Saturday, September 29, 2007

Life and Times of BWH - Education and Training

Bruce W. Halstead, M.D.
3/28/1920 to 12/5/2002

Life and Times of Bruce W. Halstead
In Pictures and Words
Education and Training

Medical Doctor, Research Scientist, Alternative Medical Therapy Pioneer, Bio-toxicologist, Oceanographer, Ichthyologist, Marine Biologist, Botanist, Herbal Medicine Researcher, Expert Witness, Environmental Scientist, Environmental Activist, Scuba Diver, Lecturer, Author

In so many ways, the greatest aspect of Doctor Halstead's education did not come in the form of any of his formal education. He was the very definition and epitome of a self taught man and clearly the value of that education far out weighed his formal education many times over. And that real world education started at the earliest age with the childhood and times that was his own. Born just a decade before the Great Depression, he had a head start on that experience with the dire poverty that he was born into with his family and with the era of his day.

His first fifteen years were rich in his experiences which were all of his own creation. Starting at age five he would explore the wonders of the Golden Gate Park including: the Steinhart Aquarium, the DeYoung Museum, the Golden Gate Academy of Science, and the park itself. Also at that young age he would catch the Cable car down to Fisherman's Warf, the Embarcadero, and the downtown manufacturing districts. All of this early adventure and exploration carried certain themes of self education: self reliance, entrepreneurship, the desire to travel, love of the natural world, and most of all, the love of marine animals, especially fish.

This early fifteen years of self taught education was actually preparation leading up to the most valuable non-formal education of his lifetime. That phenomenal non-formal education came unexpectedly one foggy day on October 16, 1935, a day that would change his life forever and was burned in his psyche with vivid detail. Earlier that year, Bruce had been introduced and converted to the Seventh Day Adventist religion. As a result of that transformation, he left the public school system and entered the eighth grade at an incredibly small Adventist school called San Francisco Junior Academy with all of 30 students. The school was located in a converted store at 1367 10th Avenue just a block from his beloved Golden Gate Park.

On that fateful day in October, Bruce's teacher, Mr. Cyphers, announced that their biology class would be visiting the Department of Ichthyology at the Golden Gate Academy of Sciences. The young Bruce would late admit that it was with great excitement and anticipation that he made his way into the building and was greeted by the person that would become the single most "important and influential" person of his life, Howard Walton Clark, the Curator of Fishes.

Bruce sat mesmerized and enthralled as his future mentor, teacher, and friend told the class of the "excitement and wonders of the aquatic world." He felt that Clark's "fervor was contagious" as he spoke of "distant lands and far away seas as if they were at my feet and within my grasp." At the end of the tour he mentioned how he needed someone to "help me alcohol these fish and help maintain the collection."

After school was out that day, he raced back over to apply for the volunteer position and thus began the "greatest period of his professional career". It was also what he would later describe as "the beginning of a rich and priceless experience between an old man and a young boy", and the "best unpaid job he ever had."

Golden Gate Academy of Science
at Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Under the watchful eye and mentoring of Mr. Clark, the future scientist learned much more than just the study of fish. Clark had an intense interest in the natural world at large; he studied and wrote on birds, bees, babbling brooks, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, fishes, and mammals. He was intensely interested in botany and especially horticulture. He was totally fascinated with small ponds and coined the term for the study of them as telmatology.

Bruce's study under Clark was not limited to week days and they would spend weekends and holidays together looking for mushrooms, cataloging wild birds they would encounter, collecting mud samples for microscopic study, and searching through ponds and lakes for fish and other water life. He taught Halstead how to pronounce scientific names and to never be intimidated by them. This served him well through medical school and throughout his professional life as he was known for being able to render up the scientific name of virtually ever creature from the ocean.

Clark taught him how to identify fish despite some of the slightest of differences between various varieties. In the process, he taught him about scientific integrity telling him that; "Bruce, no one is going to look over your shoulder to see if your scale count is accurate. You must satisfy your own conscience. In science you must first be honest to yourself. After that most other things are of secondary importance....You must always do your best. Excellence must come from within." Bruce never forgot that admonition and committed himself to follow that sage advice regardless of the consequences.

In his own words, Bruce wrote about his beloved mentor:

"Mr. Clark always encouraged me to dream my dreams and to shoot for the
highest star. He was a stickler for detail. He would open up vast vistas of the natural world to me, but he had the ability to tie everything together. He not only viewed the microcosm, but also the marcrocosm, and the universe was well. It was all a continuum.

He had a deep understanding of human ecology at its best. He was a strong advocate of not losing sight of the forest because of the trees.
He was unrelenting in his pursuit of knowledge, and greatly enjoyed hard work. No task was beneath his dignity and no person too low to be dignified. While sloppy in his dress, he was elegant in his thinking. Kindness, generosity, and thoughtfulness to others were an intiricate part of his daily demeanor.

The death of Mr. Clark was unquestionably the darkest day in my life. The world had lost a great student of the natural world and I had lost my best friend, teacher and mentor, for which I have never found an equal. Mr. Clark's imprint is found throughout my writings."

