A Brief History

Edwin F. Rosinski
Professor and Director
Office of Medical Education
University of California, San Francisco

Table of contents: Preface | History | References | Appendix A | Appendix B | Appendix C


This document is at least unusual, and more probably unique, in that it prescnts a history of an organization - the Society of Directors of Research in Medical Education (SDRME)-which is less than two years old! But, in truth, the organization has its roots in a group of individuals who met twice annually for more than twenty years, indeed from 1965 through the founding of the Society in 1987. However, the origins of this group are obscure in the absence of official documents such as minutes of meetings, announcements of activities, or correspondence among "members." But the story can be told partly from some documentation and partly from a form of oral history in accounts rendered by those who have been associated with this group over these many years.

What makes this history authoritative is the experience and qualifications of its author, Edwin F. Rosinski, Ed.D., who has been active in the organization from the very beginning. Dr. Rosinski has used his usual painstaking approach in searching existing documents in his own files and in the files of others who have been involved over the years. In addition, he has played a number of critically important roles in the development of this Society. These experiences have given him a perspective that makes this history a significant contribution to our understanding of the development of SDRME.

In 1959, the first Offices of Research in Medical Education appeared at Western Reserve University, the University of Illinois, and the Medical College of Virginia (MCV). Dr. Rusinski was the founding director of the Office at MCV and was the first "educationist" in such a position in a medical school. As other medical schools became interested and sought to do likewise, Dr. Rosinski often was consulted about the structure and function of such an office. In addition, he was frequently an unofficial counselor for the newly chosen directors of other new offices.

By 1965, enough units had been established to warrant annual meetings, which Dr. Rosinski helped to inaugurate. Soon after, he took a leave of absence from MCV to serve as deputy assistant secretary of the Department of Health Education and Welfare (HEW). Thus, his perspective was enhanced as he became involved with national policy at a remarkable time of ferment in American medical education. It is not a matter of happenstance that the legislation of this period was favorable to the improvement of American medical education, as described in this history. Those involved in research in medical education should know that Ed Rosinski was a key figure in these matters. Through his experience in Washington he gained a broad perceptive, and critical view of the development of our field of research in medical education.

Several other events also merit mention, When he left the federal government in 1968, Dr. Rosinski became the founding director of the office established at the recently developed School of Medicine of the University of Connecticut. Here he was able to capitalize on his earlier experience at MCV to design the administrative structure for optimum results. And once again, he was back in the "mainstream" of research in medical education.

But events intervened again and he found himself serving as executive vice chancellor of the Medical Center of the University of California, San Francisco. His tenure in that position took him through the exceptionally interesting and challenging day of student unrest in the early 1970's. And here, he was able to see the work of research in medical education from still one more perspective, that of a medical school administrator. Currently, Dr. Rosinski enjoys once again the position of director, this time of another "new" office at UCSF, where he continues both his work in this field of research in medical education and the collegiality of what has now become the Society of Directors of Research in Medical Education. Thus, the author of this history has lived through-in a variety of important roles- the events reviewed in this document. His background has contributed significantly to making this history truly authoritative.

Charles W. Dohner, Ph.D., President
Stephen Abrahamson, Ph.D., President-Elect