This Date in UCSF History

Four decades ago, the Synapse front page captured the discontent that would lead to this cap, which was just one of several measures in the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975. “Legislature Stymied: Malpractice Crisis Threatens Hospital Jobs,” declared the headline of an article by Jacquelyn Brown. An accompanying article by Peter Bissell was headlined “Bay Area Doctor Protests Soaring Malpractice Rates.”
Cartoon character sitting down reading and upside down book, with tears rolling down his face
A half century ago, more than 95 percent of doctors were men and more than 95 percent of nurses were women. A couple of articles in the Synapse echoed this particularly stark gender gap with evidence of a particularly gendered idea of nursing.
Today, emergency medicine (EM) seems a solidly entrenched and respectable medical specialty. Compared to many specialties, however, it is a latecomer. The first emergency rooms were staffed in an ad hoc fashion by internal medicine and surgery residents. The first dedicated training program in EM was begun at the University of Cincinnati in 1970, and board certification in EM was first offered in 1979.
A half century ago, UCSF played host to a several cultural events and exhibits, including an art exhibit featuring a Bay Area native and a collection of controversial films.
Picture of Medical student Sharon Durousseau using the Power Macs
From syllabi accessed on tablets to journal articles read on laptops to medication apps viewed on smart phones, today’s medical students have myriad routes to medical resources on the internet. Two decades ago, the options were more limited but by no means nonexistent, as explored in the article, “Medical Resources on the World Wide Web,” by Robert E. Kuhn. In the opening paragraph, Kuhn declared, “The Internet has transformed education by facilitating access to information. A new subsystem of the net, the World Wide Web, has expanded the knowledge cornucopia to include pictures, audio, and even video.”
“Dentistry school discrimination case dismissed,” proclaimed the front page of Synapse 30 years ago. The accompanying article, by Charles Piller, discussed the U.S Department of Education Office for Civil Rights report clearing the UCSF School of Dentistry—and how not everyone was satisfied with the decision.
Black and white picture of Ronald Reagan, Synapse cover entitled: the tuition battle-"bleed for UC"
A single front-page headline, reading “the tuition battle—bleed for UC,” was starkly superimposed on a full-page photograph of a well-known politician, standing stern-faced at a lectern. The lower left corner of the page read simply, “In this corner … Ronald Reagan, governor of California.”
Today, those needing a bone-marrow transplant are likely to be able to find a reasonably well-matched, nonrelated donor. This is thanks largely to having a very large pool of potential donors to draw on; there are currently more than 10 million people registered with the National Marrow Donor Program in the United States. A generation ago, it was a far different story, especially for people of color.
Image of Neighborhood where Starbucks will be located
The ongoing Ebola crisis in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone has been by far the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history with more than 8,000 deaths so far. This outbreak makes a front-page story of Synapse from 20 years ago seem especially timely. In “Science Fiction Turned Real,” Robert Rosenbloom reviewed “The Hot Zone,” a nonfiction thriller by Richard Preston about viral hemorrhagic fevers, including Ebola.
Image of signs Restricting All Day parking
Concerns about the increasing frequency of C-sections is nothing new. Thirty-five years ago, Michael Bader reported on this trend in the article "Area cesarean rate tripled in 20 year." He wrote, "In California as a whole, the rate rose from 4.8 per cent in 1960 to 15.4 per cent in 1977." According to the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, 29.8 percent of deliveries were uncomplicated C-sections in 2013, a level that has remained steady for the past several years.