Special Collections in the History of Medicine
New Jersey Neurosurgical Society
Arranged and Described By:
The records of the New Jersey Neurosurgical Society date from the Society's founding in 1960 and include records dated through 1998. The collection totals 2.25 linear feet. The records are open for research without restrictions under the conditions of the Archives' access policy.
The New Jersey Neurosurgical Society was started in 1960 by a small group of neurosurgeons in New Jersey. The physicians organized themselves to meet routinely in each other's homes to discuss matters related to the neurosurgical field. The first meeting of the Society was held at the home of Dr. Bob Green in October 1960. Guests invited to the first meeting of the New Jersey Neurosurgical Society, along with their spouses, included: Sam Critides, MD, Tom Fitch, MD, Bob Kuhn, MD, Henry Liss, MD, Howard Medinets, MD, Harold Somberg, MD, Stanely Stellar, MD, Bernie Sussman, MD, Bernie Walker, MD, and Frank Wood, MD. Three additional guests invited to the first meeting, but unable to attend were Bill Ehrilich, MD, Mike Pierce, MD, and Jerry Winokur, MD. At the first meeting, Tom Fitch, MD was elected as first President and Bob Green, MD was elected as the first Secretary.
The early organizational structure in the 1960s of the Society was informal. Meetings were held on a rotational basis in various members' homes. The physicians discussed case reports, new techniques used in their practice, and problems they encountered in the neurosurgical field.
The Society grew in the late 1960s and the standard for entrance as a member of the Society expanded to include Board eligibility in the State of New Jersey (yet a few exceptions were made).
Meetings in the late 1960s and early 1970s were moved from being held at members' homes to central meeting places in the center of the state to make commuting easier for physicians traveling from North and South Jersey. The Society also formalized by creating by-laws and complying with the state's regulations for a non-profit organization.
One of the first crucial problems for the New Jersey Neurosurgical Society was experienced during the 1970s: should the Society split between North and South Jersey? Dr. Bob Green felt this would not be beneficial and, in the early 1970s in an attempt to keep the Society united, he nominated Dr. Larry Strenger from Atlantic City to become President. The election of Dr. Strenger did unite the Society once again.
The next major issue faced by the Society was the malpractice crisis experienced by physicians in 1974. The Society worked on its members' behalf in dealing with insurance companies. Since 1974, the Society still discussed new treatment techniques, case studies, malpractice claims, and insurance concerns for neurosurgeons.
George Becker, Jr., MD and Henry J. Liss, MD donated the records of the New Jersey Neurosurgical Society to the UMDNJ Special Collections Department in June 2000.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The records of the New Jersey Neurosurgical Society date from 1960 to 1998. The records in the collection dated 1960 are from the first meeting of the Society. The Society continues to meet through the present; therefore, updated records might be added to the collection periodically. Files are organized into two series.
The first series contains textual files arranged chronologically from 1960-1998. Files are dated and arranged chronologically by year, with the exception of 1960-1967, which are grouped together and placed within one folder. Document types in the first series include correspondence, memos, minutes of meetings, by-laws, data charts, newspaper clippings, and membership lists.
The second series contains publications of the New Jersey Neurosurgical Society, various newsletters related to neurosurgery, and publications by the American Association for Neurological Surgeons. The series is arranged chronologically.
Included with the records was one photograph of members of the New Jersey Neurosurgical Society, dated 1962. The photograph was removed from the collection and placed in Special Collections' Photo Archives.
SERIES I. New Jersey Neurosurgical Society Records, 1960-1998. Arranged chronologically.
The records in the 1960s, the first decade of the Society's founding, are rather informal with some minutes of meetings photocopies rather than originals. There is a great deal of correspondence between members, along with directions to members' homes for the Society's meetings. Various articles and newspaper clippings, dating from the 1960s, relate to car accidents and the debate over whether or not seatbelts should be worn in automobiles.
The records in the 1970s dealt with the Society's shift toward the question of where meetings should be held and, in 1974, the first real malpractice crisis in the state. In the 1970s, the Society decided it had to meet formally in the central part of the state to allow for easier travel for physicians from both North and South Jersey. The other issue the Society faced in the 1970s was that of malpractice suits and the tremendous increase in insurance rates for neurosurgical surgeons. Records from this time period focused on insurance and malpractice issues.
In 1976, the Medical InterInsurance of New Jersey did a study with charts and data of malpractice claims by physicians in all fields by county in New Jersey. A copy of the study is contained in the records. The data includes number of physicians insured by country and type of practice as of September 1, 1976, a listing of claims and suits since January 1, 1976, a separate listing of claims and suits by calendar year up to August 1, 1976 for each county and class of practice, and a list of claims and suits from February 1976 to July 1976.
Documentation in 1983 notes that the Society began meeting at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Brunswick, NJ, a more centrally located venue. By-laws for the Society and various newspaper articles are also included from this period.
The Society's records in the 1990s include by-laws, financial charts with claim histories, lists of members, and other issues of concern. In the 1990s, the issue of a meeting location again was raised and, in 1992, a study conducted which determined that members' attendance from those living in Bergen and Passaic counties was poor considering the large physician population in those counties.
SERIES II. Publications, 1969-1996. Arranged chronologically.
Ninth International Congress of Neurology, Fourth International Congress of Neurological Surgery, September 20-27, 1969.
Pocket Program of the 207th Annual Meeting of the Medical Society of New Jersey, May 12-25 1973, Haddon Hall, Atlantic City.
Official Program of the 207th Annual Meeting of the Medical Society of New Jersey, Haddon Hall, Atlantic City, May 12-15, 1973.
Questions and Answers from the Professional Standards Review Program, 1973.
Special PRSO Information Newsletter, May 1973.
The Medical Society of New Jersey, Advance Program for the 208th annual meeting May 11-14, 1974, Haddon Hall, Atlantic City.
Official Program for the 208th Annual Meeting of the Medical Society of New Jersey, May 11-14, 1974, Haddon Hall, Atlantic City.
Second Annual Management of Head Trauma in the 80s, March 19-20, 1983, Resorts International Hotel, Atlantic City, New Jersey.
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, "Current Issues in Historical Perspective", Rutgers Medical School, Piscataway, October 20, 1984.
Dabns Newsletter, American Board of Neurological Surgery, Number 8, December 1988.
Brochure to buy on audio and videotape, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons Meeting in Atlanta, October 29- November 2, 1989.
Newsletter, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, January 1990.
The Dr. Harvey R. Nova Memorial Neurosurgical Symposium, Treatment of AVM's and Aneurysms of the Brain, Saturday March 31, 1990.
Brochure to purchase, The Neuroletter, 1992.
The Bennett M. Stein Professorship Fund, 1994.
Membership brochure of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 1995.
Announcement of the appointment of Michael L. Rosenberg, MD, to the faculty of JFK Medical Center, September 1996.
A Tribute to Bennett M. Stein, MD, Neurosurgical Leadership at The Neurological Institute of New York, Columbia, University, June 15, 1996.
Newsletter from Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey, 1996.
American Neurological Surgery Political Action Committee, Washington DC, 1998.
Guide to American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 1993-1994.
Guide to American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 1995.
The records of the New Jersey Neurosugical Society were arranged and described by Tracy Holster, an undergraduate student at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, as part of the requirements of a Student Internship in Public History, completed during the spring 2005 semester. Lois R. Densky-Wolff, Head, UMDNJ-Special Collection, supervised the internship.
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Annual meeting programs of The Medical Society of NJ, newsletters, The American Association for Neurological Surgeons Guides; 1993-1994 and 1995.
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