Fostering Public Participation, Not Just Reception

It is a common misconception that the responsibility for the wellbeing of our community lies entirely on public health professionals. As part of the common public, we often demand improvements in healthcare policies, resources and information in the mindset of a recipient. It is this one-way, “receiving” mentality that often hinders maximum efficiency of public health campaigns. Often, the public health campaigns will need the general public to contribute toward the projects, examples of which include blood drives, demanding blood donors, and disease prevention, calling for the public’s change in practice. Not only that, there can be many regional and racial limitations imposed through certain ways of delivering the need for participation. Such limitations arise from the context in which the information is presented as well as the accessibility of the medium. In other words, it is crucial to implement the need for active participation and a culture that creates a “dialogue” in needs of public health throughout all the different subsets of the population in order to achieve maximum campaign efficiency.

By targeting the managers of public health campaigns, we strive to shift the atmosphere of public health from a one-way delivery of information for a small subset of the population toward a widespread dialogue between the people and the public health officials. We will ultimately address the fact that calling forth action from a larger population in a nondiscriminatory manner will maximize public health campaign efficacy.

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Current range of KUHF radio transmittance (https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/news887/ways-to-listen/)

To do so, our project will evaluate the efficacy of Passing in Review’s instigation of public participation for MD Anderson’s newly opened Blood Bank. Aired on KPRC radio in Houston, 1946, Passing in Review can be taken as an example of an attempt to increase public participation in public health issues. In particular, we will be analyzing the broadcast on two levels: we will firstly dissect how the need for blood donors was presented and secondly investigate the accessibility of the broadcast by different racial, socioeconomic and gender groups. For example, Passing in Review presented blood donation as painless and easily do-able through interviews with experienced donors. It also specifically called for women participants, specifying the similarities and differences in male and female donors. Doing so expands the target audience of the campaign from just males to both males and females. However, the intrinsic nature of 1940’s radiobroadcast spoken in English limits the audience to Houston’s wealthy, English-speaking population that owned radios, and did not have work late on Friday nights. This is a possible critique for Passing in Review’s campaigning efficiency. As such, analyzing the positive and negative aspects of the broadcast in expanding the population for blood donors will ultimately help us to pinpoint out what needs to be improved in regards to widening the range of participants.

Our project, keeping in mind that our audience is public health campaign managers, will take the form of a formal presentation, proposing what needs to be improved in the delivery of campaigns. We will also have websites and pamphlets ready to give out to these officials to further enhance accessibility to our guidelines on how to increase public participation. To effectively do so, we will research how accessible the Passing in Review broadcast was towards the different ethnic and socioeconomic groups and its resulting change in blood donation participants. This information can possibly be found through other archival records on increase in blood donors. We will pay special attention to what groups of individuals decided to donate their blood (we predict the majority to be of upper-class, Caucasian males). We will also research the campaigning methods utilized by current blood drives to point out what aspect of it, specifically, can be ineffective in reaching a broader audience, and how it can be improved. Such information can be found through public health campaigns found in various forms themselves including websites, pamphlets and radio broadcasts.

Encouraging Underrepresented Groups to Pursue Health Sciences

My group was assigned the Texas Women’s Histories archive. In that archive are a variety of different interviews from women at the Texas Medical Center who are or have been nurses, doctors, or scientists of some sort. For our particular project, my group chose to focus on two particular women, with the goal of highlighting the need for diversity in medicine. The interviewees we chose were Dr. Lu Ann Aday, a Ph. D. who focuses on sociology and public health, and Dr. Ritsu Komaki, a radiation oncologist working at MD Anderson who originates from Japan. With the interviews of these two extraordinary women, we hope to illuminate how their gender and different ethnic, cultural, and social backgrounds have contributed to their view of medicine and public health, and how this difference could be applied elsewhere. Continue reading

Diderot’s Anatomie: What Do We Know About Our Health?

