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Stanford Oral History Collections

Reaven, Gerald M.

purl.stanford.edu/zq744jx7301
Title:
Reaven, Gerald M.
Author:
Reaven, Gerald M. and Smuga-Otto, Kim
Corporate Author:
Stanford Historical Society
Description:
Gerald M. Reaven is a Professor of Medicine, Emeritus at the Stanford University School of Medicine. His groundbreaking research helped demonstrate that insulin resistance could lead to type 2 diabetes. The first part of the interview begins with Reaven’s decision to attend the University of Chicago for his undergraduate and medical degrees and what drew him to research. He recounts how the military’s use of the draft to recruit doctors influenced his decision to take a research fellowship at Stanford and recalls his, and his family’s, experiences when he was stationed in Germany. He contrasts his impressions of Stanford’s hospital (then located in San Francisco) with the University of Chicago’s medical program and explains why he chose to do his residency at the University of Michigan. However, the change in direction of the Stanford medical school program -- both in the five year curriculum for students and the recruitment of full time professors to teach and see patients -- and the relocation of the hospital drew him back. He reminisces on the atmosphere at Stanford during this time as well as how he set up his lab and collaborated with fellow Stanford professor, Charles Lucas. Reaven discusses what led him to his experiments that proved type II diabetes was due to insulin insensitivity, as opposed to lack of insulin in the blood, and how his research progressed. He recalls how he chose the topic of his famous Banting Lecture and the resulting awareness into the link between insulin insensitivity and increased risk of the individual to strokes and heart attacks. The second interview focuses on Reaven’s administration experience with several divisions within the medical school and how he came to be the director of the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center at the VA hospital, where he was able to implement “unconventional medical training.” He discusses his wife’s academic career (Eve Reaven holds a PhD in anatomy and worked as a professor at Stanford) and how they balanced careers and family. Reaven also recounts his work with committees to promote gender equality in medical admissions and tenure appointments, and what Stanford was like in the 1960s.
Topic:
Gerald M. Reaven, Stanford Historical Society, oral histories, interviews, higher education, professors, Halsted Holman, and John Farquhar
Imprint:
October 2, 2015 - October 7, 2015
Collection:
Stanford Historical Society Oral History Program interviews, 1999-2012