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The Alan Gregg Papers

Memorandum for Officers Conference pdf (203,092 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Memorandum for Officers Conference
Gregg recommends funding neurology at McGill University.
Number of Image Pages:
3 (203,092 Bytes)
1931-11-30 (November 30, 1931)
Gregg, Alan
Original Repository: Rockefeller Archive Center. Rockefeller Foundation Archives
Reproduced with permission of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Research Support as Topic
Exhibit Category:
Director of Medical Sciences, 1930-1945
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Memorandum for Officers Conference:
A request has been received from the Principal of: McGill University for aid in the development of clinical neurology, neurosurgery and the physiology and pathology of the nervous system. Space for laboratory work in psychiatry is included in the project. The request is for a contribution only to research and/or teaching facilities and maintenance, the clinical facilities and maintenance and part of the research and teaching expenses being guaranteed by McGill University. The following facts are presented:
(1) It is well known that until the development of neurosurgery the status of teaching and research in neurology in North America has been conspicuously behind that in other countries. Excepting neurosurgery it can be said that on this continent we are still seriously defective in facilities and personnel for the investigation and teaching of the diseases of the nervous system. At Harvard and at Chicago there are developments in neurology along promising lines but in the other schools there cannot be said to exist the clinical and laboratory facilities and the personnel equal to giving neurology the development which it needs and would reward. The contributions of American surgery to neurology are of very great importance, but until properly balanced neurological clinics can be developed to assimilate it, modern neurosurgery will be more of a challenge to neurologists abroad than a part of neurology at home. This is especially true of the English speaking world and it is reasonable to expect that a Canadian university would present especially favorable opportunities for influencing both English and American neurology. With psychiatry, neurology has a common interest in the anatomy, the physiology, and the pathology of the nervous system, and if theory were to neglect nevertheless practice would emphasize the importance of neurology to the study of mental disease.
(2) The present effort in developing neurology at McGill University began about ten years ago with the appointment of two clinical professors. Reorganization of the department in 1928 resulted in the appointment of Drs. Penfield and Cone in the intent to develop investigation and neurosurgery. Dr. Pearce foresaw the further development of the department when he arranged for a special traveling fellowship for Dr. Penfield and consented to the allocation to the neurological department of parts of the RF grants to McGill in medicine and surgery. Dr. Penfield is forty years old. His training with Cushing, Sherrington, Cajal, and Foerster and at Queen's Square has been unusually thorough. This training, together with his ability and his charades resulted in a call to the professorship of neurology at the Univ. of Pennsylvania in the autumn of 1931. He is a highly valuable figure in the field of North American neurology. He has able assistants and in spite of great overcrowding in the present quarters, where one table must serve two or three workers, Penfield has attracted six young men on fellowships from five countries for work in various phases of neurology. The budget of 1930-1931 was for $32,418, of which almost half came from gifts of patients. Continuance after 1933 without other aid will be impossible at more than the present level. Aside from the great interest of Professor Archibald (surgery) in the continuance of neurosurgical work in the Department of Neurology, and the cooperation of Prof. Meakins in according beds for medical neurology, two other professors at McGill are eager to cooperate in the further development of neurology: Prof, Babkin a former pupil of Pavlov, as research professor in the field of conditioned reflexes and Prof. Beattie in anatomical studies of the sympathetic nervous system. It would now be within the policy and purposes of the Royal Victoria Hospital to have a service for psychiatry as part of the hospital and a step in this direction is taken in the present project in affording quarters in the proposed building for experimental work in psychiatry to Dr. Slight, who is in charge of psychiatry at McGill.
(3) The request is for aid in the construction, furnishing, and equipment of laboratory quarters in a seven-story wing of the Royal Victoria Hospital, and for aid in the endowment of the research activities in neurology. Detailed estimates and plans have been submitted which show the following suggested distribution of costs for the building (in Canadian dollars):
University - Royal Victoria Hospital - Rockefeller Foundation
1. Building* - $172,336 - 0 - $172,336
2. Furnishing - 70,000 - 0 - 0
3. Unforeseen 1 and 2 - 25,800 - 0 - 25,800
4. Sc. Equipment - 0 - 0 - 34,516
S. Land - 0 - $ 32,000 - 0
Totals - $268,136 - $32,000 - $232,652
*Contains as estimated $413,832 cubic feet and cost per cu. ft. is $0.957
For maintenance the following division is suggested (Canadian dollars):
The RF is asked for:
The University guarantees:
Yearly - Capital represented - Yearly - Capitalized at 5%
Maintenance of bldg. - $12,000 - $240,000
Hospital charges for 32 free beds - 18,000 - 360,000
Research & teaching 5,000 - 100,000 - $56,450 - $1,129,000
Totals - $35,000 - $700,000 - $56,450 - $1,129,000
The total is thus:
McGill Univ. - Rockefeller Foundation
Land, building, and equipment - $300,136 - $232,652
Furnishings & unforeseen capitalization of maintenance - 700,000 - 1,129,000
Totals - $1,000,136 - $1,361,652
(4) It is believed that a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to meet the request of the University of McGill would make possible a valuable institute of neurology. Such institutions are an integral need of the development of training and research in the field of mental and nervous diseases. The location in Canada is advantageous to the advancement of new developments in neurology throughout the English-speaking world. The local guarantees and promises of support both financial and scientific are unusual. The director is a man of considerable ability and great influence as a leader, with a first-rate training although only forty years old. The proposed facilities and maintenance are planned with especial reference to intensive research work and the provisions for advanced training are such as to make possible an important influence by this institute in the preparation of teachers and investigators.
Capital grant for 7 yrs. maintenance for research and teaching with stated possibility of review at the end of this period
$232,652 - $395,150
Reduction - to $45,000
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