Campaign Aims to Preserve Cincinnati's Medical Past
Published February 2008
A new fundraising campaign at the UC Academic Health Center might hold the key to preserving the region’s medical heritage.
Board members of the Center for the History of the Health Professions (CHHP), with the help of local supporters, are working to raise $575,000 to offset the costs of building the center’s new home.
The 5,300-square-foot construction project is currently under way in the College of Medicine’s Medical Sciences Building (MSB).
Money raised will allow planners to expand the original blueprints to include modern equipment and furnishings commonly found in historic preservation libraries. It also will add an extra 3,800 square feet of environmentally sound storage space on the MSB’s R-level.
Part of UC’s Academic Infor-mation Technology and Libraries (AIT&L) department, the CHHP is the region’s largest library of medical archives, including rare artifacts, manuscripts, journals, photographs and artwork. Founded in 1974, the center is supported solely by private donations.
"We have long needed new space to house the ever-growing collections of the center,” says Roger Guard, chief information officer and assistant senior vice president of AIT&L.
"Some of our most interesting artifacts can’t be properly displayed because of the current housing area, but we plan to change that.”
The CHHP is currently located on the basement floor of the College of Pharmacy’s Wherry Hall on Eden Avenue. It is expected to move into its new space, located across from the dean’s suite on the MSB E-level, later this year.
This latest fundraising effort is the second stage of the center’s $3.7 million capital campaign. The first stage, which began in 2004, reached its $285,000 goal last June—thanks largely to a $100,000 gift made in honor of Stanley Lucas, MD, a 1951 College of Medicine alumnus, by his wife Judith Lucas and their son, Daniel Lucas, MD.
The gift helped fund the center’s Stanley Lucas Room, a meeting and reception area on the MSB E-level where some of the center’s most important pieces will be displayed.
Guard says nearly $100,000 has been raised since the second stage launched in September.
"This center wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for our donors,” adds Henry Winkler, PhD, one of the CHHP’s chief fundraisers and president emeritus at UC.
"With their support, the center is able to preserve significant pieces of medical history and provide an important resource for the community, and for scientists and medical historians worldwide.”
With the building funding secured, fundraisers are now focused on garnering enough capital to pay for the operational details, such as providing adequate lighting, compact storage and an upgraded climate control system—all important factors for protecting the center’s delicate collection.
"We have been working hard to raise enough money to allow us to build an environmentally safe area to preserve these important pieces,” says John McDonough, MD, chair of the CHHP advisory board.
"We have been fortunate that our donors have seen the value in our efforts by providing us with much-needed financial support. We believe others will follow suit.”
However, when the dust settles and the CHHP finally moves into the new space, McDonough says the fundraising won’t be over.
Through additional campaigns, the CHHP board hopes to increase the center’s endowment by $3 million, which will allow the center to financially sustain itself and hire a center director and professional archivist.
"The CHHP is the historic, scholarly repository for all of the health professions, not just medicine,” says McDonough.
"As our researchers—whether a nurse, dietician or physician—continue to make advances in health care, the center’s collection will continue to grow. We have to be prepared to meet future needs.”