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BML President’s Annual Report to Fellows
October 30, 2014


Welcome to the Annual Meeting of the Fellows and thank you all for your support of the Boston Medical Library.

Roz Vogel, the BML administrator, has been on leave since August. Our best wishes for her speedy and complete recovery. Kim Ripley has been working in her place time and has done an excellent job of pulling together things at this particularly busy time for the BML. Thanks to Kim Ripley, Katherine Flannery and Elizabeth Bueso of the Countway staff who have assisted in the transition. A serious handicap has been and continues to be the lack of knowledge among other Countway staff of Roz's work, records, other material and information, and access to these.

Thanks to our Director, Dr. Kohane; Countway Director of Access and Public Services, David Osterbur; HMS Dean for Medical Education, Jules Dienstag; and Countway Director of Administration, Eric Perakslis.

It is a pleasure to report that under our Strategic Priority Goal #3 (Appendix 1) of "Preservation and Celebration of History of Medicine," we continue to make progress in the objectives of exhibits and didactic programs, acquisitions, scholarship through fellowship and digitization. The efforts of the CHOM (Center for the History of Medicine) staff under the able leadership of its Director, Dr. Scott Podolsky are much appreciated. We have scope to expand further especially the last item and much needed preservation and restoration.

Countway Library Service Challenges

The same cannot be said of goals # 1 & 2 in which we have much more to go because there has been no progress in the Enabling Goals listed under # D (Appendix 1). Your leadership's tireless efforts to engage the Director of the Countway Library, Dr. Isaac Kohane, over the last 9 years have met with little success. For over a year there has been no Associate Dean level leadership or accountability. Your Board authorized and directed your President to seek the help of HMS (Harvard Medical School) Dean Flier and, as necessary, Harvard's Vice President for the Harvard Library, Sarah Thomas, to rectify the neglect of library services in general and particularly to the BML constituency and advance the other 3 goals. An April 17, 2014 request to meet with Dean Flier finally resulted in his delegation of this responsibility to the Dean for Medical Education, Jules Dienstag, and with Dr. Dienstag in July and September and also the subject being on the agenda of the JLC (Joint Library Committee) at its September 15, 2014 meeting. Dr. Dienstag, in efforts to rectify this, suggests a separate BML Librarian as a solution. The 2 librarian setup of the past failed leading to the arrangement of a single librarian responsible and accountable to both Harvard and the BML.

Dr. Dienstag indicates that HMS is in the process of creating a Department of Bioinformatics into which the CBMI (Center for Biomedical Informatics) will transform under the leadership of Dr. Kohane and that Dr.Kohane is even more disengaged from the library functions of the Countway. He suggests that the BML should wait till this transformation is complete which he expects will be a protracted process as there are obstacles and resistance. Your leadership has communicated with clarity that the BML (and in general, library services at the Countway) cannot and should not await this transformation since it has been neglected even more since Dr. Kohane's leadership started in 2005 despite verbal assurances from Drs. Kohane and Dienstag to the contrary in response to the BML's written concern precisely about this at the time of selection of Dr. Kohane. The BML had insisted, to no avail, on the Countway being led by a librarian and for Dr. Kohane to lead the Bioinformatics effort as a component of the library.

Sarah Thomas, Harvard Vice President for the Harvard Library, met with the BML Board at its meeting on March 6, 2014 and with the Joint Library Committee on March 20, 2014. We have over time reemphasized to all concerned, including to the Harvard Vice President, Sarah Thomas, at these meetings the unique opportunity that the Countway presents as a partnership between an academic medical center library and a library serving practicing physicians for Harvard leadership in library service in general and for the latter needs in particular.

The MMS (Massachusetts Medical Society), BML's partner which appoints 1/2 of its Trustees, has been independently concerned about the lack of Countway library service to BML constituents and particularly to member of the MMS. The MMS leadership has approached the BML looking for Countway accountability and your leadership has met and had serious discussions with MMS elected and staff leadership.

Dr. Dienstag attended the BML Executive Committee's meeting of October 7, 2014 and conceded that the changes created by HMS a decade ago which he implemented have disadvantaged the BML. There is need for the Countway to include the BML and that Harvard has been distracted by exploring the creation of a Bioinformatics Department that they haven't spent much time on the library aspect of Countway. He reaffirmed that he is committed to rectifying this neglect of the BML and will achieve this.

Dr. Dienstag has indicated in a recent e-mail "At the very least, I do have a commitment from the administration to make the relation with BML work" and "Please be assured that they [HMS Leadership] understand how the BML had been treated and that they are committed to a strong, mutually respectful, effective plan that will meet your needs."

