As Dr. Wolfe summarized in text for the exhibit, Flexner reported that the college’s clinical facilities were “hardly more than nominal.”Flexner further noted, “There are no ward visits. The students see no contagious diseases; obstetrical work is precarious; of postmortems there is no mention.” Of laboratory facilities, he critically observed that there was “no museum, no books, no charts, models, etc.” To top those observations, Flexner’s general opinion of the two medical colleges in Arkansas at the time was that “neither has a single redeeming feature.”
The next year the struggling Medical Department merged with a competing private medical college. The chief visible sign of the merger was moving all preclinical medical instruction to the recently vacated Old State House at 300 West Markham Street.
For the next 23 years, students took the first two years of medical instruction within the Old State House. The election of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal legislation of the 1930s finally brought Arkansas funds to build a medical school that would meet all the deficits Flexner noted so acidly in 1910. The institution that moved from the Old State House to its fourth site on McAlmont Street had transformed itself into a modern form.
“The New Deal provided the means to perfect the vision that had been in the minds of Arkansas’ medical educators since their response to the Flexner report,” Dr. Wolfe wrote. “This exhibit is notable because it is important as we proceed into the future that we build on the work of our past — that we are certain to preserve those things, those papers and those images that constitute the memory of ourselves as UAMS.”
The Old State House is a museum of the state Department of Arkansas Heritage.
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Old State House Exhibit Is on Arkansas Medical Education exportuser 2018-01-05T08:58:04+00:00