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The Center for the History of Medicine, Countway Library, houses one of the world's leading collections in the history of health care and medicine, with strong holdings in virtually every medical discipline, including anatomy, anesthesiology, cardiology, dentistry, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and surgery. The Center offers access to the personal and professional papers of prominent American physicians and is the institutional repository for the records of Harvard Medical School (founded 1782), Harvard School of Dental Medicine (1867), and Harvard School of Public Health (1922).
 

Researcher access to portions of many of the modern manuscript and archival collections may be restricted due to the presence of personal and patient information; these records are restricted for a period of 80 years from the date of creation.  In addition, access to all Harvard University records is restricted for a period of 50 years from the date of creation.  Restrictions and their duration are generally noted on the finding aids to the individual collection.

Researchers may apply for access to restricted records.  Consult the public services staff for additional information on the application process.

In addition to the resources available on the Center's website, researchers are invited to browse digitized items from the Center's collections via its Omeka site OnView or its Digital Access Repository.


News

Digital record of a stand against chaos: Strong Medicine in the Harvard Gazette

Strong Medicine logoThe Harvard Gazette‘s Colleen Walsh covers Strong Medicine in “Digital record of a stand against chaos,” an April 10, 2014 article.

“The bombings at last year’s Boston Marathon turned a celebration of the human body and spirit into a day of bloodshed, fear, and mourning. Three people died in the explosions and 16 of the more than 260 injured lost limbs. Now, a year later, as the city remembers the tragedy, a Harvard initiative is telling the story of the doctors, nurses, and emergency responders who saved countless lives. It is also chronicling the days and months that followed and the spirit that helped the city recover and healed both bodies and minds.

“Strong Medicine,” organized by Countway Library’s Center for the History of Medicine, is a digital archive of stories, photographs, oral histories, and other media documenting the medical community’s response to the crisis. Developed in collaboration with “Our Marathon” at Northeastern University, the archive is an effort to build a permanent record for future researchers and historians….”

To read the rest of the article, see: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2014/04/digital-record-of-a-stand-against-chaos/

Lagakos Papers, Dept. of Biostatstics Records Open to Research
Stephen Lagakos

Stephen Lagakos

The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the opening of the Stephen W. Lagakos papers, 1971-2009 (inclusive), 1995-2009 (bulk) and the records of the Department of Biostatistics, Harvard School of Public Health, 1981-2009 (inclusive), 1999-2003 (bulk). The Lagakos papers include research records from Lagakos’s involvement in HIV/AIDS clinical trials, his professional writings, teaching records, records from his involvement with professional organizations, and personal correspondence, appointment books and photographs. The Department of Biostatistics records, most of which are from Lagakos’s tenure as chair of the department, contain administrative records, including those documenting faculty searches, appointments, and departmental meetings, as well as course schedules and evaluations.

Stephen W. Lagakos (1946-2009, B.S., 1968, Carnegie-Mellon University, M.Ph., Ph.D., 1972, George Washington University) was a biostatistician, AIDS researcher, and professor of biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health. Lagakos was a member of Department of Biostatistics from 1978 until his death in 2009, also serving as chair of the department (1999-2006). In the 1980s, Lagakos worked with Harvard School of Public Health colleagues on the Woburn Study, which linked higher incidences of leukemia and birth defects in Woburn, Massachusetts with polluted water supply wells. From 1989 to 1996, Lagakos served as director of the Statistical and Data Analysis Center, AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG). In 1995, he became the founder and director of the Center for Biostatistics in AIDS Research (CBAR). Lagakos died, along with his wife and mother, in an automobile accident in New Hampshire in 2009.

Processing of the collection was a part of the Private Practices, Public Health: Privacy Aware Processing to Maximize Access to Health Collections project, funded by a Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, through the Council on Library Resources (CLIR).  The project is a collaborative effort between the Center and the Chesney Medical Archives at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, on behalf of the Medical Heritage Library, to open public health collections previously closed to research, and to determine best practices for providing access to collections with protected health information and other types of restricted records.

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

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

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Stephen Lagakos

Erich Lindemann Papers Open to Research
Erich Lindemann

Erich Lindemann, circa 1960-1969, Portrait Collection, 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 Erich Lindemann papers are now open to research.  Lindemann (1900-1974) was Chief of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston, Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, Medical Director of the Wellesley Human Relations Service, Massachusetts, and Distinguished Visiting Professor in Clinical and Social Psychiatry at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California.

Lindemann is known for his preventive intervention work with crisis patients and subjects of loss and bereavement.  His work with burn victims of the Cocoanut Grove fire of 1942 inspired his interest in the psychiatric and physiological effects of crisis, grief, and loss.  He later directed a study of the effects of loss and disruption on the displaced families of Boston’s West End redevelopment, the results of which later informed urban redevelopment projects across the country.  Lindemann is also recognized as a pioneer in the field of community mental health, advocating for collaboration between psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians, social workers, clergymen, teachers, and other community social service providers in the preventive therapy of crisis victims.  As a part of these efforts, he established a community mental health training program for social service providers at Massachusetts General Hospital, helped found the nation’s first community mental health agency in 1948 (the Wellesley Human Relations Service), and chaired multiple professional and national committees related to community mental health and preventive psychiatry.

