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Robert L. Brown History of Medicine

History of Medicine News

Chart the future by exploring the past

Visitors from China

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Dr. Li, Dr. Zhong and Dr. Yang

On December 1st and 2nd the Health Sciences Library and the Robert L. Brown History of Medicine Collection were delighted to host three visitors from China, Dr. Zhongjie Li, Dr. Jianxiong Yang, and Dr. Zhihua Zhong.  All three are from Sichuan Province, home of the giant panda. Dr. Li is a dentist and faculty member at the West China Hospital of Stomatology, Sichuan University, in Chengdu and Drs. Yang and Zhong are engineers at the Sichun Anhengli Denture Technology Co. Ltd. in Mianyang.  The reason for their visit was to gather information regarding the development of dental articulators in early 20th century. According to Dr. Li, during this period a large number of dental articulator designs came out and some of the most important designers were from the University of Buffalo including George Snow and DeWitt Gritman. Others such as Rupert E. Hall and Rudolph L. Hanau lived in Buffalo. Except for Hanau, who was an engineer, this group was referred to as the Buffalo Study Club of Dental Engineering. Together with other scholars, their work lead to important developments in the study of dental occlusion.  The History of Medicine Collection was able to locate both online and print resources regarding the subject.

At the Dental School

While they were here Dr. Pamela Jones, Assistant Dean of the School of Dental Medicine, graciously provided the guests with a tour of the Dental School where they were able to see a number of dental articulators.  Before they left for the next leg of their travels, they had the opportunity to visit Niagara Falls! It was a great pleasure to spend time with Dr. Li, Dr. Yang and Dr. Zhong and hopefully they may be able to return in future.





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Maxillofacial Prostheses Through the Decades

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Prosthetic devices

Prosthetic devices

The History of Medicine Collection received a marvelous donation of various maxillofacial prostheses produced from pre-1940 through the 1990’s. These items are a gift from Norman Schaaf, D.D.S. and David Casey, D.D.S. and are made from materials ranging from vulcanized rubber to Polymethyl methacrylate (acrylic glass) to silicone and acrylic. Some of the uses for the prosthetic devices were for head and neck cancer patients, individuals with Multiple Sclerosis and people with cleft palates. These implements included ears, noses, eyes and a variety of dentures and cleft palate and maxillary speech aids and obturators.

In 1958 Dr. Schaaf met Dr. Harold Solomon, the only dentist in the Department of Dental Surgery at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and later worked with him until his retirement in 1968. In1967 with a grant he received from the U.S. Public Health Service, Dr. Schaaf established a Regional Center for Maxillofacial Prosthetics and in 1969 was awarded a grant from NIH to develop a Residency in Maxillofacial Prosthetics. Another grant in 1970 enabled research into facial prosthetic materials. In 1998 a new clinic was established in the present RPCI Hospital. Dr. David Casey joined the Department in 1980. Both Dr. Schaff and Dr. Casey are retired Emeritus Faculty of the School of Dental Medicine’s Department of Restorative Dentistry.





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Then and Now: Nursing in Remote Communities

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“Is he dead?” I whispered.

Sallie shook her head. “I don’t think so … there is a faint pulse … He must have jumped,” Sallie continued. “See there is his plane. Clear across the field.  Jammed into a haystack …”

We were enormously relieved when one of the nurses came tearing up to the fence and through the corn to the place where the patient lay. She was a fresh faced English girl and we came to know her later under the name of Jim … Jim took charge of the situation like a general on the field of battle. We thanked God for Jim. “Get an axe,” she directed. “Cut a couple of stout poles. Get ready a stretcher. We are going to have to take this man to the center. One of you men take my horse and ride like the wind to Manchester. Get the doctor. Bring him here as fast as you can come.”

FNS LOGOThe above scene illustrates an event experienced by nurses who were members of the Frontier Nursing Service. The Frontier Nursing Service was an organized midwifery service in the United States founded in 1925 by Mary Breckinridge. It was established to elevate the level of healthcare in very rural areas by bringing trained midwives out to homes in Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains region. The midwives not only participated in delivering babies and providing prenatal care, but also in preventative care for citizens. According to the Frontier Nursing University Website, Mary Breckinridge demonstrated that care provided by nurse-midwives acting as nurses to the total family would drastically cut infant and maternal mortality and also morbidity and mortality for the entire community.


Still today, nurses and students participate in programs similar to the Frontier Nursing Service – even our very own UB nursing students and faculty, along with other health professions students at UB! The UB School of Nursing offers various service learning experiences, one of which is through the Remote Area Medical (RAM) Program. RAM provides student volunteers the opportunity to travel to a rural area, where a mobile clinic has been situated, to provide medical care to an undeserved, isolated or impoverished community – much similar to the assistance the Frontier Nursing Service provided.

While health care in the United States has come a long way, there still exists a need for services such as these – programs like RAM continue to provide individuals and families with vital services – and we can credit Mary Breckinridge as the forerunner in establishing a program that provides health care to those who may otherwise lack access.


UB Nurses working in the Remote Area Medical Program (RAM).



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Getting to Know the Western New York Library Assistants!

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Library Assistants + Ben Kutas from the Radiology Museum

Library Assistants + Ben Kutas from the Radiology Museum

Getting to Know the Western New York Library Assistants!

Members of the Western New York Library Assistants group held a “Getting to Know You” program in the Robert L. Brown History of Medicine Collection on April 12, 2016.  WNYLA is a member of the New York State Library Assistants’ Association.  The afternoon included a tour of History of Medicine and the UB Radiology Museum, refreshments and a delicious cake and an opportunity to socialize.  It was a great pleasure to be a part of this event!