The archive our project covers is Diderot’s Anatomie, one part of Diderot’s Encyclopédie written between 1751 and 1772 in France. Diderot’s Anatomie represents a turning point in health literacy among the common French. Rather than being written in Latin, the language of the well-educated and wealthy, Anatomie was written in French, the language of the common people. Before Anatomie, the common person did not have access to knowledge about their own health.

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Image from Anatomie (http://artflux.uchicago.edu)

We will open up our archive by placing within the context of history, documenting the public’s awareness of health before, during, and after Anatomie was published. We have chosen to place Anatomie in the context of history because of the precedent set by Encyclopédie in common access to knowledge. For our research, we will primarily books and articles that describe the public’s awareness of health from various eras in history. When researching for information relating to modern public health literacy, we will likely turn to websites such as WebMD and the Mayo Clinic website. Such sources provide insight into how drastically health literacy has changed since the Enlightenment. Whereas knowledge was once scarce, the average American now has virtually unlimited amounts of information through which to sift. Our project will explore the implications of a universal access to health knowledge and its relationship with historical documents such as Encyclopédia.

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Image from Anatomie (http://artflux.uchicago.edu)

To honor Diderot’s step toward commonplace public health literacy, my group’s project will revolve around the idea of accessible knowledge to all. In order to emulate Diderot’s impact, we have chosen to create a website that will document history and news relevant to the public’s access to health knowledge. We decided that a website would best represent the goal of accessibility because of the integration of the internet into our everyday lives. Whereas the common people of 18th century France shared the French language, many of today’s “common people” have access to the resources the internet provides. Furthermore, our targeted audience for our website will be high school and college students in an academic setting as a resource for research and general interest. The structure of our project as a website will be especially impactful for this audience because of technology’s integration into to everyday lives of today’s young adults. Our audience will benefit from being placed within the context of history, as an active part of the public’s evolving health literacy.

 

The Encyclopédie: the 18th Century’s Internet

Our group’s project is to assess the importance of Denis Diderot’s Encyclopédie on health and medicine. More specifically, we are concerned about the anatomy section. Because the section is in French, our group decided to focus less on the actual book and more on its consequences. The purpose of our project is to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the Encyclopédie‘s democratization of medical knowledge and relate our findings to our current age in which the internet plays an important role. We intend to use a website to showcase our findings because a website is the most common way people find information today. This relates to our archival material because in the 18th Century, people turned to books for the same purpose.

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Anatomie made it easy for people to understand anatomy.

We want to target doctors and public officials in charge of dealing with public health. By informing our audience about the positive and negative aspects about making knowledge more accessible, we can help them make more effective choices regarding policy. For example, doctors and officials need to understand that posting warnings about disease on the internet can inform a society, but excessive or poorly thought out warnings can incite panic. By linking today’s choices to historical events, officials will have a better sense of what the best decision is and will do a better job of keeping society healthy.

 

Our project led us to our research topic because the Encyclopédie is one of the first instances in which common people gained access to knowledge that was previously reserved for the elite. Naturally, such a drastic change in the status quo was met with resistance, which led to the Encyclopédie’s ban. Today, misinformation is rampant because of the ease with which information can spread, and this complicates our understanding of public health. Instead of being a top-down system in which medical knowledge flows from researchers and scholars, the internet acts as a highway for information. For public health officials, finding a balance between the historical and current models of information transfer is of critical importance in promoting health.

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Sites like WebMD make it easy to self-diagnose. However,such websites also allow people making an incorrect diagnosis.E

Because we are not using the anatomy section directly, our group will be researching the political, social, and health aspects of societies both in the 18th Century and in current society. We will be using books and articles that deal with specific time periods and issues so that we can get the details of each of these topics.

