A Historical Moment

Thanks for the link and interesting information about Clifton Latting’72 and his family as appeared in the Spring and Summer 2013 e-News for Alumni. [See the Spring and Summer 2013 e-newsletter and other issues online at http://www.columbiamedicinemagazine.org/webextras.]

I would like to draw to the attention of our readership a major contribution made by Dr. Latting to the course and direction of P&S. At a meeting of the P&S Alumni Council around 1970, two medical students—Clifton Latting and Charles Lovell, who were invited to the meeting (a rarity in those days)—stood up and offered a challenge. Referring to the paucity of minority students and faculty at P&S, Cliff said, “We think it is about time we saw more black faces in the Black Building.”

The council (including me, the only minority member) was flabbergasted by such behavior!

However, to everyone’s ultimate credit, the council responded by forming “The Committee on Special Students” with yours truly as the first chair.

It was the activity of this committee that initiated a program aimed at increasing minority student recruitment even before the then administration of the school bought into it.

Later, P&S formally got involved with minority recruitment and enrollment, BALSO was formed, and, as they say, “the rest is history.”

It might be interesting to members of BALSO as well as alumni of P&S to know this story.

Kenneth A. Forde’59
Via email

Karen Hein

I was pleased to see the report on the career of Karen Hein in your latest edition (Fall 2013). As a resident in family medicine at Montefiore Hospital, I was inspired by Karen’s teaching on the Adolescent Unit and admired her pluckiness riding her bike across the Bronx.

Thank you for highlighting this remarkable woman in medicine.

Emilie Osborn’76
Via email


The article about the DSM-5 (Fall 2013) says autism was “not distinctly identified until 1980.”

Autism was described by Leo Kanner in 1943.

Asperger’s syndrome was described, in German, by Hans Asperger in 1944. (I doubt that many English-speaking doctors read the German medical literature in 1944.)

Autistic patients were presented at P&S during the early 60s, on both pediatric and psychiatric rotations.

Charles B. Brill’61
Philadelphia, Pa.