artifacts for the audience to enjoy.

For more information on Ende, visit her website: www.endeofthetrail.com

Chester Pierce Honored in Campus Fitness Challenge

By , March 3, 2017
Image courtesy of ESPN's blog, The Undefeated.

Image courtesy of ESPN’s blog, The Undefeated.

Each year EcoOpportunity, Harvard’s Longwood Campus (HLC) Green Team, hosts “Take the Stairs”–a team-based campaign to encourage and support movement throughout the Harvard community. Hundreds of members of the Harvard community register to increase the quality and quantity of their daily movement, and to track this data with the ultimate goal of “climbing” the highest peaks around the world. This year, EcoOpportunity made a unique decision to map its challenge to a peak renowned not for its height, but rather for its connection to the Harvard community: Pierce Peak, named in honor of Dr. Chester Pierce.

Dr. Chester M. Pierce (1927-2016), Harvard College Class of 1948, Harvard Medical School Class of 1952, was emeritus professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and emeritus professor of education at the Harvard School of Education. He was the first African American full professor at Massachusetts General Hospital, and practiced in the Department of Psychiatry for over 25 years. Dr. Pierce was also the Past President of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and the American Orthopsychiatric Association, and was the founding president of the Black Psychiatrists of America. In 1970, Dr. Pierce was the first to use the term “microaggression” to describe insults and dismissals he regularly witnessed non-black Americans inflict on African Americans. He served on 22 editorial boards, and published over 180 books, articles, and reviews.

Dr. Pierce dedicated much of his time to working with organizations that helped to promote human rights, conservation, and youth education. For example, he acted as a consultant for the Children’s Television Network, the Surgeon General of the U.S. Air Force, the US Arctic Research Commission, the Peace Corps, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Pierce Peak, (5,872.7 ft, or 1,790 m) is located in Antarctica two miles south of Sullivan Peaks at the northeastern edge of Mackin Table in the Patuxent Range, Pensacola Mountains (coordinates: 84°0’52”S 63°0’09″W). In 1968, the peak was named in honor of Dr. Pierce who, with Jay T. Shurley, studied the psychophysiology of men while asleep and awake–both before, during, and after two sojourns at the South Pole Station, during the winters of 1963 and 1966. The mountains surrounding Pierce Peak were also named in honor of Dr. Pierce’s team-members and co-authors, including Shurley Ridge, Brooks Nunatak, and Natani Nunatak.

Joan Ilacqua, Archivist for Women in Medicine at the Center for the History of Medicine, conducted an oral history with Dr. Pierce in 2015 as part of Equal Access: Oral Histories of Diversity and Inclusion at Harvard Medical School. Topics discussed included attending Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, specializing in psychiatry, Navy service, researching in Antarctica, and being the first President of the Black Psychiatrists of America. To listen, or to read a transcript of the interview, visit OnView.

Registration for Take the Stairs runs from March 1st through 15th, and is open to any Harvard affiliate with a HarvardKey. Visit the website to learn more.

Harvard Chan School Archivist Collaborates to Create First Historical Timeline of the Department of Environmental Health

By , August 9, 2016

A brief history of the Department of Environmental Health, displayed as a timeline. Please click the image to enlarge.

Working collaboratively with faculty and staff within the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, public health archivist Heather Mumford created a comprehensive timeline detailing historic names and department chairs. The resulting visual helped convey the complex narrative of the department’s evolution over a 100+ year history.

To complete this research, Heather relied on digitized historic Harvard Chan School catalogs available online and, with the assistance of Reference Archivist Jessica Murphy, consulted other historic administrative records available at the Center for the History of Medicine to confirm their results. Departmental faculty were given the opportunity to weigh in on the timeline, and to give feedback about what types of information (departmental name changes, chairs, etc.) were most interesting or informative to include.

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Explore the Harvard Chan School’s first catalog (1913).

The history of the department is somewhat difficult to track, as a singular “Department of Environmental Health” was not present in the early school, known as the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers (1913-1922). In fact, formal departments did not exist at this time. Instead, courses were placed in “groups” with titles such as “Sanitary Biology and Sanitary Chemistry” or “Sanitary Engineering”.

In 1922, after the school received a Rockefeller grant and became the Harvard School of Public Health, the course catalogs began grouping courses by “divisions”. This included the founding of the departments of Physiology, under the leadership of Cecil Drinker (succeeded in 1948 by James Whittenberger), and Industrial Hygiene, which in 1932 came under the leadership of Philip Drinker, followed by Leslie Silverman in 1961. Over time these divisions become known as departments, and at certain points they merged and/or changed names. In 1991, a single “Department of Environmental Health” emerged.