Passing in Review: Seeking Full Participation

For many people, public health seems to be an esoteric topic that falls under the responsibility of government officials and scientists. However, public health issues today, such as Ebola and Zika prevention, and campaigns against obesity, drug overdose and antibiotic misuse, require the full participation of entire populations and not just a small segment of them. From Passing in Review’s public announcement on blood bank donations in April 1946 to Joe Biden’s powerful address on the Cancer Moonshot at Rice just a month ago, all effective public health campaigns are tied together under the common theme of unity in participation. My question is: how does a public health entity craft a campaign that is able to incorporate as many people as possible into participating in important and urgent public health issues?

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Public health issues affect us all, no matter what our background or status is in our community. Image from: http://www.phrei.org/core_epidemiology.html

I believe the best way to answer this question is by producing a teaching module geared towards public health leaders of various campaigns that have not been able to reach a large portion of the population. From my group’s analysis of our archive from 1946, we decided that the strengths of the public announcement included a hospitable description of the environment, a didactic and supportive tone, and inclusivity with regards towards women donors. Also, the public announcement included an authority figure in Dr. E. W. Bertner, the acting director of M.D. Anderson Hospital and the first president of the Texas Medical Center, giving an informative talk on the history of the Texas Medical Center and on the importance of cancer clinics. (archive.org) However, one weakness may be that the first part of the recording is overly formal and seems staged, and should be more candid. Our group will have to do research on the effectiveness of the radio broadcast by assessing blood bank engagement after the announcement from various demographic criteria such as race, sexual orientation, age, and socioeconomic status.

Surely, most people have been affected, or at least heard of cancer, but what about roundworm, river blindness, or elephantiasis? These are three of the seven Neglected Tropical Diseases that one in six people in that world are diagnosed with, and require public attention and participation. (END7) My proposal is to create a website on general guidelines for designing public health campaigns, and an exemplary video created by our group on the 7 Neglected Tropical Diseases that incorporates all of the guidelines.

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It is important for public health authorities and officials to be able to empower an entire population to participate in their initiatives. Image from: https://www.coursera.org/learn/epidemiology

 

An effective public health campaign should keep everyone updated and informed on pressing aspects of the issue, provide simple yet powerful ways for ordinary citizens to get involved, and should not discriminate or favor one particular segment of the population. This project has the potential to help public health officials in incorporating entire populations in various public health movements, which would be critical in alleviating future international health issues and crises.

Works Cited:

“Why NTDs? Help End 7 Diseases and Lessen Suffering for over ½ a Billion Kids in the Developing World” End7. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.

“Passing in Review, M. D. Anderson Hospital Blood Bank, 1946 : Texas Medical Center Library : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive.” Internet Archive. Archive.org, n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.

“Core Strengths – Epidemiology.” Pacific Health Research and Education Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.

Yeatts, Karin, Dr., and Lorraine Alexander, Dr. “Epidemiology: The Basic Science of Public Health.” Coursera. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.

Artificial Heart: Balancing Ethics, Policy, and Medical Research

Our archive is a collection of newspaper and magazine photographs and articles describing the development and first transplant of the artificial heart by Dr. Denton Cooley. We hope to focus on the aspect of following institutional and governmental rules and regulations in regards to conducting clinical trials and performing experimental procedures.

We have chosen to target our project at students studying public health policy. For example, Rice has a program of studies dedicated to public health management, which can be found here. We believe our archive would benefit these students by providing information about the multifaceted nature of public health policy. We hope our archive can reveal different perspectives on how to balance ethics, policy, and research to provide the most supportive environment for producing advancements in medicine.

Intersection of medicine and law (cambridgemedicine.wordpress.com)

Our project is important because the government and medical institutions play a large role in deciding what types of medical research should be funded and what types of medical research should be discontinued or hindered. Dr. Denton Cooley was able to successfully perform the first artificial heart transplant by disregarding federal regulations and hiding his research from his colleagues at the Baylor College of Medicine. Did his success justify his disregard for protocol? Were his actions ethical from a philosophical perspective? How can the government make policy that ensures ethical practice but does not hinder important medical research that can be used to improve public health practices? These are questions that our archive provides perspective into and can hopefully inspire policy studies majors.

