Edgar M. Housepian papers, 1950 - 2010

Descriptive Identification

Repository
Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library,
701 W. 168th Street
New York, NY 10032
Archives & Special Collections
Extent
20 cubic feet
Extent
(47 boxes + 1 film reel, 1 u-matic tape, 2 cassette tapes, 1 floppy disk)
Creator
Housepian, Edgar M.
Language
EnglishArmenianRussian
Abstract
Edgar M. Housepian (b.1928 d.2014), Columbia College (BA; 1949), College of Physicians and Surgeons (MD; 1953), was a neurosurgeon at Presbyterian Hospital and Professor at Columbia University, specifically within the Department of Neurological Surgery and the Neurological Institute. He was instrumental in coordinating disaster relief in Armenia after a major earthquake struck in 1988. His papers include correspondence in the form of letters and printed-out email, academic papers, book chapters, lectures, notes, newspaper and magazine clippings, articles, curricula vitae, inventories, grant applications, architectural plans, research proposals, conference proposals, agendas, fundraising records, medical instrument drawings and catalogs, reports, programs, agreements, photographs--including prints, slides, negatives and x-rays--and one video and 16mm.

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Administrative Information

Access Restriction

Open for research, except Sub-series 2.8: Consulting, 1979-2009 which is closed until 2020. Because the records include Protected Health Information (PHI) as defined by the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), access is allowed only under the terms of Archives and Special Collections’ Access Policy to Records Containing Protected Health Information.

Use Restriction

Open for research, except Sub-series 2.8: Consulting, 1979-2009 which is closed until 2020. Because the records include Protected Health Information (PHI) as defined by the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), access is allowed only under the terms of Archives and Special Collections’ Access Policy to Records Containing Protected Health Information.

Biographical/Historical Commentary

Edgar M. Housepian was born in New York City on March 18, 1928 to parents Dr. Moses and Makrouhie Housepian—both ethnic Armenian emigrants from Syria and Turkey. He attended Horace Mann School (Class of 1946) and Columbia University, receiving a BA degree from Columbia College (1949) and MD from the College of Physicians and Surgeons (1953). He married Marion Grace Lyon in 1954 and had sons David (b. 1955), Stephen (b. 1957) and daughter Jean (b. 1960). He held appointments at Columbia University and Presbyterian Hospital for the duration of his career, specifically within the Department of Neurological Surgery and the Neurological Institute. He was active in professional organizations and was instrumental in the development of stereoencephalotomy and stereotaxic surgery. He served as investigator for clinical studies in the development and evaluation of surgery for Parkinsonism and the dyskinesias (1960s).

As a neurological surgeon, Housepian designed innovative modifications for Herbert Olivecrona’s clip to treat aneurysms. Housepian distributed a prototype which could be applied with standard instruments such as a long mosquito forceps (1967). In 1984, he also proposed modifications to the Ethicon clip, a titanium clip produced by Johnson & Johnson. Soon after, he was involved in a two –year study (1986-1988) researching the safety and effectiveness of genetically altered recombinant beta-interferon in the treatment of high-grade malignant glial tumors, sponsored by the Comprehensive Cancer Center’s neuro-oncology program, with funding from Triton Biosciences Inc.

On December 7, 1988, a catastrophic earthquake struck the then Soviet Socialist Republic of Armenia. Housepian became involved in the immediate disaster relief, liaising with the Soviet Consul, Armenian Ministry of Health, and the Archdiocese of the Armenian Church in New York. He worked closely with the Diocesan Fund for Armenia’s Recovery (DFAR), later named Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR), to coordinate volunteers and the shipment of food, drugs, and other emergency medical supplies. By 2010, he was Vice Chairman for the FAR Board of Directors.

Due to his work in Armenia, Housepian became more involved in the fields of disaster medicine and global exchange. At the International Conference on Disaster Medicine (circa 1990), he proposed a universal labeling and logistics system for emergency relief supplies using a universally agreed pictorial labeling system, and the use of bar codes to identify package contents.

Housepian often traveled to Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, and served as a mentor to Armenian students and professionals. After Armenia regained its independence from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) on September 21, 1991, he spearheaded exchange programs for Armenian medical students and professionals. Armenian government healthcare reform resulted in the establishment of a western-style model teaching hospital and an overhaul of its nursing education. Later, exchange programs included the FAR-sponsored Continuing Medical Education (CME) program in post-graduate training, helping to transform Armenian medical training.

