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Vital Signs

Then & Now

A reminder of the pace of change, and of timeless truths, from a 2000 booklet about Dr. Rolf Syvertsen, DMS's dean from 1945 to 1960:

"Steve Zaslow '58 tells a story illustrating how Sy also taught by example: 'It was the Asian flu epidemic of 1958. I had to go to [the student infirmary after falling ill]. . . . An hour after I was admitted, Dean Syvertsen popped in. I was amazed that he visited me. When he left, . . . I cried. It was then that I realized my vulnerability, sickness, and need for support. That one-minute visit taught me the power and influence of the physician to comfort and reassure. . . . It's a lesson that comes home to me repeatedly.'"

Number of hours DMS students now spend learning the art of patient care in the On Doctoring course

A reminder of the pace of change, and of timeless truths, from an article about national "firsts" in the Fall 1991 issue of this magazine:

"The first continuous infusion pump to deliver drugs for the management of intractable pain was implanted in a patient at DHMC in 1981. Dr. Dennis Coombs, the Garth Professor of Anesthesiology at DMS, developed a technique by which low doses of narcotics can be continuously infused into the spinal area. . . . Such pumps are now widely used for alleviating pain in patients with cancer and other disorders."

Year the American Pain Society established national pain management awards

Year DHMC was chosen for honorable mention in those awards

A reminder of the pace of change, and of timeless truths, from minutes of DMS faculty meetings in 1854:

"Mr. Daniel Laing (Colored) under the patronage of the Mass. Col. Society & to go to Liberia—was examined for a degree. . . . Laing's certificates of time of study in this country & England are received and the Diploma forwarded by express today to Reverend J. Tracy. Laing's thesis on Remittent Fever." Laing was not even the first student of color to receive a degree from DMS. Samuel McGill, also of Liberia, graduated with honors in 1838.

Number of black DMS graduates in the 82 years between 1838 and 1920

Number of students of color who matriculated in DMS's M.D. program in 2007

A reminder of the pace of change, and of timeless truths, from the 1902 DMS Circular of Information:

Home births being common then, the obstetrics course comprised "1. A course of 48 lectures illustrated by diagrams and the use of manikins, with occasional quizzes. 2. Recitations with section work upon manikins by the student. Preparation is thus secured for a course in the out-patient department of a lying-in hospital, which the student is advised to take during the vacation at the end of the third year. . . . 3. A few maternity cases are received at [Mary Hitchcock] Hospital, and when possible they serve to illustrate to the students in small sections the teaching and methods of obstetrics."

Number of babies born at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in FY2006

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