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Visit: History of Medicine Lectures

2016

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  • 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A

    “In the Belly of the Beast: A History of Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health”

    Eric W. Boyle, PhD, Chief Archivist, National Museum of Health and Medicine, Silver Spring, MD

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    In this presentation, Dr. Boyle will provide an overview of his current book project. The story he will tell begins in earnest in 1991, the same year that Time proclaimed the “New Age of Alternative Medicine.” That year, a Senate Appropriations Committee responsible for the budget of the National Institutes of Health reported that it was not satisfied that the mainstream medical community had fully explored the potential that existed in unconventional medical practices. In response, Congress mandated the creation of an unprecedented new office to investigate, evaluate, and validate unconventional health care systems and practices. The original Office for the Study of Unconventional Medical Practices, the renamed Office of Alternative Medicine, subsequently the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), and today the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) have all sought to obtain and disseminate knowledge about alternative medicine to practitioners and the public. But as one advocate and practitioner of alternative medicine noted at a strategic planning session for NCCAM in September 2009, the challenges of studying CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) at the NIH might be likened to working “in the belly of the beast.” While skeptics have doubted the feasibility of this kind of research, practitioner-advocates have persistently warned about the dangers of alternative medicine being swallowed whole by the research behemoth. The central question of “In the Belly of the Beast” is: how did the NIH meet its multifaceted mandate, and how did it tackle the challenges of investigating the field while addressing the priorities and demands of its harshest critics and most sympathetic supporters?

    Dr. Boyle’s presentation is co-sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, and the Office of NIH History.

    Read an Interview with Dr. Boyle on Circulating Now

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  • 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A

    Future Historical Collections: Archiving the 2014 Ebola Outbreak

    Christie Moffatt, Archivist & Manager, Digital Manuscripts Program National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland

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    When future researchers look back at the recent Ebola outbreak, what resources will they want to explore? What will they want to know? Of the news and information about Ebola that is still being created and shared digitally over the web, what will remain to be examined one, ten, or even fifty years from now? Public health information, first hand experiences, and news about global health events like Ebola are shared moment by moment on websites, blogs, Twitter, YouTube, and more, documenting the personal, national, and international response to the outbreak. This content about the human experience of disease remains in a constant state of change and at high risk for loss. The original intent of these resources is to share news and information—and reaction to this news and information—about the crisis in real time, but it is also likely that this content will have enduring value as historical resources for the future study and understanding of the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

    This presentation will spotlight the development of the National Library of Medicine’s Ebola web archive collection, which has grown since October 2014 when the library took the initiative to capture and preserve selected born-digital web content documenting the 2014 Ebola outbreak. The collection reflects a diversity of perspectives on this health crisis and includes websites and social media from Government and non-government organizations, journalists, healthcare workers, and scientists in the United States and around the world. The presentation will cover how Library staff selected this content and continues to grow the collection, how the collection fits within NLM’s larger web archiving efforts and collection development policy, and how this collecting effort overall advances the objectives of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance, of which the Library is a partner.

    This lecture will be live-streamed globally, and subsequently archived, by NIH VideoCasting.

    Read an Interview with Christie Moffatt on Circulating Now

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  • The Analog Patient: Imagining Medicine at a Distance in the Television Era

    Jeremy Greene, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine and History, Elizabeth Treide and A. McGehee Harvey Chair in the History of Medicine, Institute of the History of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

    11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. in the Ruth L. Kirschstein Auditorium, Natcher Conference Center, NIH Building 45

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    Most histories of medical technology focus on heroic diagnostic and therapeutic innovations—like X-rays and artificial hearts—which stand as visible symbols of medical modernity. Dr. Greene’s research is focused on recapturing how more mundane technologies of communication enabled and altered the production, circulation, and consumption of medical knowledge, from telegraph to text pager, telephone to telemedicine, fax machine to Facebook.

    In this presentation, Dr. Greene examines the particular hopes and fears surrounding the incorporation of the television into medicine. His interest here is not to study the historical representation of medicine on television shows from Marcus Welby to House M.D., but instead to ask how the television became recruited as a new high-tech tool for clinical practice, medical research, and physician education, to explore how the television was briefly situated at the center of attempts to create visual networks of medical knowledge, linking providers and patients in dreams of a “wired nation” several decades before the creation of the internet. The setting is the 20 year period between 1959 and 1979, where hopes and fears for networked televisions—specifically prompted through new technological systems like satellite transmission and the cable system—became grounds for hopes and fears of a new group of technological futurists in medicine, including tele psychiatry activists in the Midwest, Picturephone promoters in the South Side of Chicago, and would be media theorists practicing at Harvard teaching hospitals.

    Dr. Greene’s presentation is part of his current research project, Medicine at a Distance, which examines how changing expectations of instantaneous communications through electric, electronic, and digital media transformed the nature of medical knowledge and also constitutes the keynote address of Images & Texts in Medical History: A Workshop in Methods, Tools, & Data from the Digital Humanities, a program hosted by the NLM, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and made possible through a multi-institutional collaboration involving the NEH, Virginia Tech, the Wellcome Library, and the Wellcome Trust.

    This lecture will be live-streamed globally, and subsequently archived, by NIH VideoCasting.

