(All fields required)
Please enter a valid email.
Please enter your name.
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is proud of its rich history of excellence in pediatric healthcare – a tradition that stretches all the way back to 1883. We’re the home of major developments and discoveries, including the science of teratology (the study of birth defects), the oral polio vaccine, artificial blood, the heart-lung machine, new lung surfactant replacement and the rotavirus vaccine. Today, we’ve grown to become one of the nation’s largest pediatric facilities, training programs and research institutions. Children’s staff members serve as the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Our treatment of rare and complex conditions draws patients from every state and dozens of other countries.
To preserve our great history of treatments for rare and complex conditions, the medical center has produced a series of interviews with distinguished faculty and people who have made medical history.
Dr. Sabin, one of the great virologists, helped to end the worldwide polio epidemic of the 20th century. Sabin (1906-1993) was born in a part of Russia that later became Poland and immigrated to the United States in 1921 as a young teen-ager. After graduating from high school in New Jersey, Sabin entered a dental program before deciding he’d rather try medicine. He describes himself as a “very bad” student at New York University medical school and says he flunked several classes.Training at Bellevue Hospital, he published a paper on pneumonia while a first-year medical student. A turning point in his life was the polio epidemic in New York City in 1931. He went on to England for a fellowship and studied immunity. After returning to New York, he joined the Rockefeller Institute, and became interested in the entry portal for the polio virus in humans.
In 1939, he accepted an offer to come to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Research Foundation because the hospital offered him something he wanted – access to patients. “My job was to study infectious disease,” he said, but he kept his focus on polio as well.
Sabin became an expert on toxoplasmosis, encephalitis, dengue fever and sand-fly fever. During World War II, he joined the U.S. Army and developed vaccines that were used around the world.
After the war, using a live polio virus, his study subjects included prisoners in Chillicothe, OH, and his own children. In 1960, he carried out one of the nation’s largest studies when tens of thousands of school children in Cincinnati were vaccinated. Sabin said that no individuals should have to pay to receive his polio vaccine, and no one did.
Interviewed by Drs. Benjamin Felson and Saul Benison and recorded in 1979.
View this video.
This interview was produced and kindly made available by the Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions as part of its Oral History Series.
Dr. Warkany, born in Vienna, Austria, is recognized as the father of teratology, the study of birth defects. He wrote a classic book, Congenital Malformations, which he illustrated with his own etchings. Warkany started out studying rickets, dystrophies and thymic problems before shifting to congenital and chromosomal anomalies and mental retardation. He is credited with discovering the cause – mercury in infants’ teething powder and worm treatment − of acrodynia. His work proving that birth defects involved riboflavin deficiency in pregnant animals was groundbreaking. Warkany warmly remembers his friend Albert Sabin. “We could not have worked together for one day. He would have thrown me out the second day. … I work with feeling and good luck and so on, and he was such a perfectionist. He knew exactly what he was doing. I never knew what I was doing.” Interviewed by Drs. Benjamin Felson and William K. Schubert and recorded in 1980.
View this video.This interview was produced and kindly made available by the Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions as part of its Oral History Series.
Dr. Silverman, the son of an itinerant peddler, became the first chief radiologist at Cincinnati Children’s and one of the world’s leading clinical scientists. Silverman used radiological evidence to detect child abuse in emergency room cases. He was the discoverer of “unrecognized skeletal trauma,” also known as battered child syndrome. Silverman was a pioneer in radiation hazard in children, an expert on pediatric congenital syndromes, especially as they relate to bones, and he identified pseudoachondroplasia, also known as Silverman’s disease. He was senior editor of Pediatric X-Ray Diagnosis. Interviewed by Drs. Benjamin Felson and Samuel Kaplan and recorded in 1983.
About the doctor, recorded in 1985.
Dr. Kaplan, director of cardiology at Cincinnati Children’s, pioneered the discipline of pediatric cardiology, including cardiac catheterization and echocardiography. Kaplan was part of a three-man team to perfect the world’s first heart-lung machine, which allowed open heart surgery to be performed. Kaplan’s wife, Molly, tells the story of when her husband decided to push the heart-lung machine through the street over to University Hospital. The hospital later sent a garbage truck to help Kaplan transport the machine. Interviewed by Drs. William Gerhardt and David Schwartz and recorded in 1987.
