The Academic Health Center History Project documents and preserves the institutional memory and historical events that chronicle the development of health sciences education and research at the University of Minnesota.

A Gopher’s View of the Medical School

Gopher1892History.jpgThe student view of the Medical School has changed as the years progressed. Only three years after the opening of the Medical School, the 1892 Gopher Yearbook (page 77) proclaimed the Medical School’s positives, including the high standard it set for its students. Some other aspects of the Medical School that the Gopher Yearbook touted were the great clinical facilities, the large number of students, and the faculty who had previous experience in teaching or managing medical schools.

Gopher1961Study.jpgToward the end of the production of Gopher Yearbooks, the observations about the Medical School were less glowing. The comments were still positive, however they were aimed more toward commiserating with the current students on how much work it was to study for a medical degree. In the 1961 Gopher Yearbook (pages 123-125), for instance, an article entitled “Medical School Means Study” explained that “Medical school has a reputation for being rough. This is no idle talk. Every hour of lecture means at least two in the lab.” In 1964, the Gopher Yearbook (pages 339-343) Gopher1964Demanding.jpg had an article about how the work of a medical student was demanding and required determination. While this article has many pictures and explanations about what a medical student does during their years of training, it has nothing as complimentary as what was written in the 1892 Gopher Yearbook.

University Hospitals: Free For Service

In 1909, when the University Hospitals first opened their doors in an old fraternity house,FratHospital.jpg patients were offered care for free. In the Report of the Medical School to the President of 1912-1913, Dr. Richard Olding Beard expressed concern pertaining to the growth of both the inpatient and outpatient services. The hospital had a waiting list that ranged between 20 and 30, while the clinic was congested. Dr. Beard stated that it was not possible to treat all of the patients who presented at the clinic or hospital. In the 1913-1914 Report of the Medical School to the President, the Outpatient Department cited 13,575 new patients and 47,347 visits, averaging around 155 visits per day.

ElliotHospital.jpgThis congestion led to a $0.10 per patient per ambulatory visit charge to be instated beginning July 1, 1915. There was also a prescription fee for patients requiring prescriptions. The inpatient wards were not far behind in leaving the “free for service” model, with approval from the Board of Regents coming in the 1918-1919 school year for 50 beds in Elliot Memorial Hospital to be used by patients who would pay a per diem charge.

In 1921, the County-State plan for caring for indigent patients who were residents of Minnesota was passed into law, requiring that patients be referred by their family physicians and be certified for care by the Judge of Probate of the county of residence prior to visiting the clinic. In 1923, this was amended to designate the county commissioner as the official authorized to certify eligibility for care, which meant that the University Hospitals could now bill the county for half of the patient’s bill. The balance was billable to the state because of state appropriations.

Whether the cost was free, $0.10 per patient per visit, or a small per diem, visiting the University Hospitals was a pretty good deal.

Primary source of information was Masters of Medicine by J. Arthur Myers.

As CUHCC Changes

The Community University Health Care Center (CUHCC) opened in 1966 to provide the children of South Minneapolis with a comprehensive medical-dental care program. Now, CUHCC is the primary medical and dental clinic for patients of all different ages and locales. CUHCC was first opened under a protocol of offering eligible children a program of total medical and dental care with emphasis on prevention. Eligibility depended on the total income for the family to which the child belonged and whether the child lived within the geographic limits of CUHCC.

The total income eligibility requirement was based on whether the family fell under the Social Security Act’s guidelines for poverty level. The clinic used a sliding fee scale so patients who could not pay much could still get complete health care, with the reasoning behind opening a clinic where money was of a lesser concern was based on a National Advisory Committee on Health Manpower report that concluded that medical costs would soon exceed the general cost of living increases.

Soon after CUHCC opened, the specialists served what some considered to be the largest Native American population in the country, with up to 9,000 Native Americans living in the area at certain times during the year. In 1974, the director of the clinic estimated proportions to the Minnesota Daily, listing 44 percent of the clientele as Native American, five to 10 percent black, and the rest white. In 2009, 64% of the patients seen at CUHCC were people of color, immigrants, or refugees: 31% were black, African, or African American; 16% were Asian or Pacific Islander; 12% were Latino; and 5% were Native Americans.

In 1975, CUHCC began to treat adults. These adults were originally the parents and family members of children already being seen at CUHCC, but that soon changed to any adults living in the geographic boundary. When CUHCC moved to its new location on Bloomington Avenue, the geographic limits originally imposed on patients were removed, so now any patient who falls below the poverty line can be seen at CUHCC.

Thumbnail image for CUHCC.jpgCUHCC.pdf

Would you bite on this for science?

Giovanni_Borelli _Instrument.jpgThe strength of one’s bite and the force used to chew food appear to have intrigued dental students for centuries. The earliest investigation of jaw strength on record dates to 1681 in Rome by Professor Giovanni Borelli of the Jesuit College (see picture at right). The value of the early studies on bite force and jaw muscle strength was mainly in satisfying curiosity, however later interest existed in the effect of functional demands on tissue health and development.

Gnathodynamometer.jpgIn 1936, the University of Minnesota’s School of Dentistry determined that the principle difficulty encountered by researchers studying the muscles of mastication was the lack of an instrument to accurately measure the pressure exerted by the jaws. Along with the University of Minnesota Scientific Instrument Shop, the School of Dentistry developed the “Gnathodynamometer of the School of Dentistry, University of Minnesota”. Would you bite on this for science?

For more information on this instrument or on the School of Dentistry’s history, please visit the University Archives.

