The opening of a $4 million Health Center next September will put Harvard's health services among the eight "most advanced and efficient" of all American universities, Dana L. Farnsworth, Director of University Health Services, said yesterday.
The Center will occupy five floors of a new ten story building on the corner of Mt. Auburn and Holyoke Streets.
Only Yale, Cornell, Michigan, Minnesota, Michigan State, UCLA, and UC (Borkeley) will rival the University's health unit, Farnsworth stated, and none of these schools includes Harvard's plan to provide full medical care for faculty members and employees.
Under this plan, all faculty and employees will become eligible for the same services provided for students. M.I.T. is the only other university in the U.S. which offers a comparable plan.
Stillman, considered the most modern of infirmaries when it was built in 1902, will be evacuated.
The purpose of the Center is to "provide diagnostic facilities in the heart of the University, to combine economically the scattered health services, and to meet the ends of the community with a minimum of lost time and no financial strain," Dr. Farnsworth said.
The Center will bring together a large infirmary, dental and surgical services, emergency and X-ray facilities, research and clinical labs, libraries, conference rooms, and business and doctors' offices.
Its 50-bed infirmary will consist largely of singles and doubles "so that we can isolate infectious diseases," Dr. Farnsworth said. "In case of an epidemic we can put an extra bed in each room and take care of 96," he noted.
The Dental Services will move out of their cramped quarters on 15 Holyoke St. to the fourth floor of the Center. There will be six chairs instead of three to accommodate the University's 6,000 yearly patients.
Also to be placed on the fourth floor is the Division of Environmental Health. The now-scattered sanitary, toxical, and radiological units of the Division will be able to collaborate more closely on discovering the sources of student illnesses and accidents.
The University's team of eleven psychiatrists and the psycho-social research unit will have "the most extensive facilities of any such group in the U.S.," Dr. Farnsworth pointed out. "Does this mean Harvard students are whackier than any others? No, it just means we place more emphasis than anyone else in this branch of medicine."
The new building will be set up in such a way as to cut the "embarrassing inefficiences of the present system," explained Dr. Farnsworth.
Patients will no longer be sent off to Commonwealth Avenue in Boston for blood tests, to Stillman for X-rays, to 15 Holyoke for surgery, and to Dillon Field House for physical therapy. These services will all be part of the new building