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Medical World News article about Dr. Cooley’s unauthorized transplant (Image taken at McGovern Historical Center)

We chose to present our archive in the form of an informative website because students will be able to have direct access to primary sources taking the form of videos, photographs, and articles. A website is the most accessible for students and allows students to reference the material easily during their studies.

We will need to conduct further research into the atmosphere of government regulation of medical research during the time that Dr. Cooley performed his transplant, by analyzing the material in our archive. We can also research how government regulation either protects public health or hinders medical research today by consulting with medical practitioners and professors and finding journal articles written about the topic. We can research how our archive can fit into the curriculum of policy studies majors by talking to current majors and professors.

 

Total War Against the Zombies: It was worth.

Humanity’s war against the zombie epidemic was unlike any other war. All other wars that we had encountered in the past had been operated by humans. And human soldiers needed to be “bred, fed and led” (Brooks 271). Zombies, on the other hard, did not have to be bred, fed and led. They were programmed to infect the human population, did not need arms to do so, and did not need food to survive. Even if we declared “total war” where every one of us would “commit every second of [our] lives to victory”, such victory would undeniably be in jeopardy. Adding to this very inherent fact that the zombies had the upper hand, General D’Ambrosia suggests that the very idea of a total war itself is flawed on two levels; it is physically impossible to have every citizen working for the war, all the time and as humans, we had “emotional and physiological breaking point[s]” (273). As humans, there is a limit to enduring sacrifices and mental and physical suffering. How, then, could we fight off the zombies without support from every citizen, every waking moment?

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Accurate depiction of emotional distress on war ground with zombie attacks. (Image from http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-228544301)

As the war against the undead is carried out, the readers clearly see such emotional and physiological breaking points. For example, Father Sergei Rykhov narrates the tremendous levels of mental stress that comes with dealing with infected soldiers on the war ground. Once infected, someone had to kill his comrade. Someone had to kill a friend “whom [they] fought with side by side, shared break and blankets” (295). When the responsibility is placed on the field commanders, they ultimately end up committing suicide. In other words, the declaration of war between humans and zombies creates a sense of camaraderie between the soldiers. Unlike how Rat Face simply shot the girl that had become a zombie with complete emotional detachment, the “us against them” mentality inherent in a war made the bitten soldiers ‘an infected friend’ rather than ‘then human, now zombie’ (79). In such ways, the war against zombies clearly brings about emotional breaking points. Not only that, the traditional methods of fighting off zombies was completely ineffective. The boobie traps, for example, was completely useless in that the soldiers “wanted them upright and easy to spot, not crawling around the weeds waiting to be stepped on like land mines themselves” (324). As such, the war was a completely unfamiliar kind with completely different species with huge emotional commitment and distress.

So is it worth it? Are all the lost soldiers and emotional breaking points worth going against the zombies for? If I was head of state in World War Z, I would have voted yes. Yes, the war against zombies was a huge risk. But yes, we had to. Had we not gone to war with the zombies, the uncertainty of whether the zombie did, in fact, completely die off would have persisted. Simply waiting for the decomposition of the zombies would have put us at risk of running out of resources. In a few years, even the safe zones, isolated from zombies could end up like “barricaded zones [with] nothing but rat-gnawed skeletons…that fell to starvation or disease” (325). The citizens of such barricaded zones that Todd’s army encountered had indeed fallen victim to the depletion of resources. There is no denying that this could have easily been the world’s future had they simply waited for zombies to die off. Not only that, it is revealed that the zombies were incredibly resilient. According to Michael Choi, the zombies underwater were there and functional – withstanding the saltwater and pressure. Clearly, it would have taken a long while for such hardy zombies to die off. Not only that, the depletion of resources would have generated a sense of uncertainty. Without the citizens’ trust in the government, a healthy economy cannot be run as Arthur Sinclair underscores in his interview (337). Thus the safe zones would have failed resource-wise and, on top of that, economy-wise.

