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Summer 2019 Update


It is with deep regret that I announce that Dr. Tacey Ann Rosolowski will be leaving the Historical Resources Center at the end of August. Before joining the archives' staff, she worked as a contractor to help revitalize the Making Cancer History Voices® oral history project. In the past few years, Dr. Rosolowski has transformed what we considered a hidden collection in literal shoeboxes to a unique online interview experience. In addition to contributing to the oral history collection, Dr. Rosolowski also helped redefine how a repository can serve the institution via Heritage Services. Instead of mere research, Heritage Services helps the institution fulfill its mission by engaging with clients to create products that both tell and help shape MD Anderson’s story. 

We will miss the enthusiasm and ingenuity she brought to her role in Heritage Services, and we wish Dr. Rosolowski the best in all her future endeavors. 

Reflections from Tacey A. Rosolowski, PhD

Reflections and Goodbye
 
My role with the oral history project will come to an end on August 30th, and I wanted to jot down a few thoughts as I close down my work.  We have come a long way since I took over a relatively small group of interviews in 2011.  I hope all the friends of the Historical Resources Center will join me in celebrating everything accomplished.
 
The issues of Continuum contain all the details, so I’ll summarize here.  I have interviewed 105 of MD Anderson’s institution builders, adding a total of almost 400 interview hours to the collection.  I instituted a unified collecting mission and protocols to ensure that the entire interview process is managed according to oral history best practices.  I developed tools so users can search the interview contents for relevant content, and Javier put in a lot of energy to make the interviews are available online in a searchable database.  Javier and I have also worked hard to raise awareness of the value of the OHP across the institution: more people than ever think about the value of stories to communicate what MD Anderson is really about.  In addition to supplying many clients with content, I implemented special interview projects for the Division of Surgery, the Department of Laboratory Medicine, and the UT System-sponsored symposium on burnout in academic medicine held at MD Anderson in 2017.  I also created a collection of stories on leadership stories.  All of these resources either are available or will soon be available online. 
 
I want to thank all of my interview subjects for their willingness to give their time, energy and candor to the project.  Their voices make the collection what it is, and they have enabled me to grow in my own interviewing practice.  The HRC Steering Committee must also be acknowledged for their wise input throughout the complex process of bringing the collection to its current state of development.  When a project has a lot of moving parts, there are periods when it doesn’t look like anything is progressing.  The Steering Committee never wavered in their support, and for that I thank them.  Javier Garza, of course, has been integral to developing the project, providing his archival expertise and energy in continually looking at options for online accessibility.  He has been a great colleague and collaborator, and I have very much appreciated his efforts over the years.  He will be a steady force as the HRC continues. 
 
Finally, thanks are due to the leadership of the Research Medical Library and the Cancer Foundation for their quite amazing administrative and financial support of this project.  Most of you probably don’t realize how unusual it is for an institution to back the collection of history with such resources.  MD Anderson can be proud of the foresight that key people have shown in preserving the experiences of institution builders in the exciting form of personal narratives.
 
In the words of Stephen Tomasovic, PhD, one of the founders of the HRC and my first interview subject for this project, CVs and articles and official statements provide only a partial picture of an organization: “Many of the very important contributions that people make to an organization, to the history of cancer research and care in the United States … are not captured in these kinds of documents.”  Everyone connected with this institution knows it’s about the people.  I have been privileged over the past eight years to work with some of them.  The OHP showcases how an institution with talented and driven people committed to a proud mission will always be much, much more than the sum of its parts.
 
                                                                        Respectfully submitted,
 
                                                                                    Tacey A. Rosolowski, PhD
                                                                                    Houston, Texas  2019
 

HRC and Heritage Services Updates

1. New Interview Page
We are very proud to unveil a new oral history webpage that presents the collection’s content more effectively than a conventional A-Z listing.  Users can now browse interviews classified according to the major themes explored in the collection and the major contributions of the speakers: leadership, research, clinical care, etc.
Thanks to the Research Medical Library's web development team for helping make this page happen. 

To check out the new page, click here
2. Recent Publications
A founding principle of the Historical Resources Center was to facilitate academic research and contribute to the history of oncology by preserving and making accessible documents from our past to help shape the scholarship of the future. 

Recently Robin Wolfe Scheffler, Associate Professor in Science, Technology, and Society Program, MIT, requested documents from the HRC for his research on the history of virology in cancer care. He recently published his findings in his new book A Contagious Cause: The American Hunt for Cancer Viruses & The Rise of Molecular Medicine. 
3. The Leadership Collection
Since Tacey's work with the OHP began, She have been gathering the best stories of what leadership looks like in many situations and levels of the institution.  These will appear on a dedicated webpage, organized in categories that correspond to the Leadership Institute’s training model.  These stories illustrate the deep reservoir of leadership wisdom that has existed at this institution from the beginning and that can instruct and inspire leaders today.
4.  The First Fifty Years of Surgery at MD Anderson (1945-1995).  
Charles Balch, Head of the Division of Surgery under Charles LeMaistre, spearheaded this project. TaceyI assisted him in interviewing six individuals to collect insights into the traditions of surgery under R. Lee Clark, MD and surgery’s transformation to align with a research-driven, surgical oncology approach.  These interviews will appear on a dedicated webpage.  They tell an important part of the story of how MD Anderson’s approach to multi-disciplinary coalesced and took deep root.  They also document how the division system supported this shift in culture and practice.
5.  The Department of Laboratory Medicine –Jose M. Trujillo Legacy Project 
The Department of Laboratory Medicine undertook a project to celebrate the visionary leadership of Jose M. Trujillo, MD and his impact on the Department.  R. Lee Clark encouraged Dr. Trujillo to come to MD Anderson in 1962 as a fellow in Pathology because of his work on the emerging field of cytogenetics.  He joined the faculty in 1963 and became head of the Division of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology in 1984, a position he held until his death in 1992.  I conducted interviews with institution leaders who knew Dr. Trujillo, his widow, and his daughter.  The five interviews will be available online.  This project was undertaken with the collaboration of the Trujillo family. 

FY 2019: By The Numbers

Oral History Collection Updates

38 interview hours

329 documents delivered to patrons

724 items digitized  

1272 interviews accessed online

4303 videos viewed

Recently Published:

Charles Balch, MD
Professor, Surgical Oncology - Research
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Carol Porter, DNP, RN, FAAN
Senior Vice President and
Chief Nursing Officer
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Pickens Academic Tower, Floor 21
1400 Pressler Blvd, Unit 1499
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