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From the editor: Starting point

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2008 - Spring


In the fall of 2006 Bayer HealthCare announced that it was closing its plant in West Haven and Orange and putting the 137-acre property on the market. By the following June the university had announced that it would buy the property for a multitude of uses still to be determined. One thing, however, was clear. With almost half a million square feet of pristine lab space at the site, the School of Medicine would have room to expand and advance its programs in medical and biomedical research.

After closing on the property last year, Provost Andrew Hamilton, Ph.D., said that the university wanted to avoid turning the space into an attic or basement that would collect the stuff no one knew where to store. In his report [“How the West was won”], Contributing Editor Marc Wortman describes how the deal came about and what is guiding the thinking of the university’s top officers as they consider the best uses for the property.

On the topic of dusty basement catchalls, a storage room underneath Harkness Dormitory has for decades been home to a treasure trove of whole human brain specimens, X-rays, patient records and photographs that document the career of Harvey Cushing, M.D., the pioneering neurosurgeon. Dennis D. Spencer, M.D., HS ’77, chair and the Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery, has been working to preserve the collection and make it accessible to a broader audience. Spencer recently published a book with colleagues at the medical school based on this collection.

By happenstance, this issue’s Capsule also includes medical images of historical interest. When medical missionary Peter Parker, an 1834 graduate of the Divinity School and what was then the Medical Institution of Yale College, opened a hospital in Guangzhou, China, he engaged a local Western-trained artist to paint preoperative portraits of his patients to document their disorders. Capsule tells the story of Parker and artist Lam Qua and their collaboration.

Finally, in our third feature we report on a visit from Hillary Rodham Clinton, J.D. ’73, who is seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. On the day before the Super Tuesday primaries in February, Clinton made a campaign stop at the Child Study Center, where she had championed the rights of children and families as a law student.

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