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Stanford Oral History Collections

Chase, Robert A.
Chase, Robert A.
Chase, Robert A. and Tracy, Allison
Corporate Author:
Stanford Historical Society
Robert “Bob” Chase begins with his early life growing up in Keene, New Hampshire, the influence of his parents and older brother on his life, and time at Keene High School, noting that that is where he met Ann Parker Chase, his wife of 68 years. He discusses pursuing his undergraduate studies at the University of New Hampshire, his time in the US Navy, and his studies at Yale medical school. He goes on to relate how he completed his surgical residency as an active-duty member of the US Army, and how he came to specialize in upper limb surgery. He discusses his three postings to Italy and the joy he and his family found in their time there. He explains his decision to leave the military and return to Yale, his involvement in the establishment of the first plastic surgery section there, and subsequently the first hand section. He moves on to discuss his tenure as Head of the Department of Surgery at Stanford, including anecdotes about some of the many people he recruited to the department. He details his activities with Interplast and other experiences doing surgery in underdeveloped nations, recalls his experiences with curriculum changes, and then talks about the change in approach from system specialty to regional specialty and how it affected practitioners and patients. He discusses changes in the practice of medicine during his tenure as head of surgery, and how the department changed after he left. He recalls the on-campus turmoil of the 1960s-70s and how it affected the medical school. He then talks about his service on the Stanford Advisory Board and his work on the National Board of Examiners, his dual appointment in Surgery and Structural Biology, his teaching of human anatomy, his involvement with the Bassett Collection and the development of other technological tools for teaching anatomy. He discusses changes in the approach to cadaver dissection over the years. He talks about his service on the Stanford University Hospital board. Chase discusses the founding of the Chase Hand Center, and expands upon how regional focus changed medical school curriculums. He returns to his involvement in the transfer of the Division of Anatomy from Structural Biology to Surgery. He discusses the tradition he began of taking students to see The Rodin Collection as an anatomy tool. He also talks about the development of his sensitivity to patients’ quality of life and the role of reconstructive surgery in same. He ruminates on the joys and frustrations of being in leadership roles. He talks about the financial challenges medical students face, about his philosophy of teaching, how he developed it, and his receipt of the Kaiser Award. He highlights some of his involvement in professional associations and some of the awards he has received. He returns to the discussion of his time in Italy, including his development of a class in Anatomy and Renaissance Art. He elaborates on his use of technology and the Bassett Collection in teaching. He ends with a discussion of his many visiting professorships.
Robert Chase, Stanford Historical Society, oral histories, interviews, hand surgery, cell biology, Albert Eisen, Da Vinci Surgical System, and robotic surgery
August 5, 2014 - October 1, 2014
Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program interviews, 1999-2012