In 1992, he was awarded Armenian of the Year by the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America.

His other awards included the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (1994), Columbia University Alumni Medal for Distinguished Service (1997), honorary doctorates from the Academy of Sciences of Armenia and Yerevan State Medical University (1997), Humanitarian Award from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (2002).

He retired from Neurosurgery in 1997, upon which time he was appointed Special Advisor for International Affiliations to Columbia’s Vice-President for Health Sciences / Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, tapping into his experience in international relations in higher education.

In 2010, an endowed professorship of neurological surgery at Columbia was created in his name. He died at his home in New Jersey on November 14, 2014.

Appointments: Columbia University
1956Assistant in Neurological Surgery
1959 - 1960Instructor in Neurological Surgery
1961 - 1963Associate [not professor] in Neurological Surgery
1964 - 1966Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
1967 - 1975Associate Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
1976Professor Clinical (Tenure)
Appointments: Presbyterian Hospital
July 1, 1955 - June 30, 1956Assistant Resident in Neurological Surgery
January 1, 1957 - June 30, 1957Assistant Resident in Neurology
July 1, 1957 - June 30, 1959Assistant Resident in Neurological Surgery
1959 - 1960Assistant in Neurological Surgery
1961 - 1963Assistant in Neurological Surgery
1964 - 1974Associate Attendant Neurological Surgery
1975 - 1985Attendant Neurological Surgery
Other Appointments
April 1, 1956 - June 30, 1956Assistant Resident in Neurological Surgery, Delafield Hospital
July 1, 1959 - 1969Assistant Visiting in Neurological Surgery, Delafield Hospital
July 1, 1964 - 1968Consultant in Neurological Surgery, Harlem Hospital
  • References
  • Fund for Armenian Relief. A Tribute to Dr. Edgar M. Housepian January 15, 2010. New York City, NY: FAR, 2010.
  • "Interferon Holds Promise for Brain Cancer." Onconews 1, no. 1 (Summer 1988): 8.
  • Stidham, -. Lorraine, -. Clare Juddson Kagel, -. Jack STERN, and - Robert and Deanna Von Gutfeld. "Edgar Housepian's Obituary on The Record." The Record. Accessed October 17, 2016. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/northjersey/obituary.aspx?pid=173259262.

Scope and Content

The Housepian papers include correspondence in the form of letters and printed-out email, academic papers, book chapters, lectures, notes, newspaper and magazine clippings, articles, curricula vitae, inventories, grant applications, architectural plans, research proposals, conference proposals, presentations, agendas, fundraising records, medical instrument drawings and catalogs, reports, programs, agreements, photographs—including prints, slides, negatives and x-rays--and one video and film. Housepian often wrote notes on the front of folders. These were retained if providing information of historical, evidential value.

This collection has been organized into six series: 1. Biographical and Personal; 2. Armenia; 3. Correspondence; 4. Professional; 5. Department of Neurological Surgery and Neurological Institute; 6. Office of International Affiliations.

Controlled Access Headings

Components List

  • Biographical and personal, 1956 - 2010

    Scope and Content:

    The smallest of all the series, it consists of correspondence, printed programs, writings, articles, clippings and other material relating to Housepian’s family history, his Alumni Federation medal, Horace Mann School reunion, and subject files.

  • Armenia, 1975 - 2010

    Scope and Content:

    DAR includes materials documenting Housepian’s work in disaster relief and the operation of the organizations involved with this task. Folder titles were maintained unless unclear and reflect Housepian’s role. He marked some files by organization, such as the Diocesan Fund for Armenian Recovery (DFAR) and Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR), but correspondence and other documents stemming from these organizations may be found in other files. Those files relating to Armenia and the American-Armenian community not derived from the earthquake disaster relief effort, are arranged within the Topics subseries.

    Arranged into two subseries: Armenian Disaster Relief and Topics.

