University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department


Papers of Dr. Allston Morris
related to
Southbridge Medical Advisory Council
and Activities Center

1968 - 1980
(bulk dates 1968 - 1974)

Manuscript Collection Number: 342
Accessioned: Gift of Mrs. Emily B. Morris.
Extent: 1.2 linear ft.
Content: Correspondence, minutes, agenda, clippings, surveys, photographs, slides, programs,
medical forms, physicians' log, reports, bylaws, articles, statistics, schedules, and cassette tape.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: June 1997 by Anita A. Wellner.

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Table of Contents


Biographical Note

Wilmington physician Dr. Allston J. "Tony" Morris practiced internal medicine at the Wilmington Medical Center for thirty years, retiring in 1979. Before their merger formed the Wilmington Medical Center, he was on the staff of the Delaware, Memorial, and General Hospitals, completing his residency at Delaware Hospital in 1949.

At the Wilmington Medical Center, Dr. Morris served as the secretary of staff from 1967-1969, its president from 1970-1974, and a member of the center's board of directors from 1976 until 1996. Following his retirement Dr. Morris became vice president for medical affairs at the Wilmington Medical Center, serving from 1979-1989.

Dr. Morris was active in the medical community serving as president of the Delaware Academy of Medicine in 1965 and 1966, chairman of the Committee on Public Laws of the Medical Society of Delaware (1969-1978), a board member of the Delaware Foundation for Medical Care, and a past medical director of the Milton and Hattie Kutz Home.

In 1968 Dr. Morris was part of the Southbridge Medical Action Committee, later known as the Southbridge Medical Advisory Council, which planned and founded a neighborhood clinic in the Southbridge section of Wilmington. When the clinic opened for patients in 1970, Dr. Morris was one of its volunteer physicians. He assisted at the Southbridge Medical Activities Center for many years, serving as the center's vice president from 1968-1974. Today that clinic is the Henrietta Johnson Medical Center.

Dr. Morris died at his home in Wilmington on August 15, 1996. He is survived by his wife Emily B. Morris and four sons.


Institutional Note

Southbridge Medical Advisory Council, Inc.

Southbridge Medical Activities Center

In 1967 a better-health subcommittee of the Greater Wilmington Development Council began to discuss and investigate the health care resources available for the inner city of Wilmington. In April of 1968 a group of physicians approached another private agency, the Health Planning Council, Inc., and expressed interest in developing and staffing a health center in a medically deprived area of Wilmington. By June of 1968 the Health Planning Council and Greater Wilmington Development Council had joined with the interested physicians, Pharmacy Associates, Inc., and the Wilmington Medical Center to explore establishing a clinic. South Wilmington's Southbridge section, a primarily black, low-income neighborhood isolated from the city by the Christina River, was selected as a site for a health center and neighborhood residents were asked to organize for an exchange of information.

After several neighborhood meetings involving Southbridge residents and interested physicians, a Neighborhood Advisory Committee was formed. That committee, which was renamed the Southbridge Medical Action Committee (and later the Southbridge Medical Advisory Council, Inc.), determined that residents wanted an emergency walk-in service. In the months that followed the committee prepared documents describing the proposed facilities and budget estimates, explored funding options, and investigated property to house the center. Neighborhood health care centers in New York and Boston were visited, bylaws for the Southbridge Medical Advisory Council (S.M.A.C.) were written and revised, and by June of 1969 S.M.A.C. was incorporated.

The bylaws state the fourfold purpose of S.M.A.C.: to provide medical services to nearby residents, to provide health education for patients, to provide training and employment if possible for area residents in the delivery of health care, and to coordinate efforts with other community services in the planning and/or provision of health care.

Southbridge received support from a variety of groups and individuals. The Wilmington Medical Center provided training for Southbridge staff, the Delaware Pharmaceutical Association staffed the pharmacy, Physicians Organized to Practice at Southbridge provided volunteer physicians, area physicians donated medical equipment, and the Crystal Trust (a $27,000 grant) and a private donor ($5,000) provided the initial financial support.

On September 28, 1970, the Southbridge Medical Activities Center opened at 1113 A Street as Wilmington's first neighborhood health care center to graduate from planning to operation. Initially the center employed one full-time nurse, Southbridge resident Mrs. Bessie Bungy, who later became the director of S.M.A.C. The facility was open weekdays from 1-8 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with doctors available in the evenings and Saturday mornings.

For the next three years volunteer physicians and pharmacists provided professional services at S.M.A.C. During the first nine months of operation S.M.A.C. provided medical services to 2,006 patients. The center cooperated with state agencies, providing free space for child guidance counseling, a well-baby clinic, and in the Spring of 1971 provided the first screening program in Delaware for sickle cell anemia.