Dr. Warkany was director of human genetics and teratology research at Children’s Hospital Research Foundation from 1932-78.
Research opportunities were better at Children’s than the hospital Warkany worked at in Vienna. When he asked his Austrian director for a new rabbit for vitamin D and phosphorus research, he was turned down because, “You have already one.” In Cincinnati, there was no limit on rabbits and rats. But administration was a small affair. “There was one lady … who took care of the finances of the Children’s Hospital and the research foundation.”
He says he rejects the tribute that he is the “father of teratology,” because in fact it’s a concept that is thousands of years old. His life’s goal was prevention of congenital malformations and mental retardation.
Interviewed by Drs. William Gerhardt and Peter St. John Dignan and recorded in 1987.
Dr. Sabin was director of virology at Children’s Hospital Research Foundation from 1939-1969. Sabin describes the environment of the foundation when he arrived – very strong in bacteriology but not virology. He led the foundation to study polio, toxoplasmosis, encephalitis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and neurotropic viruses. As one means of increasing his understanding of polio, Sabin participated in autopsies of children who died of polio in a 300-mile radius around Cincinnati. He realized that polio was involved with the intestines. After developing vaccines for the Army during World War II, Sabin returned to Cincinnati and worked to develop a tissue-culture operation that proved the huge differences in polio strains and viral behavior. Sabin realized that the usefulness of experimenting on monkeys and chimpanzees was coming to an end and that human volunteers were needed. Interviewed by Drs. William K. Schubert and Thomas Forristal and recorded in 1987.
Dr. Pratt served as chief of staff, director of the Children’s Hospital Research Foundation, chairman of the Department of Pediatrics and executive director of the medical center. He graduated from MIT and Harvard Medical School (“I thought it was easy compared with MIT,” he said.) His early interests included research on fluids and electrolytes, renal water requirements, diarrheal disease and amino-acid metabolism. One of his favorite developments in pediatrics was “getting the babies away from the obstetricians.” He played a key role in the development and heritage of Children’s research efforts, and the library at the medical center bears his name. Interviewed by Drs. William Gerhardt and William Schubert and recorded in 1987.
Dr. West, director of nephrology, became an expert in electrolytes and fluids − important for treating diarrheal outbreaks and diabetes – early in his career. In the late 1950s, he developed an interest in immunology, eventually leading to major discoveries involving the abnormalities in the complement system in glomerulonephritis. Interviewed by Drs. William Gerhardt and Paul McEnery and recorded in 1987.
Veterans of pediatric practice remember the World War II years and the days before vaccines were available to treat common illness. Dr. DeVaux recounts what it’s like to work with a future Nobel Prize winner, Dr. D. Carleton Gajdusek. Dr. Englender was the first to use penicillin on a patient in Cincinnati. Years later, she started the Diagnostic Clinic for Retarded Children. Englender and DeVaux were colleagues of Dr. Albert Sabin. Interviewed by Dr. William Gerhardt and recorded in 1988
Dr. Shirkey, attending physician, pediatrician and pharmacist, wrote Pediatric Drug Handbook and Pediatric Dosage Handbook and edited Pediatric Therapy. He remembers A. Graeme Mitchell as being the guiding spirit behind the success and growth of Cincinnati Children’s. Shirkey started the cystic fibrosis clinic at Children’s. He went on to establish a children’s hospital in Birmingham, AL, and, “All I had to do was follow the policies here,” with the philosophy of emphasizing patient care, education and research.He tells the story of how he got ipecac syrup returned as an over-the-counter medication as an antidote for poisoning (not recommended today). Shirkey introduced the concept of relating dosing for infants and children to surface area and produced square meter conversion charts. He laments that not enough attention is paid to pediatric pharmacology. Interviewed by Drs. William Schubert and William Gerhardt and recorded in 1988.
Dr. Ghory, director of the Division of Pediatric Allergy and an attending pediatrician in private practice since 1943, had polio as an infant, an experience that made him want to help children. Before Dr. Albert Sabin started to work on the polio vaccine, he developed other vaccines. He often used pediatric residents and house staff as test subjects. Dr. Ghory says, “It’s very comforting to me to know that I’m immune to dengue fever and Japanese B encephalitis.” After studying allergy treatment, Ghory developed the idea of short-term rehabilitation for treating asthma. Interviewed by Drs. Robert Ausdenmoore and James Englert and recorded in 1988.
