Wilburt C. Davison at his desk

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Item ID: per00019
Date: circa 1940
Description: Wilburt Cornell Davison (“Dave”), first dean of the School of Medicine, smoking a pipe at his office desk. Davison was the chair of pediatrics (1930-1954) and first dean of Duke University School of Medicine (1927-1960). In 1933, he inaugurated a formal program for the training of efficient hospital administrators. In this he anticipated the community hospital development programs being launched by the Duke Endowment in North Carolina and South Carolina and by the Hill Burton program throughout the United States–both programs required trained administrators with a comprehensive understanding of hospital and health field operations. as a result of his efforts, two of the earliest Blue Cross plans in the nation were established in North Carolina: one in 1932 and one in 1935. Davison was keenly interested in the prepayment of medical services. Sensitive to the public and hospital problem of financing hospital care, he advocated for methods of prepayment as early as 1928. Although his first attempt at establishing such a system did not succeed, his pioneering work contributed to the beginnings of the national Blue Cross program.
Location: Medical Center Archives
Collection: Photograph & Negative Collection