This timeline was created to complement an exhibit on plethysmograph research, located on floor L-1 of the Countway Library and set to open later this summer. It was also used as part of a departmental retreat in May 2016, and has since been professionally printed by the department so that it can be placed on permanent display within their offices.

For more information about the Harvard Chan School Archives at the Center for the History of Medicine, contact Heather Mumford.

Center Featured on ThairathTV

By , December 8, 2015
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Mahidol Adulyadej, Prince of Songkla. Father of HRH Princess Galyani, HM King Ananda Mahidol (Rama VIII) and HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). Photograph circa 1914-1928.

In November, representatives from the Thai television channel ThairathTV arranged to visit the Center for the History of Medicine and review materials relating to Mahidol Adulyadej, Prince of Songkla (January 1, 1892 – September 24, 1929). Prince Mahidol was one of the earliest international students to graduate from the Harvard-MIT School for Health Officers, now known as the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and is widely regarded as the father of modern medicine and public health of Thailand.

The Thairath team visited the Harvard Medical School campus with the purpose of coming face-to-face with historic artifacts relating to the Prince, his family, and his time at Harvard. Center for the History of Medicine staff members Jessica Murphy, Reference Archivist, and Heather Mumford, Archivist for the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, curated relevant materials from Center collections for the team and were on hand to discuss their significance to Harvard and broader communities.

As part of the visit, Dr. Joseph Brain, Cecil K. and Philip Drinker Professor of Environmental Physiology in the Department of Environmental Health, was interviewed by ThairathTV representatives for his insight on the Prince’s impact on public health. “What I admire about [Prince Mahidol] is, not that he was royalty, but that he was entirely committed to the health and welfare of the people of Thailand,” stated Dr. Brain.

thai_tvFootage from this visit was incorporated into a broadcast aired this month, which includes a visit to a number of historic landmarks in Massachusetts relating to the Prince and his family. The video can be viewed (primarily in Thai, with some English) on YouTube and Facebook, as well as on ThairathTV’s website.

Arnold Relman Papers Now Open to Research

By , June 19, 2014
Arnold Relman

Arnold Relman

The Arnold S. Relman papers, 1953-2011 (inclusive),  1974-2011 (bulk) are now open to research. The Relman papers contain records from his activities as Editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, author and researcher, and chair of the John Mack Inquiry Committee at Harvard Medical School, and include professional correspondence, research subject files on conflict of interest, for-profit hospitals, health care reform, the medical-industrial complex, and medical ethics, and records from his service on committees at Harvard Medical School and at the Massachusetts Medical Society. The papers also contain Relman’s writings, records from his attendance at professional meetings and conferences, and a small amount of personal records.

Arnold S. Relman (1923-2014; A.B., 1943, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York; M.D., 1946, Cornell University) is a former Editor of the New England Journal of Medicine (1977-1991), nephrologist, professor, author, and researcher. After his residency at New Haven Hospital, Relman was on the faculty at Boston University School of Medicine from 1950 to 1967. In 1967, he became the Conrad Wesselhoeft Professor of Medicine at Boston University. From 1968 to 1977, Relman was the Frank Wister Tomas Professor of Medicine and Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia. In 1977, he was appointed Editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston, and Senior Physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston. In 2004, he won, with Marcia Angell, the George Polk Award in Journalism. Relman died on Tuesday, June 17, in his home in Lincoln, Massachusetts, of melanoma.

The finding aid for the Relman papers can be found here.

For information regarding access to this collection, please contact the Public Services staff.

Archivist Attends APHA Conference Through Sewell Award

By , November 14, 2013
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Heather Cristiano, Archivist for the Harvard School of Public Health, poses in the stacks at the Center for the History of Medicine, Countway Library.

In August, Harvard School of Public Health’s newly appointed archivist, Heather Cristiano, was awarded a Sewell Stipend to attend the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting. This stipend is sponsored by the Grace and Harold Sewell Memorial Fund, which was established with the intention of increasing librarians’ effectiveness at providing reliable/relevant information to public health professionals. Heather was the only (and rumored to be the first!) archivist to receive the award.