The papers are the product of Lindemann’s professional, research, teaching, and publishing activities throughout the course of his career.  The bulk of the collection contains administrative, research, and teaching records generated during his tenure at Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, the Wellesley Human Relations Service,  and Massachusetts General Hospital.  The collection also contains: personal and professional correspondence; research data and administrative records of the West End Research Project; correspondence and records related to Lindemann’s service in professional organizations and committees; his writings and publications; and collected publications related to psychiatry and mental health.  Papers also include over 350 audio and audio-visual recordings of lectures by Lindemann and his colleagues, professional conferences, patient consultations, and meetings of the Wellesley Human Relations Service and of the West End Research project.

Processing of the collection was a part of the Private Practices, Public Health: Privacy Aware Processing to Maximize Access to Health Collections project, funded by a Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, through the Council on Library Resources (CLIR).  The project is a collaborative effort between the Center and the Chesney Medical Archives at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, on behalf of the Medical Heritage Library, to open public health collections previously closed to research, and to determine best practices for providing access to collections with protected health information and other types of restricted records.

For more information on Lindemann and his collection, please view the online finding aid.

MGH’s Dr. Alasdair Conn in Strong Medicine: saving lives is a “team sport”

StongMed_NoSubThe Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to present Strong Medicine’s first oral history. The interview, between Massachusetts General Hospital’s Head of Emergency Services Dr. Alasdair Conn and Harvard History of Science graduate student Emily Harrison, took place in February this year. The two discussed last year’s Boston Marathon bombing and how Massachusetts General Hospital reacted. Dr. Conn describes his background in the Emergency Department, the close relationship between Boston’s hospitals and Emergency Medical Services, disaster plans and drills, and the quick and efficient response of Boston’s medical professionals.

Although some of the healing success of Marathon Monday was a matter of good fortune — the Marathon finish line’s medical tents are staffed by world renowned doctors, nurses, and EMTs and the Boston’s trauma centers are nearby– remarkable teamwork and preparation also contributed to positive outcomes. Dr. Conn is no stranger to emergency management; he’s been with the Emergency Department at Massachusetts General Hospital for about 25 years. In that time, he’s seen disaster management plans develop and change to reflect lessons learned from local and national disasters. He explains that especially after September 11th, Boston’s hospitals worked on drills such as Operation Prometheus and trained with Israeli doctors to be ready for a city-wide emergency. Despite the training, Dr. Conn recalled the shock of the day: “somebody asked me, ‘Have you seen injuries like this before?’ We’d seen certainly very severe injuries, but it was one at a time or two at a time. I’d never seen that number of severely injured patients all at once.”

Dr. Conn attributes the healing success to teamwork in addition to preparation. He explains that saving lives “is a team sport and in order to function we need to really function together,” and “we’d all trained for it. It worked like clockwork.” The emergency department was cleared, doctors, nurses, orderlies, administrative staff, and others, came together as a team to assess the injured and properly treat them. Although not every move went well (the hospital misidentified a patient), the good and the bad are all part of lessons learned. Dr. Conn believes “they’re using the Boston Marathon to update and change the disaster plan for many major cities…That to me is the big change.” It’s an important change, because “every community needs to be prepared, and the public needs to be prepared as well.”

To read the full interview, see: http://collections.countway.harvard.edu/onview/items/show/13060

View contributions or add your story to Strong Medicine, please visit: http://countway.harvard.edu/strongmedicine

Please direct any questions or comments to Strong Medicine Project Coordinator Joan Ilacqua.

Strong Medicine is You

Strong Medicine is a digital archive of the stories, photographs, and other media created by the medical community in response to the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing and its aftermath. We urge you to take a moment to reflect upon last year and submit a record of your experience to Strong Medicine. Contribute to Strong Medicine here:http://countway.harvard.edu/strongmedicine

Some of us ran that day; some were at the finish line; others were working in the hospitals as the injured arrived or when the lock down occurred. Some of us were at home frustrated and worrying about our friends and family who might have been in harm’s way. Wherever you were that day and in the days following, your viewpoint as a medical student, health professional, or support staff person was influenced by your role in the medical community. We are seeking your stories because you experienced Marathon Monday and its aftermath in unique and personal ways.

Every story is important. We want to hear yours.

By submitting your stories for Strong Medicine, you are creating a resource useful for medical education, disaster management training and response, historical research, and other purposes yet unrealized. Strong Medicine offers Bostonians and people around the world a glimpse into our remarkable medical community, helping them to remember, reflect, and heal.

 

Please send any comments or questions to Joan Ilacqua, Strong Medicine Project Coordinator, at Joan_Ilacqua@hms.harvard.edu.

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