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The Donald S. Fredrickson Papers

[Personal reminiscence on being President of the Institute of Medicine] pdf (85,767 Bytes) transcript of pdf
[Personal reminiscence on being President of the Institute of Medicine]
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1 (85,767 Bytes)
1997-04-21 (April 21, 1997)
Fredrickson, Donald S.
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Biographical Information
Box Number: 39
Folder Number: 46
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Series: Professional Activities, 1958-2000
SubSeries: President, Institute of Medicine, 1971-1997
Folder: [Memoirs], 1971-1990
President of the Institute of Medicine
(May, 1974 to June, 1975)
"I've a good-sized personal investment in the history of the Institute of Medicine. It includes one of the important turning points in my career. Someone might view it as merely the briefest stopping point, considering that I served as IOM president for only a year. But I had been exposed to the attractions of an "academy of medicine" well before I walked away in 1974 from a twenty-year career in clinical investigation and a large laboratory at NIH in the peak of its productivity. At the time I explained the move as resulting from an irresistible compulsion to "listen to other drums", the yielding to a powerful urge to explore the other sides of my profession as a physician . . . " [from IOM: Memoires a L'Accouchment, essay written in June, 1990, copy deposited in the Library of the National Academy of Sciences. Also essays1\iomanniv.f90.]
From the first days of my term as the second-president of this very young institution, I became engaged in helping it fit into the context of a venerable Academy of Sciences, fatigued from having just accommodated an Academy of Engineering to the "academy complex". The academicians were not a little suspicious of what to do with a group of physicians whose concept of membership was uncomfortably eclectic. As a member of the Academy of Sciences, I had the good fortune of not being a total outsider, and had just begun to thrive in this new medium when the Directorship of the NIH became suddenly empty, with the departure of Dr. Robert S. Stone, after a term of about a year.
"It was early in January 1975 when I took the telephone call from the White House in my office in the Institute of Medicine (IOM) . . . The caller was a Mr. Howard Cohen, a young lawyer on detail assisting the Ford Administration . . . "Your name is on the lists of candidates for Assistant Secretary of Health (ASH) and for Director of NIH," said Cohen. He asked if I would be willing to come over to talk. I agreed, but reminded him that I had been president of IOM for only six months and wasn't seeking a new position . . . " [from Interlude at IOM, Memoir Chapter 3.]
I left the IOM the day before I took the oath of office as Director of NIH. It was administered at NIH by DHEW Secretary Weinberger in the presence of President Ford on July 1, 1975.
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