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Propaganda against communism that reads “After total war can come total living” a slogan which also rings true to the humans’ fight against the zombies.(Image from http://www.openculture.com/2014/11/the-red-menace-a-striking-gallery-of-anti-communist-propaganda.html)

            Declaration of World War Z, with all its losses, was nonetheless necessary. Such waiting and build up of uncertainty was avoided. As Todd recollects, it was “finally the beginning of the end” (282). Despite the emotional and physical suffering that the war generated, it did not lead the society to go into uncertain periods of starvation and economic turmoil. Not only that, the war itself was driven by people who did not simply strive to be the next “heroes” but people who were motivated to save the human race. We see this through Todd’s reaction to the zoomies outside of Omaha. He says “they were actually living better than us, fresh chow, hot showers, soft beds. It almost felt like we were being rescued” (321). He is simply reassured that some “people he liberated”, as phrased by the interviewer, were surviving and were doing well. Todd did not hold the arrogance that he had “liberated them”. Todd simply worked to save the human race by clearing safe zones—it was his role in the total war. As such, towards the end of the novel, the idea of “total war” is redefined by “the Whako”. Whako says that “everybody’s gotta pitch in and do their job” and tells the tree that it is “doin’ a good job”. In other words, the “role” that one plays to pitch into the war need not be huge and heroic. It is the sense of pulling the community together emotionally that we are responsible for preserving. That is the role that the common civilians play in total war, and that is how a ‘total war’ state can be achieved. Thus, as head of state, I would have voted ‘yes’ to go to war against the zombies.

Works Cited

Brooks, Max. “The Great Panic.” World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. New York: Crown, 2006. 79. Print.

Disease Z: Epidemiology Perspective of World War Z

Prevention is better than a cure. This single idea is perhaps the most important realization of the 20th century and as the basis for public health measures including hygienic practices, infrastructure, vaccinations, and disease prevention, has likely saved millions of lives. Included in this idea are two main components. First, we are more effective working together. Second, early action is key. In World War Z the Honolulu Conference discusses whether to take an aggressive approach against the zombie outbreak or conserve resources in a stable present state. If we frame the Honolulu Conference as a gathering of epidemiologists rather than as a war council, we can more easily understand how taking immediate action against the epidemic will ultimately yield better long term results for the survival of the human race.

Diseases require very specific, customized preventative responses. Treating the zombie outbreak similar to a human war is completely useless. “There were no logistics lines to sever, no depots to destroy. You couldn’t just surround and starve them out” (Brooks 272). The zombie epidemic is unique and the human response must be custom-tailored for the disease. The zombies cannot be simply outlasted in the short term. Many tactics of warfare prove ineffective in this case, which suggests that the method that must be employed is more similar to a public health program that recognizes the uniqueness of a disease.

There are parallels between war and epidemiology. First strike in both are considered smart and effective strategies to achieve victory. However, the particularities of World War Z fit better with characteristics of many diseases that plague humans today. Cancer, like the zombie outbreak, is a disease in which humanity has had to seriously consider a unique way of tackling the disease. The struggle continues and we must constantly discover new ways to get rid of our zombies to save humanity.

Brooks, Max. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. New York: Crown, 2006. Print.

“Shhh…baby. I won’t let them get you.”

The windows broke, the windows in the front next to the door. The lights got black. Grown-ups got scared. They screamed.

[Her voice returns to her mother’s.] ‘Shhhh . . . baby. I won’t let them get you.’ [Her hands go from her hair to her face, gently stroking her forehead and cheeks. Sharon gives Kelner a questioning look. Kelner nods. Sharon’s voice suddenly simulates the sound of something large breaking, a deep phlegm-filled rumble from the bottom of her throat.]’They’re coming in! Shoot ’em, shoot ’em!’ [She makes the sound of gunfire then…] ‘I won’t let them get you, I won’t let them get you.’ (Brooks 75)

As an audience that has never been in a war, the war scene is perhaps difficult to “experience”, second-hand. Sure, there are plenty of images and videos to supplement our surface-level visualization of war. However, the emotional engagement, or lack thereof, in war is difficult to sympathize with, much less a zombie war.

