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"Study of the Sick" Conference : Oral History Collection May 20-22, 1991
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Historical Note

The Study of the Sick conference was held on May 20-22, 1991 at the Allegheney General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. It was organized by Judith Swazey of the Acadia Institute (Bar Harbor, ME) and co-sponsored by the National Library of Medicine and the Alleghany-Singer Research Institute (Pittsburgh). According to the conference proceedings, the "goals of the conference were to generate an account of an especially creative and productive era in clinical research that ocurred in the United States" between 1945-1960, and to discuss and debate the factors that produced this flowering of research.

Nineteen scientists, medical researchers, sociologists and historians were brought together to engage in a "long discussion" structured by clusters of questions formulated by the co-chairs and distributed to participants prior to the meeting. The agenda explored the post-war interconnections made between American and European clinical investigators, research teams, and institutions that came to represent these "golden years" of biomedical research. Throughout the conference several themes repeated themselves: the education of young physicians, both clinical and research; the interrelationships between teaching, patient care, and research; the advent of molecular biology and some the side-effects; the huge growth of academic medical centers, medical schools, and its causes and consequences.