    • Armenian Disaster Relief, 1988 - 2010

      Scope and Content:

      Includes correspondence, inventories, agendas, faxes, phone messages, notes, drug and supply lists, press releases, and project reports between Housepian and the Armenian Ministry of Health, DFAR and FAR. Also includes news clippings regarding the earthquake and aftermath. This sub-series documents partnerships with hospitals in Yerevan coordinated by the American International Health Alliance with the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID); the Armenian government healthcare reforms to establish a western-style model teaching hospital; reform in nursing and other medical education in Armenia; donations to National Library of Armenia; and “Project Provide Hope”--an agreement between the U.S. government and the Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America by which the Diocese assumed responsibility for the distribution of emergency food and medical supplies provided to the Republic of Armenia. Other proposed programs include an exchange program “Armenia house” at Columbia University, the Joint Armenia – US Medical Education Conference, and Medical Fellowships.

      Correspondents (1990s) includes former U.S. Ambassador to Syria and Israel, Edward Djeredjian; Ara Babloyan, Minister of Health Care, Republic of Armenia; R. Ara Ter-Gregorian, Director of Foreign Relations for the Ministry; and Suren G. Zohrabian, Chief Neurosurgeon of Armenia.

      Includes patient information and x-rays.

    • Topics, 1975 - 2010

      Scope and Content:

      Materials relating to the country of Armenia, its people, and Armenian-Americans not directly related to Housepian’s administrative roles at Columbia University, are arranged in this sub-series. Includes conference and committee proceedings, charity reports, intern programs; a directory; and correspondence--including professional and patient referrals.

  • Correspondence, 1962 - 2010

    Scope and Content:

    Includes print-outs of email correspondence and letters. The bulk is Columbia University and Neurological Institute-related with professional and personal topics.

    Arranged into three sub-series as maintained by Housepian: Chronological, “Rabble” and Topical.

    • Chronological, 1962 - 1968

      Scope and Content:

      Correspondence, in the form of letters, memoranda, and printed-out email between Housepian; faculty, staff, and students at Columbia University and Presbyterian Hospital; other professional colleagues, friends and family; arranged chronologically with a gap from 1969 to 1993.

    • Chronological, 1994 - 2010

      Scope and Content:

      Correspondence labeled “Rabble” by Housepian, in the form of letters, memoranda, and printed-out email between Housepian; faculty, staff, and students at Columbia University and Presbyterian Hospital; other professional colleagues, friends and family; arranged chronologically. Similar, but possibly less formal and “rabble-rousing” compared to the Chronological sub-series. Contains no apparent gaps.

    • Rabble, 1970 - 2005

      Scope and Content:

      Correspondence labeled “Rabble” by Housepian, in the form of letters, memoranda, and printed-out email between Housepian; faculty, staff, and students at Columbia University and Presbyterian Hospital; other professional colleagues, friends and family; arranged chronologically. Similar, but possibly less formal and “rabble-rousing” compared to the Chronological sub-series. Contains no apparent gaps.

    • A-Z, 1966 - 2009

      Scope and Content:

      Correspondence, in the form of letters and printed-out email, filed by topic or personal name.

  • Professional, 1964 - 2010

    Scope and Content:

    Contains material relating to Housepian’s career and training not directly tied to his administrative roles at Columbia University nor Armenia-related.

    Arranged into four sub-series: General; Conferences and Professional Organizations; Papers, Lectures, and Book Chapters (the bulk of the series); and Visiting Professorships and Trips.

    • General, 1964 - 2010

      Scope and Content:

      Articles and writings by others, notes, medical and malpractice insurance, personnel records, and materials documenting the aneurysm clip designed by Housepian, including technical drawings.

    • Conferences and professional organziations, 1960 - 2010

      Scope and Content:

      Conference programs, agendas, correspondence, invitations, photographic prints and negatives, reports, and other material relating to neurological societies and other medical conferences, such as the International Society of Disaster Medicine. Arranged alphabetically by society or conference title. The bulk stem from the American Academy of Neurological Surgery, with meetings arranged chronologically.

