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Peter Tishler, MD, of BWH's Division of Genetics, says he was first inspired to take on writing and editing a comprehensive history book about the Brigham after a Department of Medicine grand rounds a few years ago.
Joseph Loscalzo, MD, PhD, chair of the department, made the initial suggestion to Tishler, with the hospital's approaching BluePrint celebration in mind.
"The Teaching Hospital: Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Evolution of Academic Medicine," published earlier this year, is a far-reaching history of BWH, from its commitment to compassionate patient care and encouragement of leading-edge research to its emphasis on quality education and extensive community outreach.
"In the process of researching, writing and editing, I learned a lot about the dynamism of BWH," said Tishler, who joined the Brigham in 1977. "People were constantly working hard to make the hospital evolve in a rational way with advanced and wonderful patient care and research."
In order to make the book a reality, Tishler worked with co-editors Loscalzo and Christine Wenc, a writer in the Department of Medicine. They reached out to nearly 100 BWH physicians, nurses, staff and historians of medicine for written contributions from their areas of expertise. Contributors sent in biographies of past and present Brigham leaders and legends, including the first Peter Bent Brigham Hospital Surgeon-in-Chief Harvey Cushing, MD, known as the "father of modern neurosurgery"; Nobel Peace Prize-winning cardiologist Bernard Lown, MD; renowned nurse and teacher Carrie Mae Hall; and many others.
Writers also contributed accounts of medical breakthroughs, department achievements, and hospital milestones and "firsts," including the nation's first maternity ward, in vitro fertilization, successful human organ transplantation and full-face transplant. The nearly 400-page book also includes a detailed history of BWH's predecessor hospitals and their merging together, as well as photos from the BWH archives.
In addition to Tishler, Loscalzo and Wenc, the book's committee included Joel Katz, MD, director of BWH's Internal Medicine Residency Program; Jeremy Greene, MD, PhD, of Johns Hopkins, who completed his residency at BWH; and Scott Podolsky, MD, director of the Center for the History of Medicine at Countway Medical Library. BWH archivist Cathy Pate, independent photo editor Sarah Morris and medical sociologist and researcher-writer Ann Conway, whose doctoral dissertation focused on Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, all contributed significantly to book research. Linda Smith, of the Department of Surgery, transcribed dozens of interviews for the book.
"I was impressed by the role BWH plays in the local community, especially since the 1970s," said Wenc, managing editor of the project. "The Brigham-affiliated community health centers have long been an important part of Boston." Wenc also noted BWH's leading role in global health, recent developments in patient-centered care, and the important work of Patient and Family Relations, Chaplaincy, Social Work and Nursing in improving the patient experience.
"I think the book tells a good story about the evolution of a wonderful hospital that has gotten better with time, and will hopefully continue evolving for the next century and beyond," said Tishler. "I wish the best for this hospital and its patients for the indefinite future."
"The Teaching Hospital" is available online at amazon.com and at the Shop on the Pike.