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Academic Health Center Oral History Project

Kersey, John

Kersey.jpg John Kersey received his M.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1964 and completed residencies in pathology and pediatrics at the University. He subsequently joined the faculty of the Medical School in the Departments of Laboratory Medicine, Pathology, and Pediatrics. From 1974 to 1995, Kersey was the director of the Bone Marrow Transplantation Center, and the founding director of the University of Minnesota Cancer Center from 1991, a position he held until 2007.

Interview Abstract
John Kersey begins by describing his background, including his education and why he went into medicine. He describes his experiences during his residencies, being appointed a Medical School faculty member, and as a faculty member. He discusses faculty and research at the UMN Medical School while he was a student, the reorganization of the Health Sciences in 1970, the effort to establish a children's hospital in Minneapolis in the 1960s, relations between UMN faculty pediatricians and community pediatricians, teaching, Homecare for the Dying Child Program, and hospitalists. He talks extensively about cancer research and treatment work, touching on topics including his own research and other work, funding and the NIH, clinical research versus laboratory research, informed consent and medical ethics, cancer research in the 1970s, the development of medical and pediatric oncology and chemotherapy, bone marrow transplantation, cancer research funding, the bone marrow transplantation program, nurses who worked on cancer treatment, the Masonic Center in the 1970s, the Cancer Coordinating Committee, the development of organ transplantation treatments, the Comprehensive Cancer Center in the 1980s, the Cancer Detection Center, ALG, experimental treatments, and clinical research. He talks about James Dawson, Mead Cavert, and Robert Good.

Biographical Sketch
John Kersey was born in Minneapolis, MN, in 1938. He received his BA from Dartmouth College in 1959. He began medical school at Dartmouth Medical School and finished at the University of Minnesota Medical School, receiving his MD in 1964. He interned at Ancker Hospital in St. Paul. From 1967-68, he served in the Army Medical Corps. He then returned to the UMN, completing residencies in pathology and pediatrics. Following his residencies, he was appointed to the faculty, serving as Assistant Professor in the Departments of Laboratory Medicine, Pathology, and Pediatrics (1971-74) and Associate Professor (1974-77) and Professor (1977-the present) in the Departments of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Pediatrics, and Therapeutic Radiology. From 1974-95, he was the director of the Bone Marrow Transplantation Center. He was acting director (1991-95) and director of the UMN Cancer Center (1995-2007). He is currently Founding Director Emeritus of the Cancer Center and the Children's Cancer Research Fund Land Grant Chair in Pediatric Oncology.

Interview Transcript
JKersey.pdf