Special Collections Department
Papers of Dr. Allston Morris
Southbridge Medical Advisory Council
and Activities Center
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.
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
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.
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
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.
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,  4. Public relations and recognition, 1970-1978
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,  F27 Five black and white (11 x 12) photographs of staff and patients,  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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