American College of Osteopathic Neurologists and Psychiatrists

The American College of Neuropsychiatrists

(An Osteopathic Institution)

By Floyd E. Dunn, D.O., F.A.C.N., F.A.A.M.D.

Of great interest, especially in retrospect, is a short item by Editor Thomas J. Meyers in the same June 1948 issue of the Bulletin, quoted here in part:

“One of the most discussed books of the day is Kinsey’s “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male”. The consensus seems to be that it is not suitable for general reading by layman. The publishers, W.B. Saunders are criticized for their departure from advertising in medical and scientific journals and, through general advertising, creating a “best-seller”. Quoting from Good Housekeeping, May 1948- “The Book, as stated in the publisher’s foreword, ‘is intended primarily for workers in the field of medicine, biology, psychology, sociology, anthropology and for teachers, social workers, personnel officers, law enforcement, and others concerned with the direction of behavior…’ This book had as little right to be freely available to adolescents as the use of alcoholic beverages… As they have not reached the age of discretion, why should minors be permitted easy access to a report the real significance and intention of which will escape them and only the astonishing revelations of which will register an impression?” It is announced that a companion book on female sex behavior by the same author is in preparation. The writer in Good Housekeeping, authorized by the editors, ask that persons who feel that such a book should not be advertised and made available to the general public, write their opinions or protests and send them to Good Housekeeping.”

The Editor of our Bulletin wisely refrained from any personal comment either pro or con, but merely reported the controversy and the (then) consensus.

The March 1949 issue of the Bulletin contains the announcement that “the Annual Convention of the American College of Neuropsychiatrists will be held at Macon Missouri on Friday and Saturday, July 8th and 9th.” All sessions were to be held at the Still-Hildreth Sanatorium.

The same issue reported that a letter prepared by the secretary-treasurer of the A.C.N., Dr. Floyd E. Dunn, and be sent to a carefully selected list of D.O.’s who might be interested in becoming Junior Members of the College, resulted in receiving completed applications from the D.O.’s listed here: Frederick A. Long, George H. Guest, Andrew T. Still III, Russell J. Lynch, Frank J. Gasperich, Wilbur V. Cole, Elsa L. Johnson, and Fleda M. Brigham. Most of these Junior members (the designation was later changed to Associate, and still later, the term ‘candidate’ would have been properly applied to most of the doctors on the list) later became important organizational workers in the growing young American College of Neuropsychiatrists; in fact, this author sees four on the list who are now Past Presidents of the College.

It was in this early period of development that our College experienced its initial difficulty with the governing body of the American Osteopathic Association: the AOA Board of Trustees. By action of the Board at its July 1949 meeting, the American College of Neuropsychiatrists was placed on probation. We had not followed their dictum (this author was not able to find minutes of the A.O.A. Board to determine whether it was a request, an order, or a demand) to change our name to the AMERICAN OSTEOPATHIC COLLEGE OF NEUROPSYCHIATRISTS, or some similar title, which would include an Osteopathic designation. Several of the Fellows of the College, most particularly, Kenneth Grosvenor Bailey, made a masterful defense of our position before the A.O.A. Board of Trustees, pointing out (among other reasons) that our name, as incorporated under the laws of the state of Missouri in 1939 and accepted by the A.O.A. at that time, had been written into the Mental Health Laws of several states (California and Texas in particular); for a decade we had been accepted as an affiliate of the A.O.A. without question under our incorporated title; and that other Osteopathic Institutions (Lakeside Hospital in Kansas City for example) were Osteopathic without having that descriptive adjective in their corporate title. After much correspondence and probably some rethinking on the part of the A.O.A. Board of Trustees, we received, following their next Board meeting, a letter from R.M. Tilley stating, “The Board of the Trustees of the American Osteopathic Association restores the American College of Neuropsychiatrists ‘an Osteopathic Institution’ to full affiliate status.” There was, of course, the stipulation that our letterheads, publications, and any other use of our legal title be accompanied by the additional designation “an Osteopathic Institution,” and that we work toward incorporating the adjective ‘Osteopathic’ into our legal title ‘when feasible’. Worthy of passing mention is the fact that one of our two chief “Founding Fathers” Thomas J. Myers received his Ph.D. degree in Psychology (Clinical) from Claremont College of California in June 1949, becoming the first person in American College of Neuropsychiatrists to achieve this distinction. In those early years of our college’s existence, it was helpful for the public to learn that our secretary-treasurer of our certifying board (The American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry) was not only a certified Osteopathic Psychiatrist, but that he also held a doctorate in clinical psychology.

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