As the demand for services increased, the need for additional staff became critical. Consequently, in 1974 the Southbridge began the transformation from volunteer to paid professionals. Grants from the State of Delaware and New Castle County through revenue sharing enabled the hiring of physicians.

On August 1, 1977, the Southbridge Medical Activities Center became a federally funded community health center, which allowed the center to provide full-time medical services, dental services, family planning counseling, and minor surgical procedures. The Southbridge Medical Activities Center continues today as the Henrietta Johnson Medical Center.

Motivated by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Allston J. Morris was one of the original physicians who approached the Health Planning Council in 1968. He was an active participant in the neighborhood discussions, early committees and served on the board of the Southbridge Medical Advisory Council. In addition, Dr. Morris facilitated the formation of Physicians' Organization to Practice in Southbridge (P.O.P.S.), later known as Physicians Organized to Practice in Southbridge, and one of the first volunteer physicians to staff the center.

Source:

Note: Biographical and institutional information is derived from clippings, press releases, and notes in the collection.


Scope and Content Note

The Papers of Dr. Allston Morris related to Southbridge Medical Advisory Council and Activities Center, which span the dates 1968-1980 (bulk dates 1968-1974), were a gift of Mrs. Emily B. Morris. Dr. Morris's papers document the creation and early existence of the Southbridge Medical Activities Center through 1.2 linear feet of correspondence, minutes, agenda, clippings, surveys, photographs, slides, programs, medical forms, physicians' log, reports, bylaws, articles, statistics, schedules, and cassette tape.

Because Dr. Morris was intricately involved in the creation of the Southbridge Medical Activities Center (S.M.A.C.) and its administrative board, the Southbridge Medical Advisory Council, Inc., his papers record in detail the establishment and early development of the Southbridge Center. His papers begin with "A Proposal for the Delivery of Health Service in South Wilmington," and continue through a program celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Southbridge Center in 1980.

Dr. Morris maintained notebooks of the first three years of planning prior to the opening of the center in September of 1970. In his notebooks are minutes of 1968 meetings of the Greater Wilmington Development Council and the Health Planning Council at which the ideas for a health care center in a low-income area of Wilmington were explored, as well as reports from site-visits to existing clinics. Morris's earliest memoranda to colleagues soliciting their support for such a center and his correspondence with early planners, Dr. Bernadine Paulshock, Ernie Shortliff, Cliff Foster, Jan DeLong, Joan Hammond, and others are arranged in chronological order in his notebooks.

Dr. Morris's papers also record in photographs, blueprints, and notes the renovations necessary to create the center at the property on 113 A Street. Notes documenting the hiring of the first staff, the development of the medical records used by the center, the drafts of bylaws for the Southbridge Medical Advisory Council, and information on health care delivery are available in the papers.

Records describing the operation of the Southbridge Medical Activities Center during the first five years of its existence are present in the form of staff and board meeting minutes, financial reports, photographs of patients and staff (1973), reports of the executive director, and press clippings publicizing the center. Particularly informative is a slide program (with cassette recording of accompanying narrative) which describes the development, operation, and challenges of the Southbridge Center. A physician's log, containing brief comments entered by physicians on duty at the center between 1970 and 1972, records requests for supplies and training in pediatrics, notes any problems at the clinic (e.g. equipment needs or cleaning issues), and also includes the humorous banter among the physicians and staff.

With its fifteen volunteer doctors and seventeen pharmacists, Southbridge Medical Activities Center was the first (and probably last) privately-funded community health center in Delaware. Dr. Morris's papers document the transformation of the center from private to federal funding, but also the involvement of the community in this project, the dedication of volunteer physicians and pharmacists, and the possibilities when community agencies pool their resources to address a need.


Series Outline

.
                                                            
I.   Planning and development of the Southbridge Medical Council and Center,
          1968-1970                                             

     1.  "A Proposal for the Delivery of Health Service in South Wilmington,"
          1968-1970                                             

     2.  Allston Morris's notebooks regarding the Southbridge project, 1968-1970

     3.  "Bylaws of the Southbridge Medical Advisory Council," 1968

     4.  Southbridge Medical Activities Center Building, 1970   

     5.  Personnel, 1970                                        

     6.  Medical records, 1970                                 

     7.  Information gathered regarding clinics and health care issues, 1969-1970


II.  Operation of the Southbridge Medical Activities Center, 1969-1980

     1.  Administration, 1968-1980                             

     2.  Southbridge Medical Activities Center Staff, 1970-1976

     3.  Photographs of the Southbridge Activities Center in operation, [1973]

     4.  Public relations and recognition, 1970-1978           


Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

1         Series I.  Planning and development of the Southbridge Medical Advisory
               Council, Inc. and Southbridge Medical Activities Center, 1968-1970


          Series I.1.  "A Proposal for the Delivery of Health Service in South
               Wilmington," 1968-1970

     F1   Includes proposal, correspondence, and a brief paper written by David Platt
          (1968), which advocates a different approach than the Morris proposal.


