Fonds UBCA-ARC-1223 - Health Sciences Centre fonds

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Health Sciences Centre fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Photographic material
  • Architectural drawing

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various scales

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Physical description

13.51 m of textual records
76 photographs : b&w and col. ; 25.5 x 20.5 cm or smaller
ca. 25 architectural drawings

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Administrative history

The origins of the Office of the Co-ordinator of Health Sciences date back to the early years of the Faculty of Medicine, which was established at the University of British Columbia in 1950. Instruction was carried out on campus, and clinical courses were taught at many city hospitals. The 1950s were growth years for the faulty as staff members were assembled. In 1959 a new team was appointed, and the faculty and the Board of Governors granted permission to the Faculty of Medicine to plan for a university Hospital. With grants received by the Rockefeller and Markle Foundations, the faculty members launched a study to investigate health care delivery and medical education in the Western World to apply the findings to the UBC situation. The investigation led to a broadening of scope from a teaching hospital to the idea of a Health Sciences Centre where all members of the health team would receive their education from the same teachers, in the same classrooms, working on the same patients, to merge the various professions into a more effective working unit. In 1961 the Provincial Government approved the Health Sciences Centre concept and accepted the plan to build a hospital later, but the financial arrangements were not clarified. A grant from the Leverhulme trust enabled the first Co-ordinating Committee to be established in 1961. The committee realized that the B.C. Hospitals Act (1960) would require additional legislation if a teaching hospital were selected. In addition, the University required a more significant representation on the administration board of the hospital if the educational function was to be successfully carried out. In 1963 the Provincial Legislature passed the University of British Columbia Health Sciences Act.
The Co-ordinating Committee remained an informal organization until 1967, when the president of the University established a temporary committee known as the Curtis Committee to study the administrative structure of the Health Sciences Centre. In 1969 the Curtis Committee issued the president's Temporary Committee Report, Administrative Structures of the Health Sciences Centre, University of British Columbia. The report respected the earlier recommendation that the health team concept be implemented and called for establishing an office of the Coordinator of Health Sciences and a Coordinating Committee. The Coordinator of Health Sciences was to be the Chairman of the Coordinating Committee and serve on several committees of the University, including the board which administered the hospital. The coordinator's function was the same as the Coordinating Committee's, with the additional responsibility of acting as the spokesman for the Management Committee, the President and the Senate. The Coordinator and the Co-ordinating Committee of Health Sciences would report to the Management Committee, the president, and ultimately to the Board of Governors. In 1970 the Board of Governors approved the administrative structure, and in the following year, the Co-ordinating Committee was formalized. The title of Interim Director was changed to Co-ordinator of Health Sciences. Six divisions were established under the umbrella of the Office of the Coordinator: Continuing Education, Health Services Research and Development, Interprofessional Education, Hospital Administration, Business Administration, and Health Systems.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the Co-ordinating Committee and the coordinator's office were involved in the planning and construction the Health Sciences Centre facilities. Funding was provided by the Provincial Government, the Health Resources Fund (1966) of the Federal Government and donations from various private foundations. In 1959 work began on three permanent Basic Medical Science Buildings, later developed into a health sciences complex. In 1964 Woodward Library was built, with additions made in 1970. In 1966 construction began on the Psychiatric Unit, completed in 1969. The Dentistry building was built in 1966, and the Instructional Resources Centre in 1972. The Extended Health Care Unit in 1979, and the final Acute Care Unit was opened in 1980.
Several individuals have held the Coordinator of Health Sciences. Dr. J.F. McCreary was the first coordinator, appointed Interim Director in 1967. In 1970, this position was formalized as the Co-ordinator of Health Sciences. From 1959 to 1972, McCreary also served as the Dean of Medicine for the UBC. He was replaced upon his retirement in 1975 with Dr. Harold Copp, who served as the Acting coordinator between 1975 and 1977. Dr. B.E. Riedel took over in 1977 and remained Co-ordinator until 1985. In that year, Dr. Larkin served as Acting Co-ordinator for six months until the present Coordinator, Dr. Low, assumed his position. Lloyd Detwiller was also a significant figure in the functioning of the Health Sciences Centre, acting as Consultant-Administrator from 1962 until 1972 when his work was changed to that of Administrator. Detwiller retired in 1983.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of administrative files maintained in the office of the Co-ordinator of Health Sciences. The minutes, reports, correspondence, and photographs record the establishment and development of the Health Sciences Centre and the Hospital. A large number of the files relate to the activities of the divisions, committees and teaching/research facilities of Health Sciences. Fonds comprised of six series: Establishment and development of the Health Sciences Centre (1959-1970), Office of the Coordinator of Health Sciences (1959-1986), Reference reports (1953-1987), British Columbia Medical Centre (1973-1976), Miscellaneous (1976-1982) and Photographs.

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The majority of the records described in this file list were removed from the offices of the Co-ordinator of Health Sciences in room 411 of the Instructional Resources Centre on the campus of the University of British Columbia in August of 1988. Some of the files had been stored in the basement of that building. The records in the offices were removed from filing cabinets, while those in the basement, being inactive, were already stored in boxes. In most cases, the documents were transferred without disturbing the original order given to them by the creator.


Two dominant file classification systems were utilized by the Office of the Coordinator. The Establishment and Development of the Health Sciences Centre series consists of files which have mostly been encoded Ad. 6-4-x. The Office of the Coordinator of Health Sciences series files are generally labelled in the format of HSC. F or CHS.D. The committee files have been included with the Office of the Coordinator of Health Sciences series because the most recent of these files follow the same format.

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Photographs have been digitized and are available through UBC Library Open Collections UBC Series 100.1

Restrictions on access

These are institutional records and subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Researcher access to these records is subject to review. To organize access please contact us at UBC Archives.

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Please be aware that researchers will come across terms that are no longer acceptable. In instances where these terms are used in the original titles, they have not been changed.

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