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The University of Massachusetts Medical School, A History: Integrating Primary Care and Biomedical Research

  • More, Ellen S.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2012
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When an all-male class of 16 students entered the new University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1970, they might well have wondered whether they were making a huge mistake. Undoubtedly they took an enormous risk. The entire school—faculty, students, staff, laboratories, offices and classrooms—was housed in a small converted warehouse. The faculty probably had their doubts as well. Not so Dr. Lamar Soutter, the school’s founding dean and guiding spirit. No matter how many times the state legislature threatened to withhold the school’s funding, or how many governors threatened to shut it down altogether, Soutter knew he could outlast them all. The University of Massachusetts Medical School, chartered in 1962 and opened in 1970, was one of a cohort of medical schools founded in response to fears of a physician shortage. In Massachusetts, this translated into a call for more opportunities for the state’s students to attend an affordable school where, it was hoped, they would deliver primary care to the people of their home state. Yet, Dean Soutter and the original faculty, most of whom were basic scientists recruited from Boston medical schools, were equally devoted to basic research and tertiary care medicine. This book tells the story of the school’s struggle, and eventual success in reconciling the demands of primary care education with world-class research. A revised version of this online history titled Beating the Odds: The University of Massachusetts Medical School, a History, 1962-2012 (TidePool Press, 2017), is available in hard cover from the publisher, from Amazon, or at the UMMS book store. Author biography Ellen S. More, Ph.D., a historian of medicine, is Professor Emeritus of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Specializing in the history of the American medical profession, the history of women physicians, and the history of medical education, she was the founding head of the Office of Medical History and Archives, Lamar Soutter Library, at UMass Medical School. She is the author or editor of four books, including Restoring the Balance: Women Physicians and the Profession of Medicine, 1850-1995 (Harvard), winner of the Rossiter Prize from the History of Science Society, Women Physicians and the Cultures of Medicine (Johns Hopkins), co-edited with Elizabeth Fee and Manon Parry, winner of the Best Publication award from the Archivists and Librarians of the History of the Health Sciences, The Empathic Practitioner: Empathy, Gender, and Medicine (Rutgers), co-edited with Maureen Milligan, and Beating the Odds: The University of Massachusetts Medical School, a History, 1962-2012 (TidePool Press, 2017), a revised, corrected, and updated version of The University of Massachusetts Medical School: Integrating Primary Care and Biomedical Research. More was also the Visiting Curator for the National Library of Medicine’s exhibition “Changing the Face of Medicine,” available online at /

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