Entries for July 2010

In 1964 University of Minnesota President Wilson initiated the University Long-Range Planning Committee for the Health Sciences. Part of this committee's charge was to determine the needed facilities to maintain and grow the programs in the Health Sciences.

The Health Sciences Design Coordinating Committee developed a framework for this growth in 1968 and published its schedule in the Health Sciences Planning Report.

The expansion project quickly became known for its use of alphabetical monikers to denote the new construction. Many of these alphabetical references are still used today often interchangeably with the facility's given name.

Find your own building's place in the alphabet and its original purpose then see which letters never made the transition from paper to brick and mortar.

Unit A: To house general dental clinics, School of Dentistry administration, basic science, medical, and public health teaching labs as well as general classrooms. The first of the expansion projects, the facility would later be named the Malcolm Moos Health Sciences Tower.

Unit B/C: To provide outpatient and ambulatory care, new emergency room, surgical and other research facilities, diagnostic radiation facility, and additional hospital beds. Designated at its design as the Phillips-Wangensteen Research Building.

Unit D: Subterranean facility adjacent to the Masonic Memorial Cancer Hospital to house radiation therapy. Considered part of the first phase of development to be initiated by 1973, the unit was unable to reach the revised 50-50 match required by federal guidelines in 1978.

Unit E: Designed to be a service center for storage, supply, and dietary kitchens with a proposed cafeteria and dining service on upper levels. Later named the Health Sciences Receiving and Distribution Center the unit is accessible via the delivery access area on East River Parkway underneath the Dwan Variety Club Cardiovascular Research Center and the Masonic Cancer Research Building.

Unit F: To provide additional shared classrooms and house the College of Pharmacy. Modified in 1975 to also include the School of Nursing, the building is now Weaver-Densford Hall.

Unit G: Proposed to expand shared classrooms and teaching labs, the building's tower would house the remainder of the School of Public Health. The 1977 legislature removed funding for this unit and made the School of Public Health the only school to be without a building plan in the expansion project. The unit would have been built on the northwest corner of Harvard & Delaware, the current location of the Phi Chi Medical Fraternity house and the hospital parking ramp.

Unit H: Subterranean structure to tie the old and new hospital units together via a ground level concourse and provides expansion for surgery suites. Unit H became unified with Unit J as part of the second phase of expansion through 1986.

Unit J: Proposed new hospital facilities located on the former site of Powell Hall. Today's University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview.

Unit K: Expanded cardiovascular research center with a probable location west of the Variety Club Heart Hospital. Unit K would later be combined with Unit E development to form Unit K/E. Today Unit K is the Dwan Variety Club Cardiovascular Research Center.

There is no mention of a Unit I. View a 1968 illustration of the proposed development through 1986.


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Predicting the future is a popular means to finish a review of past accomplishments. Often, these forecasts rely heavily on current trends in technology to safely guess advances and efficiencies.

An example of one such prediction is in the 1955-1957 Biennial Report of the Department of Continuation Medical Education.

Formalized in 1937, the Department of Continuation Medical Education, formerly known as Postgraduate Medical Education and today named the Office of Continuing Medical Education, enjoyed a major boost to its programming in 1945 through a nine year, $250,000 grant by the Kellogg Foundation to increase opportunities for participation in its teaching programs. Although review courses for practicing physicians were part of the Medical School's curriculum for decades, the department provided a permanent home for the "interdepartmental" education program.

The 1955-1957 report cites recent developments in the audio-visual field as a major future trend. Specifically it looks toward the use of television as a means to distribute postgraduate medical education. The report then imagines a world where continuing medical education moves past the limited scope of closed-circuit television and will be

"widely disseminated allowing physicians, even in remote areas, to keep abreast of medical progress simply by watching their TV screens for appropriate periods each week."

An equivalent modern predication might be live-streaming of lectures or procedures via one's smart phone or other mobile device. Gone will be the tether to the lecture hall or conference room. And as for the future of PowerPoint as an educational tool? The Magic 8-Ball says "Ask again later."

Read the 1955-1957 Biennial Report below. The report also includes an overview of the department beginning with the 1945 Kellogg grant through current programs.


CME Report

Monthly Entries

History Map

Academic Health Center

University Libraries

The AHC History Project is a collaborative effort between the Academic Health Center and the University Libraries.