          Series I.2.  Allston Morris's notebooks regarding the Southbridge project,
               1968-1970
               The two loose-leaf notebooks, and one folder of material for a third
               notebook, contain correspondence, financial information, memoranda,
               minutes of meetings of physicians and the founding Council, a proposal
               for the pharmacy, and flyers for the September 1970 opening.  Notes and
               correspondence found in the notebooks also establish the relationships
               between and the Health Planning Council, the Greater Wilmington Health
               Council, the Wilmington Medical Center, and the Wilmington Model
               Cities Project.
 
     F2   1968
     F3   1969
     F4   1970


          Series I.3.  "Bylaws of the Southbridge Medical Advisory Council," 1968

     F5   Includes Morris's original autograph draft of the bylaws, with notes attached from
          Dr. Bernadine Paulshock, plus copies of the bylaws as approved in 1968.


          Series I.4.  Southbridge Medical Activities Center Building, 1970

     F6   Includes a blueprint for renovations to the original building, forty-five
          photographs of the Southbridge neighborhood and the building, before and during
          the renovation.  The photographs include Dr. Morris and the contractor.


          Series I.5.  Personnel, 1970

     F7   Includes minutes of the Personnel Committee, notes taken during interviews with
          prospective staff, a copy of Southbridge's personnel policies, form letters sent to
          Wilmington-area physicians recruiting them to serve in the clinic and/or soliciting
          their support through donations of equipment, supplies, or cash donations.

1         Series I.  Planning and development of Southbridge (cont'd)

          Series I.6.  Medical records, 1970

     F8   Includes drafts of medical history and examination forms for use at S.M.A.C.,
          plus notes by Dr. Paulshock and samples of forms used by other clinics and
          hospitals in the United States.


          Series I.7.  Information gathered regarding clinics and health care issues,
               1969-1970

     F9   Includes clippings, articles, reports, and notes regarding other clinics and health
          care issues related to the poor, intercity, and rural patients.  Some of the clippings
          describe Wilmington-area medical issues.  Many of the notes in the folder are
          from Dr. Paulshock, who compiled the information and wrote the reports
          describing a committee's visits to other clinics similar to the proposed
          Southbridge center.


          Series II.  Operation of the Southbridge Medical Activities Center, 1969-1980
               Material in this series details the operation of the center from the opening
               on September 28, 1970 through 1980.  The Board of Directors of the
               Southbridge Medical Advisory Council actually began operation in
               November 1969.  Prior to the opening the Board recruited physicians,
               hired staff, established committees, and secured funding for the clinic.

          Series II.1.  Administration, 1968-1980

          Board of Directors of the Southbridge Medical Advisory Council, Inc.
               Includes minutes, agenda, and reports from Board meetings, as well as
               notes, some financial reports, and material related to annual meetings of
               the Board and Council.  See also the Morris notebooks in F3-4 for material
               related to 1969.

     F10  1969-1970
     F11  1971-1972
     F12  1973-1980
          A program for the 1980 annual meeting of the Council includes a brief history of
          the center.
     F13  [n.d.]
     F14  Health survey administered by S.M.A.C., 1970-1971
          The questionnaire used in the survey was developed and tested in December 1970. 
          The survey was conducted door-to-door (325 homes) in the Southbridge
          neighborhood by trained residents between January and March of 1971.  Includes
                    blank forms, copies of the data results, and the final report.
1        
          Series II.  Operation of Southbridge (cont'd)
          Series II.1.  Administration (cont'd)

          Board of Directors (cont'd)
     F15  Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, 1971-1976
          Includes minutes, agenda, and reports.

     F16  Committees, 1972-1976
          Includes minutes, agenda, memoranda, and reports of the Nominating and
          Personnel Committees, plus reports from the ad-hoc committees on self-pay
          patients and annual meeting planning.

     F17  Bylaws of the Southbridge Medical Advisory Council, 1968-1974
          Includes copies of the original bylaws (1968), the 1974 revised bylaws,
          memoranda regarding the revisions, and minutes of a 1974 ad-hoc committee to
          revise the bylaws.

     F18  Building alterations, 1972
          Blueprints and drawings describing the building alterations needed to install
          medical equipment.