The psychological effect that Max Brooks paints through Sharon is pivotal in the readers’ understanding of the threatening situation. Brooks effectively conveys the stupefied state of Sharon as she encounters the zombies, and absorbs the scene. Further, the juxtaposition between the hectic and dire zombie war ground and the emotional composure of Sharon’s mother helps to highlight the perseverance of love and human connection. In effect, Brooks presents an overarching theme of disease outbreak simultaneously breaking and strengthening human-to-human bonds (as mentioned in class while discussing Wald’s Contagious).

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Oil Painting by Milano titled Afghan Girl. Though not Afghani, Sharon had red hair and green eyes. The artwork accurately reflects Sharon’s petrified eyes, absorbing the scene of the zombie attack.

To characterize Sharon in her stupefied state, Brooks uses word choice that underscores Sharon’s perceptiveness, but with detached tone. For example, instead of saying, “The lights turned off”, Sharon says, “The lights got black” (Brooks 75). This suggests that Sharon was perceiving the situations, and that all her senses were apt, but that she was too disoriented to process her observations. A similar way of communication is seen in the paragraph preceding the passage in which Sharon says, “They [, the zombies] came bigger” instead of “They came nearer” (75). Not only that, throughout the passage, Sharon excludes her own feelings and emotions about the zombie attack. She mentions that the “Grown-ups got scared. They screamed” but does not once say that she was scared or worried. Perhaps the entire situation was too overwhelming for Sharon to process her own emotions towards the situation. Humans, at high levels of stress, tend to shut off our emotive responses. Through the seemingly apathetic recollection of the attack, however, the readers nonetheless see Sharon’s emotional vulnerability. She constantly strokes herself, as her mother had, displaying her desperate seek for consolation. Such repeated motions throughout the passage highlight Sharon’s lasting trauma from the zombie attack. Through Sharon’s stupefied and distraught characterization, Brooks ultimately places the readers in the victims’ shoes—helping the readers to empathize with the psychological effect of the zombie attack.

While the spoken dialogue of Sharon functions to display the psychological effects of war, her animate retelling of the attack helps to build tension in the experience. In particular, Brook’s use of syntax in the beginning of the passage underscores this fact. The sentences get shorter and shorter as the zombie attack climaxes. The shorter sentences have an effect of ‘short-breathed-ness’ while reading, highlighting the urgency and fear embedded in the scene. Alarming and repeated phrases of “Shoot ‘em! Shoot ‘em!” add such sense of urgency (75). Another phrase numerously repeated throughout passage, however, is “I won’t let ‘em get you”. The contrasting phrases of the panicky “Shoot ‘em!” and the determined “I won’t let ‘em get you” serve to highlight the perseverance of love, even in the face of a zombie war (75). The juxtaposition between the threat and the composure underlying “I won’t let ‘em get you” enhances the idea of tenacity in a mother.

While discussing Wald’s Contagious, it was interesting to note that disease outbreak can separate people, wanting to avoid contact with the infected, but also conjoin people, a communion created by the desire to escape the illness, together. This passage is an example of how, in the face of fear and threat, such sense of communion and common desire to flee can spring from a disease outbreak. In other parts of the book however, Brooks also presents the selfishness of individuals at the face of disease. Because of disease, people would flee to desolate lands such as Alaska or Antarctica. Because of the disease outbreak, people would take advantage of the widespread fear and reap financial benefits. In such ways, disease propagates both human connections and betrayal and isolation.

Artwork:

Milano. Afghan Girl. N.d. Web Gallery. N.p.