We have since communicated by e-mail to Dr. Dienstag the steps necessary to start rectifying the neglect of the BML (Appendix 2) and he has acknowledged and will work with the HMS administration.

We await a meeting with him shortly and have again offered to meet Dean Flyer and Vice President Sarah Thomas with him.

BML services as a resource for lifelong learning

The BML came into being to help physician lifelong learning. One of our main priorities continues to be a search as to how a medical library such as ours focused on the practicing physician may be of service in today's changing world. Seminal research, exploration and piloting of services are needed but as noted above there has been serious neglect.

This is not just a BML goal; it needs to be a joint mission of both the BML and HMS. After all, the BML's primary mission is not too far from Harvard Medical School's mission. If the goal of medical education is ultimately the betterment of the health of the public and treatment of suffering, what good would it do to create new knowledge from research and educate students and others within the walls of the institution and ignore their continued library service for their learning needs once they step outside those walls in order to serve those very needs of the community throughout their professional career? Given the standing and intellectual resources of the two partner institutions; mutuality of the goals; and the importance to our end constituency, society at large especially in these times of challenges and momentous advances; the Countway is most well equipped and situated to lead in this field of library services for lifelong learning by physicians in practice. The BML's partnership with the MMS and its publication, the New England Journal of Medicine, the other three medical schools of Massachusetts, the Boston Public Library etc. lends a very powerful additional dimension.

The BML goal of "Preservation and Celebration of History of Medicine"

has continued to be advanced under the leadership of Dr. Scott Podolsky, Director of the Center for the History of Medicine (CHOM). Efforts this year include:

Boston Medical Library's Francis A. Countway Library Fellowship in the History of Medicine funded by BML's Abel Lawrence Peirson fund:
The BML funded six 2014 Countway Fellows (out of 16 applicants), for researching CHOM material (Appendix 3). A complete list of Fellows of all years is available at:

BML funded oral history projects include: 1. selected leaders in medicine, 2. the Boston Strong project recording the history of the medical efforts following the Boston Marathon Bombing (, 3. the oral history of the BML to commence with Dr. Grant Rodkey as the subject.

The Medical Heritage Library (MHL), (established in spring 2010, is a digital collaborative including the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Columbia, Countway, Johns Hopkins, New York Public Library, the National Library of Medicine and others. The BML has contributed a large amount of its collection for digitization.

While the BML collection preservation and restoration is ongoing, it needs much funding to do justice. Among the 2014 rare books acquisitions are: an early French work on smallpox, Antoine Sidobre's Tractatus de variolis et morbillis (Lyons, 1699); (1741) Roman edition of Antonio Pacchioni's Opera, discussing the anatomy of the brain and the dura mater; Alexander Monro's discussion of cerebrospinal fluid, Observations on hydrocephalus chronicus (Edinburgh, 1803); a rare English translation of a French practical work on hygiene and pharmacology, printed for a Catholic missionary in India, C. Desaint's Hand book of medicine (Bangalore, 1884); an 1821 New England imprint of the Works of Aristotle; the first treatise on electro-puncture, the Memoires sur l'electropuncture (Paris, 1825) by Jean-Baptiste Sarlandiere; a third London edition of Southworth Smith's pamphlet on the promotion of dissection laws Use of the dead to the living (1832).

-- Our gratitude to Dr. Adam Moore, former BML Trustee for many years, who has painstakingly continued to present the "BML" exhibits from his collection on the history of medicine at the 3MMS offices in Waltham. He changes the exhibit frequently to celebrate and enhance environmental events and themes (Appendix 4).

The 38 th Annual Joseph E. Garland Memorial Lecture on October 23, 2013 was delivered by Lawrence Altman, MD, Medical Journalist/Columnist, The New York Times; and Clinical Professor of Medicine, New York University, on "Adventures at the Intersection of Medical Journalism & Public Health" to a packed audience and was followed by engaging questions and discussions.

The 10 th J. Worth Estes, MD History Of Medicine Lecture was held on May 28th, 2014 following a touching personal vignette of Dr. Estes by his student and later colleague Carol T. Walsh PhD to a very attentive audience. David S. Jones, MD, PhD, A. Bernard Ackerman Professor of the Culture of Medicine, Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Faculty of Medicine, Harvard University, spoke on "Broken Hearts: The Tangled History of Cardiac Care." The talk and the questions and answers that followed explored the validity of many common assumptions in our treatment paradigms through a historic perspective.

The 39 th Annual Joseph E. Garland Memorial Lecture will present two internationally distinguished speakers addressing

"21st Century War: the Continuum of Pain and Other Sequelae."

