Document Type



Oregon Health & Science University

Table of Contents

Biographical Information; Medical School Years; Early Research; Private Practice in Camas; Peter Bent Brigham Hospital; Getting Married; Vitamin Deficiency Research; Neurology Training; Military Service; Multiple Sclerosis Research; Fat Embolism Research; Coming to Oregon; Building the Division of Neurology; Low-Fat Diet; Blood Viscosity Research; Reflections on a Career; Funding at UOMS; Women in Medicine; Dr. Laurence Selling; Dean David Baird; Town-Gown Relations; Dr. Bert Dunphy; Index


Roy Laver Swank, M.D., talks about his early years in Camas, Washington, his education at the University of Washington and Northwestern University Medical School, then turns to his long career in medical research. His research interests centered largely on multiple sclerosis, especially the role of dietary fats in multiple sclerosis, but he also studied fat embolism and blood viscosity. He recalls his years building up the staff and research programs in University of Oregon Medical School, Division of Neurology, and talks about Dean David Baird and Dr. Laurence Selling and the administration of the Medical School. Finally, he discusses the town-gown tensions that flared during the 1950s, especially between Good Samaritan Hospital and the Medical School. Swank was born in Camas, Washington on March 5, 1909. He was educated at the University of Washington and Northwestern University Medical School, earning his M.D. in 1935. Swank completed a fellowship in pathology and a residency in cardiology at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. He joined the faculty of UOMS in 1954 and was the first full-time Professor of Neurology until 1975. After leaving the UOMS, Swank started the Swank Multiple Sclerosis Clinic in Beaverton, Oregon in 1993. He was Internationally recognized for his work in blood viscosity, fat embolism, and diet therapy for multiple sclerosis. He also developed the Swank low-fat diet and wrote several books on the subject.


Transcript of oral history interview with Roy Laver Swank, conducted on June 30, 1998 by Joan Ash.


OHSU Oral History Project




School of Medicine


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