Archives Talk 3/3/17: The History of Higher Education in California: A Big Data Approach

UCSF School of Medicine class of 1964

Date: Friday, March 3rd, 2017
Time: 12 pm – 1:15 pm
Lecturer: Zach Bleemer (UCB)
Location: Lange Room, 5th Floor, UCSF Library – Parnassus
530 Parnassus Ave, SF, CA 94143

This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be provided.
REGISTRATION REQUIRED: http://calendars.library.ucsf.edu/event/2941746

In his talk at the UCSF Archives & Special Collections, Zach Bleemer will discuss how he has used data science – thousands of computer-processed versions of annual registers, directories, and catalogs –  to reconstruct a near-complete database of all students, faculty, and courses at four-year universities in California in the first half of the 20th century, including UC San Francisco (which taught both undergraduates and graduate students at the time). Visualizations of this database display the expansion of higher education into rural California communities, the rise and fall of various academic departments and disciplines, and the slow (and still-incomplete) transition towards egalitarian major selection.

Zach will also discuss his recent CSHE Working Paper, in which he uses additional digitized records to analyze the social impact of the early 20th century’s expansion of female high school science teachers and female doctors across rural California communities. He finds that newly-arrived female STEM professionals serve as important role models for young women in these rural communities, causing substantial increases in female college-going. However, these young women are no more likely to study STEM fields or become doctors themselves.

Zach Bleemer

Zach Bleemer

Zach Bleemer is a PhD student in Economics and Digital Humanities Fellow at UC Berkeley, where his research examines the educational and occupational decisions of young Americans. He has previously held senior research analyst positions at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Mathematica Policy Research, and has published working papers on student debt, parental coresidence, and university attendance. He is also currently a Research Associate at UC Berkeley’s Center for Studies in Higher Education and a Visiting Scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

UCSF Archives & Special Collections launched this lecture series to introduce a wider community to treasures and collections from its holdings, to provide an opportunity for researchers to discuss how they use this material, and to celebrate clinicians, scientists, and health care professionals who donated their papers to the archives.

In Process: Harold S. Luft papers

It’s Valentines Day, thus we bring you an update on progress in processing the professional papers of Harold S. Luft. (This one’s a bit abstract.)

Harold S. Luft. Photo: UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies

Photo: UCSF Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies

Luft is an esteemed health economist, serving the UCSF Philip R. Lee Health Policy Institute from 1978-2007, including a term as director from 1993-2007. His career encompasses extensive research in the realm of health care “big data”, analyzing health care markets, the functionalities of Health Maintenance Organizations and Preferred Provider Organizations, retail medicine and dentistry, risk pools, the relationships between volume and outcome of specific procedures, and many other subjects. His public service, including serving as a member of the Institute of Medicine, is vast and includes advising the UC System on structuring employee benefits. He has taken a crack at envisioning a national health care system that balances competition and judicious use of services to achieve stability and provide quality care in his book Total Cure

Archives & Special Collections received donations of Luft’s papers in 2000 and 2004, and processing is underway for this circa 100 linear foot collection. Look for it under call number MSS 2000-13. The collection includes extensive documentation (computer printouts, correspondence, drafts, project administration) of Luft’s research and data analysis for most of his published output. The material reflects earlier days of big data analysis, when Luft and his colleagues visited computer centers, wrote programs and queries, and carried it all home on long dot-matrix printouts or borrowed/rented open reel tapes for data storage. Often analysis was performed painstakingly by hand, as in the creation of the chart below.

Hospital resource allocation chart

Hospital resource allocation chart

Amongst the piles of journal article manuscripts, data and research angles are a number of analyses of various surgical procedures including – you guessed it – vascular surgeries, i.e. HEART ORIENTED PROCEDURES . Luft used data relating to vascular surgeries and especially Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery to analyze a number of health care delivery dynamics. One example is his analysis of the relationship between the volume of CABG surgeries performed in a given hospital and the likelihood of a favorable outcome. This led to the question “does practice make perfect?”

Figures for actual and expected death rates after vascular surgeries

 

New Faces in Archives: Caitlin Toomey

Caitlin Toomey

Caitlin Toomey

This spring semester, the UCSF Archives & Special Collections is hosting an intern from the University of San Francisco (USF) Museum Studies Masters Program. Born and raised in California, Caitlin Toomey has spent her life working towards her goal of becoming a museum professional.  While in high school, she began her museum career by volunteering at a local art gallery after school and on the weekends. Caitlin’s biggest adventure started when she left home to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in history and anthropology from UCLA. It was at UCLA that Caitlin truly began to explore her passions for history, art, and museum education by interning at both the Hammer Museum and the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles. Caitlin finished up her degree in Southern California and returned back home to Sacramento. Instead of jumping right into graduate school, Caitlin took some time to explore her interests in museum education by becoming a museum assistant at the Wells Fargo History Museum and an intern at the Crocker Art Museum. At these institutions, Caitlin not only worked with the public by giving tours and interacting with visitors, but she also was integral in policy and program development.

Her time at the Wells Fargo Museum and the Crocker gave Caitlin a clear understanding of what she is passionate about and fueled her desire to pursue a graduate degree in museum studies; therefore, Caitlin entered the Masters Degree program at the University of San Francisco for the 2016 school year.  During her first semester, Caitlin co-curated the Thatcher Gallery exhibition “The Depravities of War: Sandow Birk and the Art of Social Critique” as part of the Fall Semester Curatorial Practicum lead by Associate Professor Catherine Lusheck.  Her newest role of intern at the UCSF Archives & Special Collections is an exciting next step and Caitlin is looking forward to the challenge and prospect of gaining new skills and experiences within the museum field.

Caitlin will be working in the archives through May 2017 and will be assisting with research, design, and installation of the upcoming exhibit, “University of California Medical Service in World War I.” She will also help with collection processing, cataloging, digitization, and exhibit curation.