Chester 'Trip' Buckenmaier III, MD, COL, MC, USA, Program Director, Defense and Veterans Center for Integrative Pain Management (, Associate Professor Anesthesiology, USUHS '92, Co-Editor Acute Pain Medicine section, Pain Medicine, Editor-in- Chief, U.S. Medicine


Rollin M. Gallagher, MD, MPH, National Program Director for Pain Management Veterans Health Administration, Co-Chair, Pain Management Work Group, VA-DoD Health Executive Council, Co-Chair, Pain Medicine Specialty Team Work Group, Patient Care Services, Editor-in-Chief, PAIN MEDICINE, Official Journal of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, Faculty of Pain Medicine of the Australia New Zealand College of Anesthetists, and the International Spine Intervention Society


S. Jay Jayasankar, MD
October 30, 2014


Appendix 1
Boston Medical Library Strategic Plan Priority Objectives
(Adopted by the Board on December 9, 2004
Progress Reviewed and reaffirmed February 16, 2012)

  • Objectives under Goal #1: Dissemination of Knowledge
    • Remote access     
    • Offer training programs for physicians in electronic access and knowledge management
  • Objectives under Goal #2: Promotion of Medical Education
    • Explore ways to increase awareness/access to learning programs for practicing physicians to maintain their lifelong professional development          
  • Objectives under Goal #3: Preservation and Celebration of History of Medicine       
    • Cataloguing and preservation of and newer means of access to BML collection - e.g. digitization
    • Programs with/without exhibits:
      • Didactic/ Interactive
      • Exhibits- on site, off site
    • Publication of articles based on collection, periodically in journals
    • Occasional publication of outstanding books
    • Increase opportunities for promoting scholarship
  • Objectives under Enabling Goals -Infrastructure to support BML Goals and Objectives       
    • BML is true partner in developing plans for the Coutnway
    • Responsiveness and leadership of Countway staff for BML needs, programs and services
    • Staff and organizational structure to implement programs
    • Staff and structure to enable grant/proposal writing and external partnership development

BML Mission
“To be a Library for the dissemination of medical knowledge, the promotion of medical education and scholarship, and the preservation and celebration of medical history, and thereby to advance the quality of health and healthcare of the people.”


Appendix 2


The BML expects full compliance with the Agreement between the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the BML establishing the Countway Library, including:

  1. Appoint a new Countway Librarian accountable to both Harvard and the BML.
  2. Re-establish the decision making role of the JLC including oversight of Countway Library budget, space, storage, services and policies.
  3. Provide dedicated, accountable staff and other Countway resources to work on:
    • access and reference services for practicing physicians and other BML constituency
    • research and grant applications to learn and pilot how to do those things better.
  4. Develop Countway Library user service staff culture that would serve Harvard and BML constituents equally attentively and well.
  5. Review the condition and storage of historical collections and correct any deficiencies.


Appendix 3

2014-2015 Recipients of the Boston Medical Library’s Francis A. Countway Library Fellowship in the History of Medicine funded by BML’s Abel Lawrence Peirson fund:

Sare Aricanli (Princeton University)
"Reconsidering Imperial Medicine in China"

Jameson Garland (Uppsala Universitet)
"Sex Assignment and Gender Surgery in Young Children"

Ksenia O. Gorbenko (University of Pennsylvania)
"Sterilization and Efficiency in the Hospital Setting"

Christina J. Hodge (Peabody Museum, Harvard University)
"Anatomical Instruction, ca. 1800-1850: Contextualizing the Holden Chapel Archaeological Collection"

Catherine Newman Howe (Williams College)
"The Rodin of Obstetrics: Robert Latou Dickinson and the Fine Art of Medicine"

David Merritt Johns (Columbia University)
"The Salt Hypothesis: Contested Science and the Making of a Strategy for Prevention"

2013-2014 Recipients of the Boston Medical Library’s Francis A. Countway Library Fellowship in the History of Medicine funded by BML’s Abel Lawrence Peirson fund:

Vanessa Burrows (City University of New York)
"The Medicalization of Stress: Hans Selye and the Postwar Medical Marketplace"

Erin R. Corrales-Diaz (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
"Remembering the Veteran: Disability, Trauma, and the American Civil War, 1861-1915"

Sean P. Phillips (University of Notre Dame)
"Pox in the Pulpit: the Catholic Church and Smallpox in France, 1724-1832"

James Poskett (Trinity College, University of Cambridge)
"Bumps beyond Borders: a Global History of Phrenology, 1820-1858"

Nicolas Rasmussen (University of New South Wales)
"Jean Mayer and the Cold War Obesity Crisis"

