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TODAY news for Thursday, March 23, 2006

Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center news

Centennial Moments
Presented by the heritage room, Del E. Webb Memorial Library

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Research was not a priority at Loma Linda University the first two decades of its existence. Rather, corporate energy was directed toward establishing the institution, defining its purpose and direction, and developing curriculums in nursing, medicine, and dietetics. Despite worrisome financial uncertainties hovering in the background, men and women of vision, dedication, and faith managed over time to create the College of Medical Evangelists (CME), as the institution was then called.

The second decade brought grave concerns about the survival of the School of Medicine. Medical schools throughout the United States were being evaluated by the American Medical Association and only those schools rated A would be able to continue. This recognition came in 1922, and relief from the pressures of uncertainty enabled the administration and faculty to concentrate their energies on growth and quality of education. Lack of adequate finances, however, was always present.

Involvement in research and excellence in teaching at LLU has its “roots” in the third decade of the institution and, in large measure, was the result of the youthful perspectives brought by the addition of new faculty members in the School of Medicine from the ranks of recent graduates.

The Harveian Society was established in 1928, primarily under the leadership and enthusiasm of G. Mosser Taylor (SM ’24) and Cyril B. Courville (SM ’25). According to the constitution, “The general aim of the Harveian Society is to develop the scholarly attainments of this school in a way to achieve the high standard reached by Daniel and his comrades in the golden days of old Babylon. Also, in a very definite manner, to irrefutably demonstrate that one may hold by faith to spiritual truths and, at the same time, be exact scientifically.”

Specific aims of the society were to stimulate research…to advance medical educational methods…to develop a higher type of graduate…and to encourage the highest type of graduate to join the faculty of CME. The name Harveian was chosen because it suggested a “scientific society associated with research.” Also, 1928 was the tercentenary of William Harvey’s classic Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et sanguinis in animalibus. Membership in the society was open to any faculty member or graduate of CME. There were specific requirements for active membership: to prepare one paper per year acceptable for publication; to facilitate improvement in teaching; to be knowledgeable about current literature in one’s field; and to abstract important articles on a monthly basis. Abstracts were presented at the monthly society meetings and some of them were published in the weekly issues of The Medical Evangelist through 1936. When The Journal of the Alumni Association College of Medical Evangelists (Alumni Journal) began in 1931, it too sometimes published these abstracts.

Regular society meetings were held the third Tuesday evening of the month, except July and August, and alternated between the Loma Linda and the Los Angeles campuses. The first meeting of the society took place September 18, 1928. Officers elected that year were: Cyril B. Courville, president; Clement E. Counter (SM ’25), vice president; G. Mosser Taylor, secretary-treasurer; and Howard A. Ball (SM ’28), historian.

The Harveian Society actively encouraged the School of Medicine alumni to support research projects by donating on a regular basis. The Alumni Research Fund was created by the SM Alumni Association to foster alumni involvement. It was an uphill climb and frequent pleas were made for more vigorous support. H. James Hara (SM ’18) suggested that all alumni donate a total based on a dollar a year for the years since their graduation.

Another society activity included recognition of high achievement by students. The heritage room has a copy of a book inscribed: “presented to Carrol S. Small, MD, by the Harveian Society of the College of Medical Evangelists in recognition of the excellent scholarship he attained on National Board of Medical Examinations.”

In 1939 the society began publishing the Harveian Review, a journal edited by Charles B. Coggin (SM ’35, father of Joan Coggin SM ’53A). Carrol S. Small (SM ’34) was associate editor and Lloyd K. Rosenvold (SM ’36) and William C. Bradbury (SM ’35) were managing editors. Lead articles and editorials were often about the value of research. Two columns appeared on a fairly regular basis: “Recent publications by society members” and “Clinical notes.” The latter were abstracts of new advances in medical practice. There were also short articles on various subjects such as medical topics, reports of research, and news affecting the School. The journal called itself a quarterly; however, seven issues were published in the first volume and two in the second. The last issue in the library archives is dated August 1941.

The society also issued the Collected Papers of Harveian Society Members consisting of journal reprints by society members from 1928 through 1938. An author index, and sometimes a general subject index is provided in each bound volume.

The Harveian Society and Harveian Review faded from existence after 1941. World War II was engulfing the world and the United States was a participant by December of 1941. Many of the society’s active supporters were now wearing military uniforms and soon to be scattered about the globe. CME was again struggling for survival. This time the struggle was to retain adequate faculty and to make certain students were graduated before being drafted.

Though in existence for only a short 13 years—the Harveian Society did raise the consciousness of the institution about research. To be sure, there wasn’t a groundswell of support. Many faculty members didn’t see the value of research or felt they didn’t have the time to do it. And the continuing need for funding meant frequent appeals to alumni and others, often with disappointing results. But there were aspects of encouragement: two new laboratory buildings in which research took place were constructed on the Loma Linda campus in 1935; a brief collaboration with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation brought equipment and personnel; some alumni gave financial support; and research accomplishments were often listed in The Medical Evangelist and the Alumni Journal. The 1941 March of CME states that from the time the Harveian Society began, there had been produced “90 major studies, 44 case reports and clinical notes, and 12 technical notes, in addition to a textbook and five medical monographs.”

The challenges and triumphs of these early stalwarts of research at LLU may sound unfamiliar to us 60 years later. From today’s academic setting, where the vital importance of research is recognized and where fundraising and grant applications are done by specialists, we salute the members of the Harveian Society for their early vision and seed sowing.

TODAY news for Thursday, March 23, 2006