As a Sewell Stipend recipient, Heather attended the APHA’s annual meeting in Boston from Sunday, November 3rd until Wednesday, November 6th under the mentorship of David Hemenway, Professor of Health Policy in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). As part of the mentoring experience, Heather attended two sessions that included presentations from Dr. Hemenway on gun violence prevention, and spent time informally connecting with Dr. Hemenway and his colleagues to learn more about public health within the context of Harvard.

In addition to these requirements, Heather also volunteered with the Spirit of 1848 caucus at a late-night lecture given by Winona LaDuke, and sought informational interviews from Spirit of 1848 caucus members Nancy Krieger, Professor of Social Epidemiology Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at HSPH and Anne-Emanuelle Birn, Professor of Global Health/Social and Behavioral Health Sciences at the University of Toronto.

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A panoramic view of the expo at APHA’s annual meeting at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, November 2013.

Heather’s ultimate goal for her conference experience was to come away with a better sense of both contemporary and historic public health issues, particularly those outside the context of a university. This knowledge, in turn, would allow her to make better strategic collecting decisions for the newly formed Harvard School of Public Health archives.

Of course, Heather came away from this four day conference experience with much more than she had bargained for! Her main takeaways included:

  1. Public health issues are interconnected.  During his opening address for the conference, Michael Marmot connected income inequality with health disparities; in her presentation Climate Change, Public Health and Indigenous Peoples, Winona LaDuke reported increases in incidents of violent crimes, traffic crashes, and crimes against women in communities exposed to fracking; Food is Medicine and Prevention focused exclusively on the concept that adequate nutrition reduces health care costs; Farm to Preschool  emphasized connecting schools with local growers, which in turn improves the local economy as well as the health of individual families—these are only a few examples of conference sessions that painted a clear picture of how public health issues are interrelated.
  2. How crucial (and visible) an archival perspective is to modern public health research. It was fascinating to note the many different presentations that utilized historic research: Richard Mizelle’s presentation on the relationship of population displacement to obesity and diabetes; Teddy Roosevelt’s pioneering decision to institute “public cooling” during the 1896 heat wave by distributing ice blocks to New York City residents; Dora Anne Mill’s review of the role of Maine public health policies during the 1918 flu epidemic;  the crucial convergence of Medicare, the civil rights movement, and commitment from President Lyndon B. Johnson that led to the desegregation of hospitals in the 1960s. These four examples are only a small sampling of the thought-provoking research presented at this year’s conference that relied heavily on a historical perspective on public health.
  3. The importance of looking back at our history and making conscious departures from the status quo. In the session Sandy Hook Reflections and Solutions, presenting author Timothy A. Akers began with Einstein’s quote “problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” This theme reemerged time and time again—that only through reflection can we move forward to a better solution for the future. Along these lines, David Hemenway stated in  Legal Approaches Targeting Firearm Manufacturers and Distributors  that in order to address illegal firearm use, it is imperative that our culture shift from current methods of blame and political finger-pointing to a change in social norms in conjunction with law. Making a direct comparison to motor vehicles, Dr. Hemenway spoke about how our culture has shifted its perspective on drunk driving; as a culture we now know to recognize a dangerous situation before it happens, and take away keys from an inebriated driver. Could we not also develop a similar concern for friends and family members who are experiencing tough emotional times, and offer to temporarily store their guns away in a safe (and unknown) place?

Heather was grateful for this conference experience, as well as the opportunities afforded to her through the Sewell award, which has further developed her understanding of public health from the perspective of the professional and increased her understanding of public health patrons’ roles and needs.

38th Annual Joseph Garland Lecture, October 23, 2013: “Adventures at the Intersection of Medical Journalism & Public Health” with Lawrence K. Altman, M.D.

By , September 19, 2013

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THE 38th ANNUAL JOSEPH GARLAND LECTURE:

“Adventures at the Intersection of Medical Journalism & Public Health”

 Lawrence K. Altman, M.D.
Medical Journalist/Columnist, The New York Times
Clinical Professor of Medicine, New York University

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Carl Walter Amphitheatre
Tosteson Medical Education Center
Harvard Medical School
260 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA

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Sponsored by the Boston Medical Library in the Countway Library of Medicine

Attendance is free. Registration is required.
Contact Roz Vogel: rvogel@hms.harvard.edu or 617-432-4807

Dr. Altman has been a member of The New York Times science news staff since 1969. In addition to reporting, he writes “The Doctor’s World” column in Science Times. Dr. Altman currently is a senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, where he was the advertising manager and treasurer of The Lampoon magazine, and received his medical degree from Tufts University of School of Medicine.

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