Looking Back to Move Forward

People often regard the field of science to be a study heavily focused on innovation: developing a treatment method better than the previous, building a device more effective than the previous, and doing research more groundbreaking than the previous. Inevitably, researchers are always looking to pump out studies to publish—“new” and “revolutionary”. Perhaps this “innovative” aspect of science that pushes us to be ever more forward-thinking may, in other cases, hinder us from appreciating the work that we, as a community of scientists, have accomplished. Trying to build on the most recent model of “best method”, often the models from years to decades ago can get chucked away. The visit to the McGovern Historical Center was an invaluable experience in that not only were we able to see the medical journals of the 60’s and get a hands-on feel for surgical tools from decades ago, but, ultimately, it was also a reminder to cherish the steps we took to stand where we are in science and medicine today. As I found out, there was still so much to learn from these decade old archives.

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Camman’s Model Stethoscope, circa 1900, very similar to the one at McGovern (Image: http://melnickmedicalmuseum.com/2009/12/01/a-short-history-of-stethoscopes/)

Prior to the visit, the thought of an archive brought to my mind stacks of old books, lined by manuscripts chronicled merely by their placement in the seemingly endless row of shelves. When we arrived, I was most excited to see the old models of the stethoscope and forceps that we now call DeBakeys after Dr. Michael DeBakey from Baylor College of Medicine—legend of cardiovascular surgery. I was pleasantly surprised to see the old nursing gowns as well as amputation kits used on war grounds. In particular, I found it intriguing that Sandra Yates, our archivist, pointed out that having wooden handles for the amputation saws was probably not a good idea. As soon as I heard this, I was disgusted by a major possibility of the Marburg virus being transmitted (as we read in Preston’s The Hot Zone) while, simultaneously fascinated at the importance of selection of materials in engineering surgical tools. The recognition of viral transmissions and health risks associated with handles that soak up blood was probably a major step forward in health care during the time period that followed.

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Surgical Kit, circa 1850-1880 (Image taken at McGovern Historical Center)

The archived surgical kit from around 1850-1880 helps us to recognize this fact. Furthermore, because our multimedia project handles the Passing in Review radio program, we were able to see the original record that holds the recording. Archivist Sandra Yates noted that even she was surprised to receive the abnormally big record. She also pointed out that there no longer is technology to retrieve audio from such huge records and that it was a good thing the audio was already retrieved few years ago. In this I saw 1) the importance of timely management of archival materials in different kinds of media and 2) the modern technology involved in retrieving archival materials such as old records and floppy disks.

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Passing in Review Record (Photo taken at McGovern Historical Center)

As I looked around more and started reading the journals, I was particularly interested in Cooley’s Step-by-Step Transplant Film published in October 4, 1968 in the Medical World News magazine. Being the cardiovascular surgery nerd I am, Dr. Cooley had only been the legendary figure pioneering heart transplants. Seeing the photographs from the first successful artificial heart transplant was truly a humbling experience. I asked Sandra if they had more films of Dr. Cooley’s and Dr. DeBakey’s surgeries and she was glad to let me know how to access the films. In particular, the deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (DHCA) surgeries and patients’ post-surgery reports from the time period were especially intriguing to me as a major research currently in cardiovascular surgery concerns neuronal damage as a result of DHCA. These are the kinds of archival records that help to identify flaws in surgical procedures still in use today.

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Cooley’s Step-by-Step Transplant Film published 04/10/68 Medical World News Magazine (Photo taken at McGovern Historical Center)

 

In sum, the field trip to the McGovern Historical Center was truly a humbling experience—being able to handle decade old magazines and surgical tools. I now recognize the importance of knowing where we started to acknowledge the innovations of today. I was further enlightened by the fact that such archival materials help to point out flaws that, decades later in time, we still try to understand (as in the case of DHCA surgeries). I am excited to revisit the McGovern Historical Center to scavenge for more Texas Medical Center surgery and patient records if chance allows.