Dr. Martin, director of the Department of Pediatric Surgery, remembers when having four emergency cases in a day was a busy day. Martin recalls performing Ohio’s first kidney transplant, a procedure that hospital leaders were skeptical about, in 1965. Martin developed surgeries for total colonic aganglionosis and ulcerative colitis. He also remembers how the pediatric intensive care unit was born one night. Interviewed by Drs. Clark West and Joseph Cox and recorded in 1988
Dr. Perlman, director of pediatric orthopaedics, grew up in New Haven, CT, home of Yale University, which he graduated from in 1935. He wanted to attend medical school there, but didn’t due in part to “ethnic overtones.” He founded the Cincinnati Children’s cerebral palsy clinic, which bears his name, and became an internationally recognized leader in the field. He also played important roles in treatment of muscular dystrophy, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, scoliosis and physical disabilities and worked in orthopaedic oncology. Time and again, Dr. Perlman recalls the richness of his friendships, even joking that whenever he had some professional success, it was just because he had a lot of friends. Interviewed by Drs. William Gerhardt and Bernie Gilman and recorded in 1988
Dr. Silverman was director of roentgenology (the science of radiation) from 1947-1975. After serving in the South Pacific in World War II, he was drawn to radiology because it was a window into all the cases going on in the medical center. Silverman was noted for having a close and collaborative relationship with cardiology, something that often didn’t exist elsewhere. The first time Silverman participated in cardiac catheterization and the contract dye was injected, “I was scared. You went ahead in those days with very little experience and very little direction. You can’t do that today – wisely.” Silverman also discusses his contribution to the use of radiology in detecting child abuse. “I laid it on the line about there being inflicted injury. I didn’t know enough to be concerned about any legal action in saying that.” Interviewed by Drs. Samuel Kaplan and Janet Strife and recorded in 1989.
Dr. Rauh, born in 1902, graduated from Wellesley College and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and practiced pediatrics for more than 50 years. In 1934, she and Dr. Robert Lyon established the newborn service at Cincinnati General Hospital and the pediatric cardiology clinics at both Cincinnati General and Cincinnati Children’s. In 1939, she and Lyon founded the Children’s Heart Association. Rauh ran University Hospital’s pediatric cardiology clinic for more than 50 years. She worked in neighborhood clinics with the Babies’ Milk Fund Association and helped to improve the health conditions of poor children in Cincinnati and rural areas and of migrant farm workers. A scholarship for a fourth-year UC medical student bears her name. Interviewed by Drs. William Gerhardt and Jennifer Loggie and recorded in 1989.
Dr. Nelson, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine and director of the medical service under Dr. A. Graeme Mitchell, started his career as a ward orderly. During the 1920s and early 1930s, Children’s catered to what Nelson calls the “carriage trade,” and the hospital census was quite small. Most city residents were inclined to go to the old Cincinnati General Hospital for treatment. In the mid-1930s, in a major policy shift, Children’s sought a more diverse patient population, and growth took off. After moving to Philadelphia, Nelson went on to write a classic medical textbook, Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, and to be the editor of the Journal of Pediatrics for nearly 20 years. Interviewed by Drs. William Schubert, Clark West and Nelson Ryan and recorded in 1989.
Dr. Rubinstein, founder and director of the Cincinnati Center for Developmental Disorders, received international attention for describing Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome. Over the years, his philosophy was that the center had to keep growing and treating more patients, with more complex problems, to stay relevant. “You can’t stay the same size and exist,” he says. “You have to do what people want or you lose your reputation very rapidly.” He has great hopes for the development of computer-assisted devices to help developmentally disabled children with communication. Interviewed by Drs. Sonya Oppenheimer and Lusia Hornstein andrecorded in 1989.
Dr. Berdon, of Columbia University Medical Center, recounts the early days and development of pediatric radiology. He discusses some of his important work, including papers on necrotizing enterocolitis and pulmonary hypoplasia. Berdon was a visiting professor at Cincinnati Children’s. Interviewed by Donald Kirks, director of radiology at Cincinnati Children’s and recorded in 1991.
Dr. Kellogg, director of the Chronic Pulmonary Disease and Cystic Fibrosis Clinic, enjoyed working with junior medical students and precepting. He is very hopeful that the growing field of genetics will bring a cure for cystic fibrosis. Interviewed by Drs. William Gerhardt and Robert Ingberg and recorded in 1991.
