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Middle Years (1950s-2000s)

Rose Reynolds

From the McGoogan Health Sciences Library Special Collections and Archives

Rose Reynolds

Second Generation Medical Illustrations

Born in Rising City, Nebraska, in 1906, Rose Reynolds was one of the longest-standing medical illustrators in UNMC’s history. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and briefly attended business school before taking the job opportunity at UNMC in 1929. The initial illustrator position was part-time, so Reynolds also assisted a hematologist and was secretary to the anatomy department chair, John Latta, MD. Through her time at UNMC, Reynolds eventually became an assistant professor in anatomical illustration.

Rose Reynolds

From the McGoogan Health Sciences Library Special Collections and Archives

To hone her skills, Reynolds attended anatomy classes with students. She even dissected cadavers herself to help her develop accurate illustrations. She also attended surgeries, where she created rough drawings during the procedure and refined them later. Early in her career, Reynolds took a sabbatical from the College of Medicine to study medical illustration at the University of Illinois.


Reynolds first worked with J. Jay Keegan, MD, in the Department of Surgery. Dr. Keegan was a renowned neurosurgeon who worked on mapping the skin in relation to spinal nerves, known as dermatome. With the help of Reynolds, Dr. Keegan was able to create and visualize this dermatome map, which was widely used in the field. After Dr. Keegan, Reynolds did most of her work with Edward Holyoke, MD, in the Department of Anatomy. A collection of her anatomical illustrations is preserved as part of the Edward Augustus Holyoke Papers in UNMC’s McGoogan Health Sciences Library Special Collections and Archives.

In 1972, Reynolds transferred from the Department of Anatomy to the new Biomedical Communications Center at UNMC. The center provided the campus with television, graphic design, photography, cinematography, equipment, and editorial services. She worked on a variety of projects, including designing brochures and plaques, while still creating medical illustrations.


Reynolds was one of the inaugural members of the Association of Medical Illustrators, founded in 1945. She served as corresponding secretary, member of the board of governors, member of the ethics committee and member of the council on education and professional relations. She was also a member of the Biologic Photographic Association.


Reynolds retired from UNMC in 1977. However, she volunteered her talents to help produce The First Hundred Years, the history book for the College of Medicine's centennial in 1981. Reynolds passed away in 1995.



LeeRoy E. Meyer, MD

From the McGoogan Health Sciences Library Special Collections and Archives

LeeRoy Meyer, MD, and the Socratic Method

Born in Sidney, Nebraska, in 1935, LeeRoy Meyer, MD, was a leader and innovator in medical education. A 1961 UNMC graduate, Dr. Meyer completed his internship and internal medicine residency at his alma mater before joining the faculty as an instructor in internal medicine in 1966. At the end of his first academic year, Dr. Meyer won a Golden Apple teaching award from the American Medical Student Association. In the ensuing years, Dr. Meyer won the Golden Apple award for teaching 25 more times, a feat no other faculty member has achieved. In 1995, the awards committee gave Dr. Meyer lifetime teaching recognition by creating a "Golden Apple Hall of Fame" and made him the first recipient. This made him ineligible for more Golden Apples so other teachers would have a chance to be recognized.


An innovator in education, Dr. Meyer was at least 20 years ahead of his time, with his methods eventually becoming the national norm in medical education. Dr. Meyer developed his curriculum using the case-based method of teaching and a Socratic style that was uniquely his. This case-based method has now been widely adopted for medical student education in the form of problem-based learning. Dr. Meyer’s Socratic style emphasized working with students in small groups and in one-on-one sessions, with the teacher asking questions and giving the students space to critically evaluate their responses. One of Dr. Meyer’s students noted that “Dr. Meyer doesn't just instruct, he teaches you how to instruct yourself, and how to be resourceful when you can't find the answer to a problem.”


Full Bio



Robert Swift Wigton, MS, MD, c. 2013

Courtesy of the University of Nebraska Medical Center

Robert Swift Wigton, MS, MD, and Programmed Learning

Robert Swift Wigton, MS, MD, built a career on innovative thinking with appreciation for legacy and history. A third generation Nebraskan on both sides, Dr. Wigton attended Omaha Central High School, Harvard College, and UNMC, graduating in the class of 1969. He served the College of Medicine as associate dean for graduate education and chief of the section of general internal medicine. Dr. Wigton’s investigative curiosity related to health care in Nebraska has made him the unofficial historian of the UNMC College of Medicine.


During Dr. Wigton’s time as an educator, he found personal interest in the process of medical decision making. In evaluating this process, he developed a “programmed learning” curriculum that encouraged students to reason through standardized patient diagnoses that allowed them to see their effect on a particular situation—a “choose your own adventure” exercise of sorts. In this multi-question process, students would evaluate a path to take at each step. Every right answer would lead to the next question while an incorrect answer would lead to an explanation of why the choice was wrong and lead the student back to the beginning. This process enabled Dr. Wigton’s students to make their own choices on cases and learn from their mistakes in a supportive, educational environment. Dr. Wigton’s work in the classroom and in studies on medical decision making led him to publish over 160 scientific papers and book chapters on the topic, in addition to studies on computer-based teaching programs.


Try a programmed text yourself!