Washington University School of Medicine Oral History Project Washington University School of Medicine Bernard Becker Medical Library
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Crawford F. Sams

Interviewer: Darryl Podoll Crawford F. Sams
Date: May 3, 1979
Identifier: OH037
Approximate Length: 112 min.
Biographical Information: Brigadier general, U.S. Army, and research physician, 1902-1994. Sams enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1922, resigning in 1925 to enter medical school. He received his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in 1929 and was then commissioned 1st lieutenant in the Medical Corps. He was promoted to captain (1932), major (1941), lieutenant colonel (February 1942), colonel (August 1942), brigadier general (1948). During the Second World War Sams served in the Middle East, Europe and the Far East. After retiring from the military in 1955, Sams became a research physician with the Operations Research Center at the University of California-Berkeley, and research physician with the Department of Neurology, University of California Medical Center, San Fransisco.
Summary: Sams discusses his decision to pursue a medical degree at the Washington University School of Medicine, his interest in neurosurgery, and the influence of faculty member Ernest Sachs. He describes his research on heat syndrome while assigned to the Panama Canal Department and talks extensively about his work during the Second World War in the Middle East, Europe, and the Far East in preparing medical services for casualties. At the end of the Second World War Sams was made Chief of the Public Health and Welfare Section of the General Headquarters, Supreme Command Allied Powers and was responsible for the establishment of all activities pertaining to the health and welfare of the Japanese. Sams relates his contributions in the rebuilding Japan, including studying the effects of radiation after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, establishing mass immunization programs, improving medical care and education, and nutrition initiatives during this period. He also describes similar work he performed in Korea before, during and after the Korean War. Sams then discusses his research on low-level radiation at the Operations Research Center at the University of California-Berkeley, as well as the early efforts in the application of computer systems to biological research.
Notes: The audio quality of the interview is inconsistent and at times very poor. There are several instances of unintelligible words or sentences.

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