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.

Growth of the College had been slow during these first two decades since the first inseminating session was held at Still- Hildreth in Macon in 1936 by that little group on their way to the A.O.A. Convention in New York City. The World War II years and the Korean ‘Police Action’ hampered the enrollment in our schools of Osteopathic Medicine and consequently diminished the number of graduates who might choose to enter the disciplines of neurology or psychiatry. By the date of the 1956 New York meeting, out roster numbered only seventy. Certainly not many, but it represents a growth of over 410% in spite of the difficulties of those twenty years. Greater troubles were ahead, but our college has continued to grow in spite of (or maybe partly because of) the rocks of adversity.

It is historically worthy of note at this point that the new Mental Health Laws of both Texas and California specifically indicate that certificates of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and/ or the American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry would be equally recognized as psychiatrists in those states. The pertinent sections of the state statutes can be found as news items in the College Bulletins for July 1957 (Texas) and March 1958 (California).

The membership of the College, and the entire osteopathic profession were grieved to learn of the sudden death, on the evening of December 22, 1957, of Dr. Linn Van Horn Gerdine, professor of neurology & psychiatry and president emeritus of the College of Osteopathic Physicians & Surgeons at Los Angeles. Dr. Gerdine had been psychiatrist-in-chief for the first nine years of the existence of the Still- Hildreth institution at Macon Missouri, and had taught neurology & psychiatry at Kirksville, Des Moines and Kansas City prior to migrating to California in 1923, where he became head of the Department of Neurology & Psychiatry and president of the Los Angeles College. No other one person had been so influential in the teaching and training of osteopathic neurologists and psychiatrists in the second, third and fourth decades of this century. He, therefore, more than any other person deserves the title “Father of Osteopathic Neuropsychiatry.”

In the light of the subsequent history of the College, it is interesting to note that Vol. XI, No.2 (July 1958) issue of the Bulletin records that one Dr. Sydney Mark Kanev had applied for Affiliate membership in the College. Syd was one of the speakers on the Annual Meeting programs at the Sheraton in Washington, D.C. July 11-13 that year, and had just been certified in psychiatry by the A.O.B.N.P. that year. Because of his capabilities, and his willingness to accept organizational positions of responsibility, Syd rose rapidly in the ranks of A.C.N. leadership. He was destined to sacrifice his chance at a term as our College’s president in order to accept the office of Executive Secretary- treasurer when the infamous California Defection caused us to lose our then ‘Exec- Sec’ Don C. Littlefield. But this development will be presented in proper chronological sequence.

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