Of his internship under Clark, he never underestimated the whole experience and always gave it the full credit for the educational role that it played in the career. There is no doubt that his education under Clark was something that he valued above his formal education and for which he felt was much more useful throughout his entire professional life. Doctor Halstead would later say that:

"My life in those days was full to overflowing. It was a learning experience that was dished out in such a fashion that I was unaware that I was in the most intense and enjoyable educational experience of my entire career."

Even after Clark's passing on August 10, 1941, Bruce continued to work as a research assistant at the Golden Gate Academy of Science under Clark's replacement, Dr. Wilbert Mc Cloud Chapman. While nobody could replace Clark, it was Chapman who was to teach Bruce everything he was to learn about the politics of science. Chapman was constantly in touch with Congress and the military which produced some great results. As part of the war effort, it was Chapman that decided to go to the Pacific Theater and suggested that the Armed Forces that they ought to supply our troops with fresh fish to eat. This was something that later influenced Bruce to work with the post war Japanese government to advise them on their use of their fisheries industry in the feeding of their post war impoverished nation.

It was also Chapman that encouraged Bruce to join the Army Specialized Training Program while he was still at U C Berkeley, which would make it possible for him to continue his education with the ultimate intent of going into medicine.

His informal education as a research assistant continued at Golden Gate Academy of Sciences until he graduated from U C Berkeley in 1943 and left San Francisco for good when he entered the School of Medicine at Loma Linda.

Formal Education

While still living at home and working as an Assistant Research Scientist at the Department of Ichthyology, Golden Gate Academy of Sciences under his mentor, Howard Clark, Bruce Halstead attended the San Francisco City College for two years. He earned his Associate of Arts Degree in Biology in 1941. The majoring in Biology complemented what he was doing at the Golden Gate Academy of Sciences and set the stage for his Zoology major at U C Berkeley, his medical school and his entire professional career.

San Francisco City College

From 1942 to 1946 Bruce was in the Enlisted Reserve Corps in the Army Specialized Training Program, a military training program instituted by the U.S. Army during World War II. Dr. Chapman, who replace Clark at the Academy of Sciences, was involved in the military and encouraged Bruce to utilize the Army Specialized Training Program which would help make it possible for him to continue his education with the intention of going into medicine. The Army explained to him that his other option was to go into the trenches. He felt it wasn't much of a choice and so he soon became Private Halstead in the U.S. Army.

The military described this program as turning the college campuses into a “production line for a continuous and accelerated flow of technicians and specialist needed by the Army.” Candidates for the program were selected on aptitude, capabilities, and educational attainments and were considered soldiers on active duty, in uniform, under military discipline and receiving regular Army pay. Every twelve weeks they were evaluated for continuation of their academic studies, reassigned to active duty, or recommended for assignment to an officer candidate school.

Upon graduation from San Francisco City College in 1941, he entered the University of California at Berkeley (UCB). It was his mentor Howard Clark that had influenced him to go to UCB where he received his B.A. degree in Zoology in 1943.

At Berkeley, he was having a difficult time with a chemistry class and he went to see his teacher for help. Bruce recalled later that his teacher's attitude was: "brisk, totally disinterested, and annoyed that I would waste his time on such trivia." The teacher told Bruce that: "If you are too stupid to understand chemistry, you don't belong in my class and I should do the world a favor and flunk you out of the class."

Bruce had some similar experiences with some other teachers which left him a bitter taste for the University of California education system. He felt the same though at Loma Linda which makes one conclude that nothing could compare to the compassionate nurturing he had received with his friend and mentor Howard Clark at the Golden Gate Academy of Science.

The University of California at Berkley

While working on his degree at U C Berkeley, he was still working as a research assistant at the Golden Gate Academy of Sciences. By this time he had already met his future wife, Joy Arloa Mallory. She was a nursing student at Pacific Union College, an Adventist college where the love struck Bruce was able to squeeze in time to work as a student instructor in the Department of Biology from 1943-44, along with his other work and a full course load at U C Berkeley.

Bruce and Joy pose for a picture at his
graduation ceremony at U C Berkeley

Loma Linda University

Upon graduation from UC Berkeley in 1943, he moved to Loma Linda, California to attend the College of Medical Evangelist, later renamed Loma Linda University (LLU). Halstead graduated in 1948 and was the President of his class.

Loma Linda proved to be the perfect choice for several reasons. Besides the fact that he had converted to Adventism at the age of 15, the health message focus of the Adventist church became the foundation for his later focus on preventive medicine. His training at medical school was the conclusion of his life training at that point which paved the way for his role as the Co-founder and Director of Loma Linda's School of Tropical and Preventive Medicine following his graduation.

In addition, the school was associated with an enormous network of mission stations, which amounted to more than 6000 foreign operations, involving 896 languages and dialects in 200 countries, with 370 educational institutions, and 219 medical institutions, scattered in some of the most inaccessible tropical areas of the world. This is a valuable network that he would rely on throughout his travels for the balance of his life.