    • Papers, lectures, and book chapters, 1953 - 2003

      Scope and Content:

      Drafts, typescripts, published articles, clinical research proposals, opening statements, academic papers and research proposals; abstracts and abstract proposals for presentations; lectures; book chapters; and book reviews; and includes photographic prints, slides, negatives and x-rays in this sub-series. Photographs often consist of illustrations accompanying academic papers or presentations. They have been removed and filed after the paper for preservation purposes. Topics often concern the orbital apex. Information includes the title, names of co-authors, and professional organization, often the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. They are arranged in rough chronological order, the original order maintained by Housepian. Includes his dissertation Thalamic control of corticospinal neuron activity, written as an unsuccessful candidate for the Doctor of Medical Science degree at Columbia University. Housepian is the assumed author for all writings in this sub-series, with co-authors listed. Some folders contain the same papers or titles, but were filed separately by place and time of presentation, or in abstract and proposed form.

      Of note are lecture notes for thalamus-related courses held in the Soviet Union (1965).

    • Visiting professorships and trips, 1965 - 2010

      Scope and Content:

      Correspondence, notes, travel documents, brochures, and programs document Houspian’s visiting professorships and other academic engagements overseas, arranged chronologically and beginning with his trip to the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Moscow and Yerevan, along with visits to Turkey (1965). Papers and lectures written by Housepian resulting from these engagements are found in the preceding sub-series with his other academic writings. The bulk date from the 1960s with one trip to India in 1981-1982 and Yerevan in 2010. Additional travel to Armenia that relates to the earthquake relief effort is found in the “Armenia” series.

  • Department of Neurological Surgery / Neurological Institute, 1950 - 2009

    Scope and Content:

    Arranged into six sub-series: General; Clinical Research; Columbia-Presbyterian Physician Network; Courses; Facilities; and Faculty.

    • General, 1967 - 2009

      Scope and Content:

      Correspondence, memos, committee minutes, reports and other materials document the nursing shortage crisis at the Neurological Institute (1981-1985). In addition, contains the by-laws for the Department of Neurological Surgery (1972-1993); routine correspondence and announcements from College of Physicians and Surgeons Dean Gerald Fischbach (1989-2005); awards and memoranda; lecture expense; financial reports; and video abstracts. Includes criticism of the Dean’s tax rate—fee charged to Neurological Institute physicians engaged in private practice for use of the facilities, as prescribed in the by-laws. Of note is a list of neurosurgical nomenclature for data processing (1968).

    • Clinical research, 1950-1990s

      Scope and Content:

      Grant applications, research proposals, academic papers, articles and research literature, correspondence, reports, stereotaxic apparatus catalogs and price lists, and photographic prints and slides document clinical research and, more specifically, the work of the Clinical Cancer Research Center. Contains surgical photographs identified by patient (1970s-1990s).

    • Columbia Presbyterian Physician Network, 1989 - 1996

      Scope and Content:

      Board of Directors agreements, correspondence, and policies for entity managing participating Presbyterian physicians. Of note is the standard fee schedule to apply for various procedures (1989-1996).

    • Courses, 1995-2008

      Scope and Content:

      Expense reports, institutional and student rosters, printed brochures and programs, and correspondence document the annual post-graduate review course in Basic and Clinical Neuroscience (PM1), also known as post-graduate medicine course, with one course in translational neuroscience. Includes correspondence documenting efforts in providing online courses through Digital Knowledge Ventures (DKV).

    • Facilities, 1963 - 2008

      Scope and Content:

      Expense reports, institutional and student rosters, printed brochures and programs, and correspondence document the annual post-graduate review course in Basic and Clinical Neuroscience (PM1), also known as post-graduate medicine course, with one course in translational neuroscience. Includes correspondence documenting efforts in providing online courses through Digital Knowledge Ventures (DKV).

    • Faculty, 1979 - 2010

      Scope and Content:

      This sub-series contains correspondence, programs, obituaries, clippings and biographical information for select faculty memorials and memorial funds, professorships, and their biographical files.

  • Office of International Affiliations, 1984 - 2010

    Scope and Content:

    This series contains files stemming from Housepian’s role as Special Advisor in the Office of International Affiliations, within the Office of Columbia’s Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. Includes formal affiliation agreements between Columbia University and foreign schools of medicine, establishing an exchange policy for students at these institutions. The bulk of the agreements are with the College of Physicians and Surgeons, but some are with the College of Dental Medicine, School of Nursing, or Columbia University Health Sciences. Relationships that did not result in a formal agreement are arranged as “proposals,” “meetings,” or “visits.”