In Memory of Dr. DeWitt C. “Bud” Baldwin
It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of the passing of Dr. DeWitt C. “Bud” Baldwin at the age of 99 yesterday, January 5, 2022. Bud was an IPE pioneer and a medical education legend. He was a dear mentor from whom I learned a great deal not only about IPE but also joie de vivre and living a full personal and professional life until the end. Bud with John Gilbert and Mattie Schmitt saw something in me that I could not, pushing me to step up to the plate that eventually led to the National Center at the University of Minnesota. Throughout the years, Bud never wavered in supporting me. He retired a couple of years ago from the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Here is the link to ACGME's announcement to the medical education community yesterday.
Over the years, Bud and I spent many hours just talking off in the corner at various meetings such as the 2007 and 2013 Collaborating Across Borders conferences in Minneapolis and Tucson, respectively. I also remember leisurely chats at a Beyond Flexner meeting in Albuquerque. What was clear to me from these casual conversations is he had kept every paper, report, book, Power Point presentation, consultancy record in both medical education and interprofessional education that he ever authored and possessed. All of these papers were sitting in his ACGME office in Chicago, and many of them included papers from the early 1900s because he thought they are relevant to understanding teams and physicians.
In 2014, Jennifer Gunn, a University of Minnesota History of Medicine faculty member whose expertise is graduate medical and rural education accompanied me to Chicago to assess what was there as well as the value. The sight was amazing. Boxes, documents, and books spilled out of his packed office into a large adjacent room. ACGME recognized how precious Bud was and allowed his papers to inhabit their offices. On that day for me, listening to Bud and Dr. Gunn talk about topics such as rural practice, teams, community-oriented primary care and IPE in communities, I knew he was a national treasure and that his office represented the “lost U.S. history of IPE”. Nowhere else could these assets and his personal experiences be replicated.
Bud wanted to protect his papers and documents, and he accepted my offer to approach the University of Minnesota Library with the request to house them as a source of future scholarly inquiry about IPE. Because Minnesota is the home of the National Center, Erik Moore, the University Archivist, agreed to accept them and support our catalogue work which is occurring now1. It has been an incredible honor for the National Center and me to be entrusted with these treasures for Bud and to protect the stories of our field. Jeny Kertz picked up the last boxes from his home this past summer along with his detailed spreadsheet cataloguing them for us from his perspective. Many of these documents are already digitized and readily available in the Baldwin Collection on nexusipe.org.
Beyond the physical assets, for me what has been truly extraordinary over the past several months is what I call “Tuesdays with Bud”. Amy Blue and I scheduled regular calls with Bud and his wonderful wife, Michele, to just talk about his recollections of IPE’s beginnings. He was very specific with me about when he could meet because on Mondays he met with his ACGME staff and on Wednesdays, his Satir study group with Michele because he wanted to keep learning.
This Zoom time with Bud was precious for two social scientists as we were living vicariously through him as he believed behavioral and social sciences are core to medical and interprofessional education. Bud’s extraordinary life included growing up in Burma as his parents were missionaries in the 1920s and 1930s. His parents knew and worked with social science legends such Kurt Lewin, John Dewey, Paulo Friere, and the Tavistock Institute. These scholars and their ideas were influential in Bud’s formative years in life through his parents’ role modeling and his chosen career pathway.
With each meeting, I prepared by reading voraciously to keep up with him. With every one of our conversations, a cast of IPE characters and stories spewed out such as Edmund Pellegrino, many of his students, early U.S. academic health center formation, community-oriented primary care, and Michele’s and his work together at the University of Nevada-Reno and educating teams of students with twelve Native American reservations. During one conversation, we discussed Abraham Flexner and today’s revisionist thinking about his impact of medical education. He looked up on his shelf at a 1925 Flexner book and told us that “he was beginning to see some of the flaws of his thinking”. This history is important for our field to not lose as we stand on the shoulders of Bud and his many collaborators – of whom he was always gracious to point out their – not his – contributions. We owe a lot to them.
I will always be grateful to have had Bud as my mentor and guiding light. I will miss him and through his papers will continue to learn from him.
Learn more about Dr. Baldwin’s contributions to the field through the links below.
- 2017 Nexus Summit Pioneer Award
- DeWitt C. Baldwin Jr., MD: An interprofessional celebration, Journal of Interprofessional Care, 2007
- Dedication of the DeWitt C. Baldwin Institute for Inteprofessional Education, Rosiland Franklin University
1Many thanks to Maryjoan Ladden at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for funding the initial work of the Baldwin Collection.