Entries for January 2011

Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes, especially taxes.

Last week the United States Supreme Court provided its opinion on case No. 09-837 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Et al., Petitioners v. United States. The University of Minnesota Regents joined the petitioners that asked the question of the court: "Are medical residents students or employees?"

The unanimous opinion affirmed the Treasury Department's rule that treats medical residents as full-time employees and subjects them to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, or FICA tax.

The opinion is more than just a disappointment to the University; it's the end of an era. Since 1951 when the Treasury Department applied its regulations defining the 1939 student exception to FICA, the University of Minnesota's Medical School has tried to determine the status and eligibility of exemptions for medical residents, interns, and fellows.

View selected correspondence from deans Harold Diehl and Robert Howard discussing the Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department's positions and the process for classifying hospital interns, residents, and fellows in the 1950s.


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Nature abhors a vacuum. Apparently history does too.

Although the history of the health sciences at the University of Minnesota is ours to keep and preserve, we are not the only place to find our history. Our history is part of other histories such as Minnesota history and the history of science and medicine, and thus, is found in many different locations.

img0164.jpgA recent entry to Ben Welter's regular feature "Yesterday's News" on the Star Tribune web site reinforces the idea that our history is everywhere. The column highlighted an article from October 10, 1945 interviewing the then new dean of the School of Dentistry, William Crawford. The article demonstrates the role of the dental school in a modern age and the research behind the introduction of fluorine as a tool in dental health.

Welter accompanies the reprinted story with several photographs from the Minnesota Historical Society's collections of the dental facilities. It is easy to understand the attention the University's School of Dentistry received across the state and by the public in general.

Such recognition was not a first for the School of Dentistry. In 1923, the then College of Dentistry at the University received a straight A rating by the Dental Education Council of America. The Council noted "Certain institutions stand forth in the educational world because of their power to inspire students with the desire for knowledge and with the love of hard work... The University of Minnesota College of Dentistry is such an institution." This is the dental equivalent to having no cavities.

The August 15, 1923 issue of Minnesota Chats, a publication by the University, recites more of the Council's praise and discusses the role of the College of Dentistry in relation to the state. Read the full pamphlet below.


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