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"History is who we are and why we are the way we are."
– David McCullough

Abstracts of Talks 2013-2014

Baylor College of Medicine's Turbulent Transition to Independence

William T. Butler, M.D.Date: Sept. 4, 2013

Speaker: William T. Butler, M.D., Chancellor Emeritus, Baylor College of Medicine

Abstract: BCM faced a number of serious challenges in the 1960s including tension between the Board and faculty, nine vacant Chairmanships, the threat of another medical school in Houston competing for badly needed resources and Baptist control thwarting growth. This presentation will describe how BCM overcame these obstacles, gained independent governance, elected its first President and began transformation into a nationally acclaimed academic medical school under Michael DeBakey's presidency.

Download transcript of Baylor College of Medicine's Turbulent Transition to Independence presentation.


The King's Physician: Jean Héroard

Wil McCorquodale, Ph.D.Date: Oct. 2, 2013

Speaker: Wil McCorquodale, Ph.D., Director of Constituent Strategies, Office of Development and Alumni Relations, Baylor College of Medicine

Abstract: Jean Héroard served as personal physician to Louis XIII, king of France from 1610 to 1643. Héroard left to posterity a famous journal from which scholars have drawn an abundance of information on medicine and court life in seventeenth century Europe. This presentation will examine his writings as a point of departure for understanding the role of the doctor at a royal court in and the wider context of European history.

Download transcript of The King's Physician: Jean Héroard presentation.


Maxwell Myer Wintrobe: New History and a New Appreciation

Herbert L. Fred and Hendrick van Dijk Date: Nov. 6, 2013

Speakers: Herbert L. Fred, MD, MACP, Professor, Department of Internal Medicine with Hendrik A. van Dijk, former Director of Graphics Communications Group, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Abstract: Maxwell Myer Wintrobe was a giant among physician-scientists of the 20th century. His body of work established hematology as a distinct subspecialty. His textbook, Clinical Hematology, was (and remains) the most authoritative in its field. And his model fellowship training program produced scores of academic and practicing hematologists around the world.

Dr. Wintrobe favorably and profoundly influenced countless medical students, house officers, and fellows, giving their lives new impetus and direction. With help from his daughter, Susan, and from key Canadian officials, this account of his professional career contains photographs and important information not heretofore available to the public.

Download transcript of Maxwell Myer Wintrobe: New History and a New Appreciation presentation.


Houston and Hiroshima: Two Cities, Two Biomedical Research and Training Institutions and Their Relationship

William J. Schull, Ph.D.Date: Dec. 4, 2013

Speaker: William J. Schull, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, School of Public Health, The University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston

Abstract: The link between the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the development of Houston's Texas Medical Center in the 1940s is a rarely known story of two very divergent cities that together gave rise to a unique opportunity for scientific research. This presentation focuses on the interactions between the staffs of Hiroshima's Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (est. 1947) and Houston's MD Anderson Cancer Center (est. 1941) in the first decade or so following the establishment of these institutions. Some of these interactions resulted in persistent changes in medical education in Hiroshima and in medical research in both Japan and the United States. Dr. Schull was an active participant in the Hiroshima-based research and later at UT.


Maude Abbott: Courageous Early Female Physician and Founder of the International Academy of Pathology

L. Maximilian Buja, M.DDate: Jan. 8, 2014

Speaker: L. Maximilian Buja, M.D., Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Medical School, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and Executive Director, The Texas Medical Center Library

Abstract: Dr. Maude Abbott (1869-1940) was one of Canada's earliest female physicians who became an expert on congenital heart disease. During her career, she had to overcome many personal and professional obstacles. Maude Abbott had a complicated relationship with McGill University. She received her medical degree from Bishop's College after being denied admission to McGill following completion of a baccalaureate degree at that institution.

Following postgraduate studies in Europe, Maude Abbott got a position at McGill because of the impression she made on the chair of pathology, Dr. George Adami. Adami urged Maude Abbott to organize the medical museum at McGill and to travel to other institutions to look for best practices. During this project, she met and came under the influence of Dr. William Osler who encouraged her efforts. Over the years, Maude Abbott developed an impressive medical museum at McGill.

She became internationally recognized for her work on the anatomy and pathology of congenital heart disease. However, she had to face an often hostile environment and received little recognition at McGill, because of concern over setting precedents regarding women in medicine.

Maude Abbott became a co-founder of the Association of Medical Museums, the precursor of the International Academy of Pathology (IAP). Throughout her career, Maude Abbott also took responsibility for the care of her older sister, Alice, who suffered from mental illness. In 1936, the American Heart Association published Maude Abbott's seminal work, The Atlas of Congenital Heart Disease. Following her death, Maude Abbott has become recognized as one of Canada's outstanding physicians and a role model for both men and women in medicine.


A Trail of Tears: Vignettes from the History of Leprosy

John E. Wolf, Jr., M.D.Date: Feb. 5, 2014

Speaker: John E. Wolf, Jr., M.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Dermatology, Baylor College of Medicine

Abstract: Leprosy (Hansen's Disease) is an ancient disease still quite prevalent in our modern world. Although often listed as a "tropical" disease, it was recognizable in Europe by Aractos and Galen as early as 150 A.D. and was pandemic in 13th and 14th century Europe. The causative organism (M. leprae) was first described by a Norwegian, G. Armauer Hansen in 1874.