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First Annual Women in Medicine and the Sciences Symposium

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A16-7102 UB DoctHERS Postcard_Page_2UB DoctHERS Symposium

On Saturday, March 5, 2016 I had the privilege of attending the first annual Women in Medicine and the Sciences Symposium presented by the UB Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.  Entitled “Women and the Power of Negotiation” the event, described as a “morning of networking, information and support for female physicians, scientists, faculty, residents and students”, focused on the power of negotiation not just in the workplace but in every aspect of life.  The keynote speaker, the panelists and the moderator shared information that was empowering, practical and pertinent for all women no matter what their career path.

Keynote speaker: Sara Laschever

Ask for it: Women and the Power of Negoiation

A16-7102 UB DoctHERS Postcard 6 (003)_Page_2

Gale Burstein, MD ‘90, MPH Negotiating Family Into Your Career

Helen Cappuccino, MD ‘88 Negotiating in Non-Traditional Fields for Women

Iris Danziger, MD ‘86 Negotiating in the Business World of Medicine

Nancy Nielsen, MD ‘76, PhD How to Break the Glass Ceiling Without Injuring Your Head

Moderators: Rose Berken, MD ’92 Sylvia Regalla MD ‘75

The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ DoctHERS is a network of female physicians, scientists, faculty, residents and students who address current issues in the medical and scientific fields in order to foster advancement, mentorship and equal opportunities for future generations of women in medicine and science.



Robert L. Brown History of Medicine










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“thirty-six closed doors”

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Buffalo Evening News 1962

A recently discovered newspaper clipping in the History of Medicine Collection featured a sculpture made from keys that had been used in the University at Buffalo Medical School formerly located at 24 High Street in Buffalo.  This was the third building that the School had occupied before moving to UB’s South Campus in the 1950’s.  The elegant building was designed by the architect George Cary, brother of Charles Cary, a faculty member at the Medical School.  When the building closed, Dr. Robert L. Brown, then Assistant Dean of the School, gathered up 36 keys from cabinets, book cases and classrooms and silver-soldered them into a ten inch piece mounted on a mahogany base.  The original sculpture now resides in the Robert L. Brown History of Medicine Collection in the Health Sciences Library in Abbott Hall.  It was interesting to learn that it had a name!




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Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness

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???????????????The Friends of the Health Sciences Library Cordially Invite You to attend a program being presented in conjunction with Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness, an interactive exhibition that examines concepts of health and medicine among contemporary American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawai’ians.  The NLM/ALA exhibit is currently on display in the lobby of the Health Sciences Library in Abbott Hall and highlights Native peoples’ own voices as they speak about health and illness within their tribes, villages, and communities. On Thursday, March 3, 2016, Dr. Margaret Moss, Assistant Dean of Inclusion and Diversity, UB School of Nursing, will moderate a panel discussion with local Native Americans discussing their views on this topic.  If you would like to attend the presentation please fill out and return the registration form below or contact Linda Lohr at or 829-5737 for further information.  We hope to see you there!

DATE:  Thursday, March 3, 2016
LOCATION: Roswell Park Room, B15 Abbott Hall, Health Sciences Library|
RSVP:  February 29, 2016

If you wish to attend the presentation ONLY from 7-8 pm there is no charge. Please indicate that on the Registration Form below and return.


Linda Lohr        Health Sciences Library  University at Buffalo      B5 Abbott Hall  Buffalo, NY 14214




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Nurses and Domestic Violence

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Nurses were among the first to identify battered women as a population with specific health needs needs that were largely neglected by the medical community and through both their research and practice, saw firsthand the epidemic of violence in women’s lives. In response, they prioritized improvements in the medical attention and treatment for women who were battered.  Please go to to read the blog that is part of a series exploring the history of nursing and domestic violence from guest blogger Catherine Jacquet, Assistant Professor of History and Women’s and Gender Studies at Louisiana State University.  Dr. Jacquet is guest curator of NLM’s exhibition Confronting Violence: Improving Women’s Lives.




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Nightingale Letters Now Available!

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The Florence Nightingale Digitization Project is a collaborative effort to create a comprehensive database of digitized correspondence written by Florence Nightingale and held by the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, the Florence Nightingale Museum in London, The Royal College of Nursing, and the Wellcome Library in London.  The database currently contains over 1900 items and is accessible to the public through this portal hosted by Boston University, which links to the partners’ websites.

Click here:

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Fall in History of Medicine

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Keith with guests.

Keith with guests.

Fall of 2015 was a busy time for the History of Medicine Collection!  Here is brief overview of some of the activities that took place.

Hosted 2 sessions of tours and presentations about the History of Medicine Collection with Gayle Hutton, Senior Major Gift Officer, UB School of Medicine, and 35+ guests including UB retirees from Fox Run, Canterbury Woods and Asbury Pointe communities.

Keith Mages, Linda Lohr and Elizabeth Stellrecht participated in the 2015 Buffalo and Niagara Dental Convention.


Keith Linda Lohr and Elizabeth Stellrecht participated in the 2015 Buffalo/Niagara Dental Convention.






Participated in the UB Medical School’s “Women in Medicine and Sciences Leadership Launch Reception”.  Read an excerpt from Mary Blair Moody’s memoir.  (She was the first woman to graduate from UB’s Medical School.) Thursday, Oct. 22nd.  The group’s website will launch in January, 2016.



French Metacarpal Saw

French Metacarpal Saw


Collaborated with the B&ECPL on the “Milestones of Science” Exhibit.  A number of items icon for web page(1)from the History of Medicine were loaned to the Public Library for the occasion.




Working with instructors Erin and Amy, gave tours and “hands-on” History of Medicine class to 3 sections of the Medical Terminology Course from the North Campus using selected materials from the Collection.





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