    Read an Interview with Dr. Greene on Circulating Now

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  • 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A

    The Origins and Evolution of the Mayo Clinic from 1864 to 1939: A Minnesota Family Practice Becomes an International ‘Medical Mecca’

    W. Bruce Fye, MD, MA, Emeritus Professor of Medicine and the History of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

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    This presentation will describe the origins and international impact of the Mayo Clinic through 1939, the year that William J. and Charles H. Mayo died. Multispecialty group practice was invented at Mayo at the beginning of the twentieth century. A visiting Canadian surgeon wrote in 1906, “Specialization and cooperation, with the best that can be had in each department, is here the motto. Cannot these principles be tried elsewhere?” Dr. Fye will address the Mayo Clinic’s major (and underappreciated) role in the development of rigorous postgraduate (specialty) training. Unlike traditional academic medical centers that emphasize research, Mayo’s main mission has always been patient care. This patient-centered activity has been undertaken in an environment enriched by extensive programs devoted to specialty training and clinical research. The clinic’s long-standing culture of collaboration is cited as one of the key ingredients of its success.

    This lecture will be live-streamed globally, and subsequently archived, by NIH VideoCasting.

    Read an Interview with Dr. Fye on Circulating Now

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  • 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A

    “International Big Data Research in the Humanities & Social Sciences: Collaboration, Opportunity, and Outcomes”

    Brett Bobley, Director, Office of Digital Humanities, National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, DC

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    In 2009, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) launched a new, international research competition called the Digging into Data Challenge. The program aimed to bring together interdisciplinary teams to explore how big data approaches in research could be brought to bear on questions of the humanities and social sciences. Since the launch of the program, Digging into Data grantees have explored how large databases of digital music, images, and texts can be examined computationally in pursuit of humanistic questions. The program has grown enormously in scale and is currently sponsored by sixteen international funders, including the NEH, National Science Foundation, and the Institute for Library and Museum Services in the United States, and research organizations from ten other nations. Join the NEH’s Director, Office of Digital Humanities, Brett Bobley, as he provides an overview of Digging into Data, and discusses its intersections with medical research, joint activities with NLM, and other digital humanities endeavors at the NEH.

    The National Endowment for the Humanities is an executive-branch, independent grant-making agency of the United States of America dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities and in those social sciences that use humanistic methods. NEH accomplishes this mission by providing grants for high-quality humanities projects to cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television and radio stations, and to individual scholars.

    In August 2015, the NLM and the NEH reaffirmed their partnership, originally established in 2012, and following on the visit of NEH Chairman William D. Adams to the NLM, to continue to develop initiatives that bring together specialists from the humanities, medicine, and information sciences to share expertise and develop new research agendas.

    Learn more about the collaboration between the NLM and the NEH from:
    Interagency Collaboration: Synergy for the Greater Good,The Public Manager, July 2016, co-authored by Bobley and Jeffrey S. Reznick, Chief, NLM History of Medicine Division,
    Images & Texts in Medical History, a series of posts on the NLM History of Medicine Division’s blog Circulating Now.

    This lecture will be live-streamed globally, and subsequently archived, by NIH VideoCasting.

    Read an Interview with Dr. Fye on Circulating Now

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  • 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in Lipsett Auditorium, Building 10 on the NIH Campus

    “A Personal Perspective on Race, Opportunity and the U.S. Health System”

    Louis W. Sullivan, MD, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, 1989–1993

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    In this presentation, Dr. Sullivan relates his life story, growing up in rural Georgia during the period of legally-sanctioned and enforced racial segregation and the impact it had on him, his family, and on the black community.

    He was inspired to become a physician when, at age 5, he met the only black physician in Southwest Georgia.

    After becoming a hematologist and professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, he went on to found the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, followed by an appointment as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in the administration of George H.W. Bush.

    Dr. Sullivan developed a number of initiatives to increase racial, ethnic and gender diversity in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and in the nation’s health workforce.

    Throughout his career, Sullivan has worked to improve the effectiveness of the U.S. health system, and the diversity of its workforce. The elimination of disparities in health care, which exists between whites and the nation’s underserved minorities is an on-going priority of Dr. Sullivan. Progress to-date and remaining challenges will be discussed.

    This lecture will be live-streamed globally, and subsequently archived, by NIH VideoCasting.

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  • 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A

    “Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America”

    Psyche Williams-Forson, PhD, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of American Studies, University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD

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    What stories can meals tell us about people and places? Meals can tell us how power is exchanged between and among different peoples, races, genders, and classes.

    In the Chesapeake region, during the early colonial era, European settlers survived by relying upon indentured servants, Native Americans, and African slave labor for life-saving knowledge of farming and food acquisition. Without this knowledge, Europeans suffered poor nutrition, in addition to widespread illness caused by the lack of medical care.

    Despite their perilous position, the colonists used human resources, the natural environment, and maritime trade to gain economic prosperity.

    But it is through the labor of slaves that we can learn about the ways that meals transcend taste and sustenance. Dr. Williams-Forson’s lecture will examine how these factors interacted, affecting all sides, a subject further highlighted by a new special display in the History of Medicine Division entitled: Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America, a project developed with research assistance provided by staff at The Washington Library at George Washington’ Mount Vernon.

    This lecture will be live-streamed globally, and subsequently archived, by NIH VideoCasting.

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