The Bio-Medical Library is located in Diehl Hall, named after Harold S. Diehl, fifth dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School. Diehl (1891-1973) was a prominent figure at the University and is well known for his work in tuberculosis control, cancer research, smoking and health, and books on healthful living. Diehl is more than a name on a building and a prominent figure in his time. He was also an important contributor to the early history of controlled clinical trials through his pioneering 1930s research. He and co-workers published results in 1938 from what has been termed a “remarkable trial” on the efficacy of vaccines for the common cold. This work is often-considered one of the first instances of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial—though arguably so because the assignment of volunteers either “alternately” or “at random” is at issue. Whatever the assignment method, Diehl’s work is notable because it was far from common practice in research methods at the time and is considered an important example of an early controlled clinical trial—possibly predating the publication of a well-known British trial by ten years. Diehl’s research suggests there is much to be learned from prominent figures in an institution’s history.
Poster Exhibit, Medical Library Association Annual Meeting, Transformations A-Z, May 19-24, 2006, Phoenix, AZ.
Block, Karla J.; Mcguire, Lisa; Chew, Katherine.
Harold S. Diehl: Pioneer In Randomized Controlled Trialsw.
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