Thibaut Serviant-Fine (Universite Claude Bernard)
"Drugs and Tools: Antimetabolites in the Early History of Cancer Chemotherapy, 1940-1960"

List of current and previous years' Fellows of the Boston Medical Library's Francis A. Countway Library Fellowship in the History of Medicine funded by BML's Abel Lawrence Peirson fund may be found at:


Appendix 4

The Adam Moore BML exhibits which have appeared in the three 46x22” MMS cases at the Massachusetts Medical Society Offices in Waltham:

02 Jun 04 – 31 Oct 04:  MEDICAL BOTANY
        in support of MMS' medicinal garden

01 Nov 04 – 05 Dec 04:  WHAT ON EARTH
        introducing the specialty-based series of exhibits

05 Dec 04 – 05 Jan 05:  THE HEART OF IT ALL 
        cardiology: pulse & stethoscopes, auscultation

05 Jan 05 – 15 Feb 05:  MEDICAL MINERALS
        pharmacology & materia medica 

15 Feb 05 – 19 Mar 05 :  MICROSCOPY
        laboratory & medical education

19 Mar 05 – 28 Apr 05:  SMALLPOX & VACCINATION
        infectious disease & public health

28 Apr 05 – 08 Jun 05:  OPHTHALMOSCOPY
       The instrument’s development and forms

08 Jun 05 – 26 Jun 05:  CRIMEAN

26 Jun 05 – 09 Aug 05: TUBERCULOSIS
       recent case in a medical student    

09 Aug 05 – 27 Sep 05:  PHYSICIAN WRITERS (Summer Reading)

27 Sep 05 – 13 Nov 05:  MANIKINS
        examples from three centuries

13 Nov 05 – 08 Jan 06:  CLINICAL THERMOMETRY

08 Jan 06 – 08 Mar 06: MEDICAL PHILATELY
        postage rate increase effective 8 Jan 06
08 Mar 06 – 20 Apr 06: DOCumentation
        It's Not Just a Paper Chase: Making Case for Documentation March 29, 8-12 MMS Hq

20 Apr 06 – 23 Jun 06: PLEASE PASS THE KNIFE

23 Jun 06 – 02 Aug 06: SPECTROSCOPY

02 Aug 06 – 24 Oct 06:  STITCH IN TIME (sutures & ligatures)

24 Oct 06 – 04 Jan 07:  HAPPY 225th!
       MMS pubs in conjunction with loans for preparation of a commemorative video

04 Jan 07 – 15 Mar 07: COLORBLINDNESS

15 Mar 07 – 30 Apr 07:  JUST IMAGING !
       Imaging and Treatment Strategies in Primary Care Medicine,  April 6,MMS Hq all day
       Jointly sponsored by Tufts School of Med., St. Elizabeth’s, & Tufts Health Care Institute

30 Apr 07 – 30 Jul 07:  HERBALS
       In support of MMS' medicinal garden

30 Jul 07 – 16 Oct 07:  DOCTOR EXPLORERS

16 Oct 07 – 22 Jan 08: MAPPING MEDICINE

      Related to Careers event in early February at MMS Hq

13 Mar 08 – 20 May 08: DOCTOR AT SEA    

20 May 08 – 18 Sep 08: MMS HORTUS MEDICUS’ ORIGINS
       In support of MMS' medicinal garden

18 Sep 08 – 19 Nov 08:  ELEGANT TOOLS

19 Nov 08 – 30 Mar 09: TAKE YOUR MEDICINE

30 Mar 09 – 28 May 09: CALL AN AMBULANCE
       Related to MMS' Hq 3/31 “Disaster & Primary Care: how to protect pts & practice”

28 May 09 – 20 Aug 09:  PHYSICIENNES – I
      Related to MMS' Hq program, 24 June, on early women members of the Society

28 Aug 09 – 22 Nov 09:  PHYSICIENNES - II                            
      Related to second MMS' Hq program, 25 Sep 09, on early women members of the Society

22 Nov 09 – 07 Jan 10:  EPONYMOUS

17 Jan 10 – 17 July 10: WHAT’S BUGGING YOU!

17 July 10 – 12 Nov10: BALLOONS: BOSTON AND BEYOND

12 Nov 10 – 07 Dec 11: FINGERPRINTS

07 Dec 11 – 12 Apr 12: TONSIL TIME

15 Apr 12 - 09 Oct 12: NEJM 200th Anniversary Exhibits

15 Apr 13 -- 15 Oct 13: COMM. AVE.

1015 Oct 13 - Current: CATS & KITS
How to identify old medical impedimenta