Dr. Silverman, a pioneer of pediatric radiology, discusses the advances in technology and procedures he’s seen – and in some cases created – over the years. “We learned a lot; we did a lot. And I don’t think we did too much harm.” Interviewed by Dr. Donald Kirks and recorded in 1991.
Dr. Schubert, president and chief executive officer of Cincinnati Children’s, worked as a researcher on iron deficiency anemia, protein-losing enteropathy, the ultrastructure of the liver and exchange transfusion for children with Reye syndrome. Schubert helped lead an expansion of the Department of Pediatrics, founding the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, and growth of the medical center. During one tumultuous episode, the board of trustees proposed sending all indigent children who come into the emergency room to General Hospital instead. Eventually, the issue was settled with the Hamilton County Health and Hospital tax levy, which funded the treatment of indigent children at Children’s. Interviewed by Drs. Clark D. West and Herbert C. Flessa and recorded in 1991.
Berry, professor of pediatrics and director of the Metabolic Disease Center at Cincinnati Children’s, worked in the early days of metabolic patterns and experimented with the effects of diet and nutrition on health. She worked on the first trials of low-phenolic diets for treatment of phenylketonuria. “My reputation is based on methods,” she says, and her philosophy was to make things as simple as possible. Berry also identified a nutritional aspect to cystic fibrosis. Interviewed by Dr. William Gerhardt and Melanie Hunt and recorded in 1991.
Dr. Lampkin, director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology / Oncology, remembers when pediatricians rarely saw patients with cancerous tumors. The young patients were instead treated by surgeons. Over the years, she helped to develop the field of pediatric oncology. Her proudest accomplishments are her staff members’ success, the fellows she trained and the division’s long-term patient survivors. Interviewed by Drs. Ralph Gruppo and Cynthia Delaat and recorded in 1991
About the center, recorded in 1992.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Drs. Krug, Wolf and Maloney discuss child and adolescent psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s, recorded in 1995.
About the doctors, recorded in 1995.
Dr. Loggie, director of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and medical director of pharmacy service, established the division that included the first clinic in the country solely for hypertensive children. She also helped to bring about the Cincinnati Drug and Poison Information Center. Dr. Donaldson, research immunologist, is a distinguished medical investigator who was the first woman president of the Central Society for Clinical Research. Interviewed by Dr. William Gerhardt and recorded in 1996
About the division, recorded in 1997.
Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health ProfessionalsUniversity of Cincinnati LibrariesOral History SeriesWilliam J. Gerhardt , MD Interviewed by John McDonough, MD Joan Linhardt, MD
About William J. Gerhardt, MDDr. Gerhardt was born in the Westwood community of Cincinnati, where he was educated, raised a family of three sons, and still lives. He practiced pediatrics in that same community and. spent 38 ½ years working with wonderful families and children. Dr. Gearhardt has fond memories and deep satisfaction of those special years. He is proud of his association with the UC College of Medicine, proud of his M.D. from there 47 years ago, and proud of his clinical professorship title from there. He has also been privileged to be a member of the attending staff of the Children's Hospital Medical Center for forty years. Dr. Gerhardt has been a member of several staff committees, and continues to serve on the Staff Bulletin Committee and is Chairman of the Historical Committee of the Medical Staff. He served as Chairman of the Utilization Committee, a member of the Executive Committee, and President of the Medical Staff in 1978. He has been involved in the teaching program of medical students, residents, student nurses, and PNAs in training. For the past twenty years, Dr. Gerhardt has been the Children's Hospital Medical Center historian, writing regularly in the Staff Bulletin, and also wrote the Children's Hospital one hundred year history for several publications at the time of the centennial celebration in 1983. He has written a detailed history of the Edward L. Pratt, M.D. era (1963-1979). He founded and has maintained the Cincinnati Pediatric Historical Society and it's Hall of Honor with 261 portraits and 157 biographical sketches. He maintains the Mitchell/Nelson History Museum and. Library, the Gail S. Englender Infant Feeder display, and the time-line of Children's Hospital history for the past eleven decades.
Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2012Duration: 1:13:30
View the Video
3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229-3026 | 1-513-636-4200 | 1-800-344-2462 | TTY:1-513-636-4900
New to Cincinnati Children’s or live outside of the Tristate area? 1-877-881-8479
© 1999-2013 Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center