The study of the history of medicine in Oberlin by a retired local doctor was unveiled in the form of a wall exhibit that adorns a hallway in the newly constructed Chuang Medical Center at Mercy Health Allen Hospital, 200 W. Lorain St.
Officially known as the Oberlin Medical History Wall, the research of the former Oberlin Clinic, Dr. Jeanne McKibben, is broken down into short written accounts from some of the region’s most influential healthcare providers.
This is coupled with photos and reproductions of other artifacts related to medicine in Oberlin.
The exhibit was officially recognized in a ceremony on November 29.
Julie Min and Ryan Sprowl designed the wall in collaboration with McKibben.
McKibben said it’s important to preserve history.
She did this by creating her own Oberlin Medicine Story via video interviews, which she had turned into short documentaries that can be viewed on YouTube.
McKibben, who practiced internal and geriatric medicine from 1979 to 2004 at the Oberlin Clinic, said she decided to film interviews with doctors in Oberlin as part of her career as a filmmaker, which dated back to the filming of her children playing.
McKibben, who attended undergraduate school at Cornell University and Michigan State University School of Medicine, said she had interviewed 40 different people related to the history of medicine in Oberlin.
She said it’s important that the story be “made accessible to people,” which Oberlin’s medical history wall display does for those who record it.
Oberlin’s first doctor was James Dascomb, and the first hospital opened in 1907.
Both receive a blanket on the wall.
Perhaps the most famous doctor in the region is Dudely Peter Allen.
Allen and his wife, Elisabeth Severance, paid for the Oberlin Art Museum and Hospital and the couple are also well represented on the wall.
Severance was the daughter of oil magnate John Severance.
“It’s a rich history that a lot of people don’t know,” Min said of the Oberlin exhibition and medical history.
Oberlin, always a hotbed of progressive thought and politics, had female physicians during the early years, which stretched from 1865 to 1892, and at least one Métis physician during the same period.
McKibben makes sure the story stays alive.
“She has truly dedicated her life to making sure the community knows this story,” Min said.