This lecture will address the origins ("cradle") of leprosy and the nature of "Biblical leprosy." The author, based on personal experiences, will also discuss Father Damian and the isolation of leprosy victims on the Kalaupapa peninsula of Molokai, leprosy in the Pacific Islands, and leprosy in armadillos. He will also discuss Sir James Hutchinson's theory of leprosy and fish eating and depictions of leprosy in the visual arts.

Download transcript of A Trail of Tears: Vignettes from the History of Leprosy presentation.


Aztec Medicine

Liliana F. Rodriguez, Dr.P.H., MPH, M(ASCP)Date: March 5, 2014

Speaker: Liliana F. Rodriguez, DrPH, MPH, M(ASCP)

Abstract: The destruction of Tenochtitlan and the collapse of the Aztec Empire in 1521 brought to an end one of the most remarkable civilizations in Mesoamerica. The Aztecs lived in a well-organized society of astronomers, mathematicians, spectacular craftsmen, architects, painters, sculptors, and musicians and poets.

In such advanced civilization, it was only natural for the science of medicine to develop to a high level of sophistication. Similarly to Hippocrates and Galen, the Aztecs believed that illness was the result of the loss of internal equilibrium, and the causes of this imbalance were many. Their practice of medicine, like every other aspect of their life, was inseparable from their concept of the cosmos and their religious beliefs. Treatments were often holistic and involved the use of medicinal plants, minerals, and animal products. In addition, Aztecs physicians, who could be male or female, were skilled to perform surgical incisions and sutures, administer anesthetics, treat bone fractures and wounds, and provide elaborated dental work.

Download transcript of Aztec Medicine presentation.


Annual John P. McGovern Lecture and Banquet

John P. McGovern, M.D.: A Lifetime of Stories

Bryant Boutwell, Dr.P.H.Date: March 18, 2014
Place: La Colombe d'Or Banquet Hall, 3407 Yoakum Blvd (map and directions). Reservations required. Please RSVP to rrakel@bcm.edu.
Time: Cocktails 6:30 p.m., Dinner 7 p.m., Presentation 8 p.m.

Speaker: Bryant Boutwell, Dr.P.H., John P. McGovern Professor of Oslerian Medicine, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston

Abstract: The John P. McGovern Allergy Clinic, McGovern Health Museum, McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics at UTHealth, McGovern Children's Zoo, McGovern/ Stella Link Library, McGovern Commons and South Campus of the Texas Medical Center... the list barely scratches the surface of the man behind the name. While he died May 31, 2007, just days short of his 86th birthday, his legacy continues to grow. His John P. McGovern Foundation, launched in the early 1960s, continues to make a difference for numerous individuals and institutions throughout the Houston community and beyond.

John P. McGovern, M.D.: A Lifetime of Stories published in 2014 by Texas A&M Press, represents the stories of Dr. McGovern's life written by Bryant Boutwell, a personal friend and longtime writer and faculty member in the Texas Medical Center. Those attending this presentation will get a biographer's perspective of how McGovern's life was researched and written. The book is the product of dozens of personal interviews with friends and colleagues of Dr. McGovern's along with a detailed review of his vast archives now located at the HAM/TMC Library's Historical Research Center.

Did you know Dr. McGovern and Warren Buffett attended the same high school (eight years apart) in Washington, D.C., or that he left Tulane in New Orleans to join the young Texas Medical Center in 1956? The stories of McGovern's life include the stories of Sir William Osler, his Duke dean and lifelong mentor, Wilburt Davison, the formative years of the Texas Medical Center, the emergence of allergy and immunology as a medical specialty, the National Library of Medicine, and much more. Seven years after his death, Dr. McGovern continues to touch our community and make a difference in many ways as the stories—and the back stories—of his life will tell.


Kezia Payne DePelchin and the Memphis Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878

Adrian Melissinos, Ph.D., RNDate: April 2, 2014

Speaker: Adrian Melissinos, Ph.D., RN

Abstract: Yellow fever was rampant throughout the South in the summer of 1878 and Memphis, Tenn., struggled to care for over 17,000 yellow fever victims. Overwhelmed by the number of ill, the city pleaded for help by newspaper and telegraph. Kezia DePelchin was one of the nurses who responded to the call for assistance and traveled to Memphis to care for yellow fever victims. She spent several months in the city as the epidemic peaked and eventually diminished with the fall frosts. This presentation examines Mrs. DePelchin's experiences during the epidemic within the framework of care established in Memphis and explores nursing as it transitioned from the end of the Civil War to the start of professional nursing education.


The Business of Private Medical Practice and the New History of the American Medical Profession

James A. Schafer, Jr., Ph.D.Date: May 7, 2014

Speaker: James A. Schafer, Jr., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History, University of Houston

Abstract: This lecture will examine major themes in historical scholarship about the American medical profession since publication of Paul Starr's Pulitzer Prize winning The Social Transformation of American Medicine (Basic Books, 1982). Particular emphasis will be placed on recent scholarship that examines exceptions to professional unification in the early twentieth century, including in James Schafer's The Business of Private Medical Practice (Rutgers University Press, forthcoming). The lecture will also examine the unraveling of professional autonomy in the mid-to-late twentieth century with the rise of third parties, corporate group practice, and evidence-based medicine.


* Audio clips and transcripts courtesy of Adept Word Management, Inc.