March 2011

Shaping trends

As an institution, public universities are positioned to look forward to identify trends and potential growth opportunities while training the future workforce. These long range estimates must then be translated to budget cycles that hopefully allow programs to build incrementally on the current & foreseen needs of the state. Often these needs require not only an investment from outside the university but a willingness by the institution to re-shape itself to become more flexible and reflect the future realities rather than the status quo.

1970 is certainly a year in the history of health sciences education at the University of Minnesota that represents a pivot in not only the needs of the workforce but in the structure of the educational delivery system. Summarizing these changes, a 1971 report to the Minnesota Higher Education Coordinating Commission the health sciences leadership acknowledged the demands of the citizens for “access to a rational health system at a reasonable cost” while noting that accommodating this change requires a “reshaping [of the University’s] mission and organization. The result was the formation of the Academic Health Center.

Read the full report to the commission in the University Digital Conservancy.


Ye shall know the truth

“Upon the brains of our men in medical research depend the lives of our people.”

The brochure “And Ye Shall Know the Truth” was a post-war media campaign to emphasize the work done at the University of Minnesota Medical School. At the time the University was involved in a major development push to fund and build what would become the Mayo Memorial Building.

The brochure highlights what was then current and past research at the Medical School and names its most notable faculty. Ironically, Ancel Keys and the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene are featured on the cover; yet, the lab did not move into the completed Mayo complex and instead remained in space underneath Memorial Stadium.

The Mayo Memorial opened in 1954. Thirty-two years later it was replaced as the primary hospital. Today it still provides some research and clinical space amid administrative offices.

See the full brochure below.


Rosemount polio hospital

In 1946, an outbreak of polio spread across the United States and Minnesota was not isolated from this epidemic.

At the University, the Minnesota Poliomyelitis Research Committee, a team of medical researchers from a variety of disciplines under the direction of Maurice Visscher, created sophisticated surveys and data sets based on this epidemic to better understand the disease.

As part of this effort, the University Hospitals provided care to polio patients, both acute and chronic, as a public health service and a means to collect research data. Many of these patients were cared for off-site at the Fort Snelling army station hospital. Activities at the fort quickly came to a close in 1946 after the drawdown of troops after World War II. This drawdown, however, created a new opportunity for the University that proved to be a timely resource.

In December 1946 the University entered an agreement with the War Assets Department to “enter upon, occupy, and use” the facilities and grounds of the Gopher Ordnance Works, a war-time munitions plant and barracks, in Rosemount, MN for the cost of $1.

On January 3, 1947 the University moved non-acute polio patients to the new location and opened the Rosemount Hospital. The Rosemount location served as a hospital until June 30, 1948. During that time, it saw 269 patients for a total of 33,014 patient days.

Much of the above information and more on the University’s response to the 1946 polio epidemic can be found in the “Biennial Report of the President of the University of Minnesota to the Board of Regents 1946-1948.” Read the full report below.