Old Postcard from Loma Linda (Sanitarium)
Hospital when Bruce was a student there

Medical school back in those days was a far cry from what it is today and for several significant reasons. First and foremost, the study of medicine was a much simpler discipline in the early 40's. When you consider all of the countless developments and medical breakthroughs that have followed in the past six decades, one can really look back on those early days as being primitive in comparison.
Old Postcard from Loma Linda
(Sanitarium)Hospital North Side

Secondly, the medical school at Loma Linda back then was still relatively new and still operating under the name of College of Medical Evangelist. Under the direction and influence of Ellen G. White, the Loma Linda property was purchased and established as a center for physical and spiritual healing in 1905. Richard A. Schaefer documented the fascinating account of how Loma Linda was first acquire in Chapter 17 of his book "LLUMC Legacy: Daring to Care". But even as part of her original vision for the institution, Mrs. White was strong in her desire that Loma Linda should also be an educational training center for nurses and physicians.

Loma Linda Sanitarium as it looked when the Adventist
purchased entire community for $38,000 back in 1905

Ellen G. White at the 1905 dedication of Loma Linda Sanitarium
Ellen White is well known for the health message that is the trademark of the Adventist church today. She in turn was heavily influence about health issues by her close friend and associate, John Harvey Kellogg, M.D., who influenced the worldwide development and philosophy of Seventh-day Adventist medicine more than did anyone except Mrs. White. Kellogg relied on the fundamental principals outlined in White's books and then developed that message into a lifelong study and research into optimum health. Chapter 14 of Schaefer's book is the amazing story of Kellogg, who founded the Battle Creek Sanitarium and invented the Kellogg cereal.

Kellogg was a physician, surgeon, that with nearly 50 books was a prolific writer and delivered over 5,000 lectures. He was a student of Pasteur's work on microbiology and relied on it as the basis to advocate for a vegetarian diet. But his approach to optimum health went way beyond simply avoiding meat. It was a natural healthy lifestyle which he termed "Biologic living" which also required "total abstinence from alcohol, tea, coffee, tobacco, and animal flesh. It included proper diet, adequate rest and exercise, fresh air, healthful dress, and (in case of illness) simple, natural remedies."

This is the essence of the Adventist health message and is what has now become fashionable these days with the popularity of the trendy health spas. Sanitarium is a term that in those days was simply used to define a hospital that embraced those natural health "spa" like principals, including massage, sauna, herbs, and hot tubs. These principals are not only the basis on which the church was founded, it was the message they believed they were to spread to the rest of their world in their "evangelistic" efforts; thus the name "College of Medical Evangelist."
Loma Linda physicians and students out evangelizing in 1913

Finally, the other major factor that contributed the unusual and unique experience for Doctor Halstead in medical school, was that it was the war years and his enlistment as Private First Class Halstead in the Army Specialized Training Program which was helping to pay for his tuition and keep him out of the trenches of the war front. This aspect was unusual in a larger context but at the time he was enrolled in medical school, the majority of his class mates were dressed in either Army or Navy uniforms.

The military aspect of his medical training was all pervasive and dominated every aspect of that part of his education. It was considered that someone enrolled in that program was subjected to the same rules of discipline as any other soldier and wore the uniform while attending classes. There was a mini 'boot camp' training session that Bruce was mandated to go through before he could start at Loma Linda and their were daily marching practice between classes. Furthermore, the fear and threat was always hanging over your head that if your grades or behavior weren't up to Army standards, then you could immediately be removed from medical school and sent off to fight on the real front lines of combat duty.

To read Doctor Halstead's own account of his medical school experience and how his status as an Army Private First Class status effected that experience, you can read about it in his own words, simply CLICK HERE.

Old Postcard from Loma Linda Hospital
featuring a view of the croquet court

The Loma Linda 'Sanitarium' (the term used for a health spa) as it looked in 1905 when it was
first acquired by the Seventh Day Adventist Church under the leadership of Ellen G. White who said she had a vision about the place and it's use for training medical evangelist.

Loma Linda was first established by Ellen White, as a 'sanitarium', or what would now be called a health spa, and soon developed into a full hospital. As a teaching institution, it was designed to train medical professionals as part of the 'missionary' force to spread the Seventh Day Adventist message and started under the name "College of Medical Evangelist"
Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA

Upon graduation from medical school, he became the Founder and the Research Director of the School of Tropical and Preventive Medicine (STPM) at LLU. ,which later was renamed the School of Public Health in 1967. During his tenure there, he was an instructor, research scientist, and led expeditions to discover drugs from the sea and from the jungles of the Amazon. While at the STPM, he was the first grant recipient and was responsible for getting major funding for the institution as the only grant getter at LLU. The work he started at STPM became the foundation for his life work that he would continue throughout his life.

The World Life Research Institute (WLRI) continues serving as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in Grand Terrace, California. Those wishing to help preserve the WRLI and the legacy of Dr. Halstead can make a tax deductible contribution to World Life Research Institute.

To find out how you can help with his vital life work, continue his legacy, or support the preservation of WLRI, please contact:
Larry D. Halstead

(760) 255-2012


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