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Edgar M. Housepian papers

Augustus C. Long Health Sciences Library
Archives & Special Collections

701 W. 168th Street
New York, NY 10032
http://library-archives.cumc.columbia.edu/

Inclusive Date: 1950 - 2010

Housepian, Edgar M.

20 cubic feet

(47 boxes + 1 film reel, 1 u-matic tape, 2 cassette tapes, 1 floppy disk)

English

Armenian

Russian

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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Collection Details

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.

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.

Collection Access & Use

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.

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.

Collection Subjects & Formats

Chronology

Download Container List:



Series : Biographical and personal

Date: 1956 - 2010

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.

Series : Armenia

Date: 1975 - 2010

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.

Subseries : Armenian Disaster Relief

Date: 1988 - 2010

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.

Subseries : Topics

Date: 1975 - 2010

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.

Series : Correspondence

Date: 1962 - 2010

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

Subseries : Chronological

Date: 1962 - 1968

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.

Subseries : Chronological

Date: 1994 - 2010

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.

Subseries : Rabble

Date: 1970 - 2005

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.

Subseries : A-Z

Date: 1966 - 2009

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

Series : Professional

Date: 1964 - 2010

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

Subseries : General

Date: 1964 - 2010

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

Subseries : Conferences and professional organziations

Date: 1960 - 2010

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.

Subseries : Papers, lectures, and book chapters

Date: 1953 - 2003

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.

Subseries : Visiting professorships and trips

Date: 1965 - 2010

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.

Series : Department of Neurological Surgery / Neurological Institute

Date: 1950 - 2009

Subseries : General

Date: 1967 - 2009

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).

Subseries : Clinical research

Date: 1950-1990s

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).

Subseries : Columbia Presbyterian Physician Network

Date: 1989 - 1996

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).

Subseries : Courses

Date: 1995-2008

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).

Subseries : Facilities

Date: 1963 - 2008

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).

Subseries : Faculty

Date: 1979 - 2010

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

Series : Office of International Affiliations

Date: 1984 - 2010

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.”