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NLM to Hold First Annual Michael E. DeBakey Lecture in the History of Medicine on Tuesday, March 21 (Corrected Date)

March 14, 2017

The NLM invites you to attend the first annual Michael E. DeBakey Lecture in the History of Medicine, a program made possible by a generous gift to the NLM by the Michael E. DeBakey Medical Foundation.

All are welcome to attend to learn about the legacy of Michael E. DeBakey in modern medical practice and in the ongoing public service of the National Library of Medicine.

The program will take place on Tuesday, March 21, beginning at 2pm ET in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38a on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland, simultaneously webcast by NIH Videocasting, and subsequently archived for future viewing.

Speakers will include:

  • Shelley McKellar, PhD, The Jason A. Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine, Associate Professor with Joint Appointment with the Department of Surgery, Western University, Canada, who will offer a presentation entitled: ""Intentional Impact:" The Legacy of Michael E. DeBakey Beyond the Operating Room"
  • George P. Noon, MD, Professor of Surgery, Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine, who will offer a presentation entitled "A Brief Look at Michael E. DeBakey's Role in Establishing the National Library of Medicine as It Is Today"

Michael E. DeBakey (1908-2008) was a legendary American surgeon, educator, medical statesman, and one of most stalwart supporters of the National Library of Medicine. During a career spanning 75 years, his work transformed cardiovascular surgery, raised medical education standards, and informed national health care policy. He pioneered dozens of operative procedures such as aneurysm repair, coronary bypass, and endarterectomy, which routinely save thousands of lives each year, and performed some of the first heart transplants. His inventions included the roller pump (a key component of heart-lung machines) as well as artificial hearts and ventricular assist pumps. He was a driving force in building Houston's Baylor University College of Medicine into a premier medical center, where he trained several generations of top surgeons from all over the world.

Dr. DeBakey played a pivotal role in the creation of the National Library of Medicine in the 1950s, and in the establishment of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine in the 1960s. As a visionary member and chair of the NLM Board of Regents and several other NLM advisory panels, DeBakey made countless contributions to the Library which live on today.

Twitter users can follow this event at #NLMHistTalk.

A reception, sponsored by the Friends of the NLM, will follow the program, which is part of the NLM History of Medicine Division's 2017 lecture series.

Learn more about Dr. DeBakey, his work, and his accomplishments at NLM's Profiles in Science Web site and in this post on the NLM History of Medicine Division's blog, Circulating Now.

Ten men in suits pose indoors, DeBakey stands second from the right in the rear

Michael E. DeBakey (rear row, second from right), among fellow honorary consultants to the Army Medical Library, 1950. Six years later, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation that transferred to the Library to the U.S. Public Health Service, renamed it the National Library of Medicine, and paved the way for it to located in Bethesda, Maryland, on the campus of the National Institutes of Health.

Courtesy National Library of Medicine

Sixteen men and a woman in suits pose in a boardroom, DeBakey stands fourth from the right

Michael E. DeBakey (rear row, fourth from right), among fellow members of the NLM Board of Regents, during its first meeting, held on March 20, 1957. The meeting took place at the Army Medical Library, known as the "Old Red Brick," located on Independence Avenue, on the National Mall, in Washington, DC. DeBakey was one of the most influential advocates for moving the Library to the campus of the National Institutes of Health.

DeBakey ME.  The National Library of Medicine. Evolution of a premier information center. JAMA. 1991 Sep 4;266(9):1252-8.

The NLM is authorized to accept donations in support of its mission.

Established in 1961 by Michael E. DeBakey, the DeBakey Medical Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and advancing medical education and evidence-based biomedical research, with the ultimate goal of improving healthcare.


The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is a leader in research in biomedical informatics and data science and the world’s largest biomedical library. NLM conducts and supports research in methods for recording, storing, retrieving, preserving, and communicating health information. NLM creates resources and tools that are used billions of times each year by millions of people to access and analyze molecular biology, biotechnology, toxicology, environmental health, and health services information. Additional information is available at

Last Reviewed: March 14, 2017