     F19  Correspondence and reports, 1970-1975
          Includes communications with Planned Parenthood, De LaWarr Center
          (Southbridge expanded services to this center by 1974), Wilmington Medical
          Center (including a few memoranda regarding Morris's work at the Medical
          Center), Delaware Lung Association, Wilmington Mental Hygiene Clinic, and the
          Health Planning Council, plus a contract with the state of Delaware to deliver
          health services at Southbridge.

     F20  Financial reports, 1970-1976
          Includes budgets, monthly financial reports (income, disbursement, balances),
          reports of accounts receivable with line items for Medicare and Medicaid, and
          schedules of fees for doctors and pharmacists.


          Series II.2.  Southbridge Medical Activities Center Staff, 1970-1976

          Executive Director, 1970-1976

     F21  Monthly and annual reports, minutes of staff meetings, orientation schedules for
               new staff, memoranda and correspondence, 1971-1976
          Includes the letter of resignation of the clinic's first Executive Director, Bessie
          Bungy.

1         Series II.  Operation of Southbridge (cont'd)
          Series II.2.  Southbridge Medical Activities Center Staff (cont'd)
          Executive Director (cont'd)

     F22  Monthly S.M.A.C. statistical reports, 1970-1976
          Reports detail numbers of patients, self-pay patients, as well as Medicaid and
          Medicare patients.  In 1974-1976, the reports include statistics for the De LaWarr
          Center and in 1976, statistics for the Northeast clinic.

          Physician's Organized to Practice in Southbridge (P.O.P.S)

     F23  Agenda and minutes of meetings, reports, correspondence, schedules for
               physicians volunteering at the clinic, fee schedules for services, and other
               information, 1970-1975
          See also the Morris notebooks in F3-4.

     F24  Physician recruitment, 1971-1972
          Includes correspondence, vitae, and memoranda suggesting doctors to solicit to
          volunteer in the clinic.

     F25  Physicians' daily log, 1970-1972
          Notebook containing brief comments and notes by physicians while on duty at the
          center.  The physicians recorded requests for supplies, requested training in
          pediatrics, noted any problems in the clinic (e.g. equipment needs or cleaning
          issues), and engaged in humorous banter among themselves.

     F26  Pharmacy Associates, Inc., 1971 and [n.d.]
          Members of Pharmacy Associates, one of Southbridge's founding groups, staffed
          the Southbridge Pharmacy.  Includes letters, memoranda, copies of "Model Cities
          Neighborhood Demonstration Pharmacy" and "Summary of Pharmacists' Roles
          for S.M.A.C."  A copy of the drug formulary at the Northeast State Service
          Center, which served as a guide for the drug inventory developed at Southbridge,
          is also included.


          Series II.3.  Photographs of the Southbridge Activities Center in operation,
               [1973]

     F27  Five black and white (11 x 12) photographs of staff and patients, [1973]
          Includes Bessie Bungy.  Removed to Box 2.

1         Series II.  Operation of Southbridge (cont'd)

          Series II.4.  Public relations and recognition, 1970-1978

     F28  Slide presentation regarding Southbridge Medical Activities Center, [n.d.]
          A professionally prepared slide presentation with cassette-recorded narration,
          created for Physicians Organized to Practice at Southbridge, Pharmacy Associates,
          and the Northeast Medical Group.  Produced and directed by John J. Traynor, Jr.,
          with technical supervision by Paul P. Potocki, Jr., with the assistance of E. I. Du
          Pont De Nemours & Co., Inc.  Participants in the slides include Bessie Bungy, Dr.
          Vincent Del Duca, Jr., Dr. Jack Gelb, and Dr. Allston J. Morris.  Includes slides,
          cassette tape of the narrative and sound effects, and two copies of the text with
          slide sequence noted.  A copy of a Morris speech delivered in conjunction with
          the slides is also present.  The cassette tape has been removed to Box 2.

     F29  Brochure, 1975
          Three copies of a brochure about the Southbridge facilities and functions.  It
          provides a brief history of the center, a current financial report, and an explanation
          of services offered at the De LaWarr State Service Center.

     F30  Press releases, articles, and clippings, 1970-1976
          Clippings and articles regarding the Southbridge Medical Activities Center, health
          clinics, local grants, health care in Delaware, and staff members.  Several press
          releases prepared by S.M.A.C. staff are also present.  Several of the larger
          newspaper clippings have been removed to the oversize section.

     F31  Delaware Public Health Association Award, 1973
          Letter announcing Southbridge as the recipient of the Delaware Public Health
          Association's first ever award for outstanding community service in the field of
          public health.

     F32  "Southbridge Center A Multi-Purpose Community Center for Wilmington,
               Delaware," 1978 May 28
          Design project submitted by J. Robert Marshall, Jr. for his Architecture 422
          course at Hampton Institute.


2    Includes five photographs and cassette tape.

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