The Millard Halls

img0200.jpgMillard Hall, corner of Washington and Union.

Millard Hall, constructed in 1911 and opened in 1912, served as a complimentary facility to the recently opened Anatomy Hall, now Jackson Hall. Millard Hall provided laboratory research space and departmental headquarters for most faculty in the Medical School. Millard Hall was torn down in 1999, along with Owre Hall and Lyon Laboratories, to make way for the Molecular and Cellular Biology building.

But did you know there was a Millard Hall before this Millard Hall? Did you know the original Millard Hall is still standing on campus, albeit under a different name?

img0201.jpgThe first Millard Hall opened in October of 1892 as Medical Hall on the corner of Arlington and Pleasant. This was the first new building on campus dedicated to the medical sciences. Dean Perry Millard provided nearly $65,000 of the construction costs and the legislature appropriated $80,000. After Dean Millard’s death the building was named in his honor in 1906. When the new Medical School opened in 1912 the name was transferred to the new location.

img0202.jpgThe original Millard Hall.

What became of the old Millard Hall? In 1913 the College of Pharmacy, under the leadership of Dean Frederick Wulling, moved into the space. In 1942 the building was renamed in his honor and retains that designation today.

Today the building no longer serves as an educational home to any of the health sciences on campus, but it remains the first building constructed for medical education and has outlasted many that have come after it, including the new Millard Hall.

Biometry, Health Computer Sciences, or Health Informatics?

Why not all three? The Institute for Health Informatics at the University of Minnesota recently deposited 45 cubic feet of material to the University Archives. This is pretty impressive for an institute that is only seven years old. In reality, the materials date back to 1968 when the relevant graduate degree was Biometry and Health Information Sciences, and was part of the School of Public Health. At the same time, the Division of Health Computer Sciences was part of the Medical School‘s Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, and was a forerunner to the academic aspect of the Institute of Health Informatics.

The materials in this collection are mainly from training grants and a simulations resources grant. The main grant supporting this program was a prestigious National Library of Medicine grant, which was held from 1974 to 2009 and was used to train future teachers in the field of health informatics as well as future researchers. The simulation grant, through the National Center for Research Resources, allowed the University of Minnesota to be unique in that there were computers available as a resource in its medical sciences college.

Samples of the kinds of grant reports that are available for early training grants are available in the University Digital Conservancy’s Health Sciences & University Hospitals Historical Collections. More grant reports and applications from the Institute for Health Informatics collection will hopefully be digitized and uploaded next fall, so keep an eye on the Digital Conservancy.

Father of Medical Oncology

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Kennedy.jpgB.J. Kennedy was a Regents’ Professor at the University of Minnesota and was considered the Father of Medical Oncology by many. Kennedy passed away in 2003, and his family deposited materials from his research and work in 2004 and 2010. Just recently, those materials have been processed and listed so as to be more accessible to the general public.

Within those materials are a huge number of images from Dr. Kennedy’s research into cancer and graphics from talks he gave. Kennedy also kept an ordered collection of the almost-1,000 articles he published, which is now stored in the University Archives. While a prolific researcher, he was also a prominent administrator at the University of Minnesota. His papers include records from the Department of Oncology and the Masonic Cancer Center.

Learn why Dr. B.J. Kennedy was considered the Father of Medical Oncology by visiting the University Archives and reading his biographical file or looking through the collection of his materials.

1950s Clinical Conference Course

The College of Veterinary Medicine collection was recently processed, primarily by finding all the small collections relating to this college and combining them into one place. One set of materials that had not previously been processed, and no one is sure where it came from, is a series of records on a course in the College of Veterinary Medicine in the 1950s called “Clinical Conference Course”. This weekly seminar was used by professors to put a collection of symptoms in front of the students and then discuss what disease might be present. The University Archives now has a collection of the handouts given to students from 1949 through 1962. This set of handouts can be used to get a glimpse into how veterinary medicine was organized and what tests were available during this era. It is interesting to use this type of material for any health science to learn how practice in the field has progressed over the years; this set of records could be beneficial to any student of the history of veterinary medicine.

Oral History in the Making

History does not necessarily have to be about people who are no longer around. The Academic Health Center History Project has an oral historian, Dominique Tobbell. Since 2009, Dr. Tobbell has conducted interviews with many of the prominent people of the Academic Health Center from the past century. Here in University Archives, we have finally uploaded the first batch of oral histories she conducted to the University Digital Conservancy. Getting people’s recollections and perceptions first hand makes history seem more tangible. If you have a few moments, browsing the recently uploaded oral histories is something worth doing.

An international veterinarian

In 1954 the University of Minnesota began a partnership with Seoul National University to provide technical and advisory support for educational programs and administrative organization in a variety of disciplines including medicine, nursing, public health, and veterinary medicine. The project with Seoul National University ran for seven years until 1961.

The College of Veterinary Medicine at Seoul National University shares an anniversary date with the U of M’s College of Veterinary Medicine – 1947. During the period of the University’s work at SNU, John Arnold, professor and head of veterinary surgery and radiology at Minnesota, served as an advisor to the veterinary college and produced a set of recommendations in his final report in 1961. That report is now available in the University Digital Conservancy.

The report provides not only a description of the program and its growth, but also a first-hand account of Prof. Arnold’s observations about the changing political structure in Korea and their direct influence on an academic institution.

After his work in Korea, Prof. Arnold continued to be active in international veterinary education. He worked as a consultant at the National University in Bogota, Columbia and hosted visiting veterinarian professors from Iran in the early 1970s.

Read his final report for the SNU project below.