Harvard has established a Center for Community Health and Medical Care which will try to improve the delivery of medical care to Americans in the cities, the suburbs, and on the farms.
The director of the Center will be Paul M. Densen, who is now deputy administrator of New York City's Health Services Administration, one of Mayor John V. Lindsay's super-agencies. Densen's appointment is effective in the fall of 1968.
The Center's program will include new fellowships in medicine and public health, evaluation of existing medical programs in Cambridge and Boston, and research in such fields as early diagnosis of disease in the schools, Densen explained. He mentioned as an example of the questions to be considered, "What can we do about the high Negro mortality rate?"
Densen said this is the first university program of its kind in the country.
The Center will draw on all University faculties, and also involve executives of Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals and leaders of community agencies, according to an announcement made jointly by Dr. Robert H. Ebert, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, and Dr. John C. Snyder, Dean of the Faculty of Public Health.
The problem the Center will be dealing with--the organizational failures of American medicine--was the theme of a strongly-worded report issued recently by the President's Commission on Health Manpower. The 14-member commission, which included Ebert, Mary I. Bunting, president of Radcliffe, and Dr. Alonzo S. Yerby, professor of Health Services Administration, wrote that "Medical care in the United States is more a collection of bits and pieces--with overlapping, duplication, great gaps, high costs and wasted effort--than an integrated system in which needs and efforts are closely related."
The Center will be housed at the outset in the Medical School in Boston, Densen said, "because that is where space happens to be available." He said the Center might eventually move into its own lodgings, but would never have a large fulltime staff.
Serving with Densen as an executive committee for the Center will be four other doctors: Ebert, Snyder, Yerby, and Dr. Sidney S. Lee, clinical professor of Hospital and Medical Care Administration.
Lee said yesterday that the Center will be operating on a budget of about two million dollars a year. Fund-raising is already underway, Lee said, with governments and large foundations as the principal targets.
Harvard already has an Interfaculty Committee on Health and Medical Care, headed by Yerby, which has devised several new courses in health planning in the past few years. The Interfaculty Committee will serve as an advisory council to the Center