Surgeon helps fund the library named to honor his role model

Dr. Blaisdell and wife at Education Building opening in 2006. ©2009 UC Regents
F. William Blaisdell and his wife, Marilyn, in front of the new Education Building, which includes the library named in his honor.

John Osborn was an intern at San Francisco General Hospital in the late 1960s when the hospital’s chief of surgery, F. William Blaisdell, suggested he do his general surgery residency training at UC Davis, then a relatively new medical school.

Osborn, who did his undergraduate work at UC Davis, had been thinking about UC San Fran­cisco. But advice from someone like Blaisdell, whose legendary career as a trauma surgeon was then in full swing, was not to be taken lightly. A subsequent letter of recommendation from Blaisdell, today a professor emeritus at the UC Davis School of Medicine, no doubt played a role in Osborn’s acceptance to the Sacramento program.

“Dr. Blaisdell really steered me to UC Davis and in­fluenced the direction of my career,” Osborn recalled.

An inspired career

Dr. John Osborn“Dr. Blaisdell really steered me to UC Davis and in­fluenced the direction of my career.”
— John Osborn

Osborn initially thought he would go into pedi­atric surgery. But he changed his mind after becoming exposed to plastic surgery during his training at UC Davis.

“I enjoyed the creativity of it, the geometry of moving the skin around,” Osborn explained. He also realized that by repairing cleft lips and palates and other congenital deformities, he could still work with children.

More naming opportunities

UC Davis School of Medicine Education Building. ©2009 UC RegentsThe new UC Davis School of Medicine Education Building, which includes the F. William Blaisdell, M.D., Medical Library, was recognized as the best Northern California higher-education construction project of 2006 by California Construction magazine.

The gleaming new facility is financed through health system reserve funds and philanthropic support, and there are a number of naming opportunities still available for supporters of the School of Medicine. For information, e-mail Elizabeth Abad.

Today, more than three decades later, Osborn is a prominent plastic surgeon. As a member of the Plastic Surgery Center, with offices in Sacramento and Roseville, he has a successful private practice. He has presented papers at both national and regional plastic surgery conferences and has published in professional textbooks and journals — including a 2003 study done with Thomas Stevenson, chief of plastic surgery at UC Davis, on pneumothorax as a complication of breast surgery.

In 1991, after donating many hours teaching at the School of Medicine, Osborn became a full clinical professor — to this day he is the only clinical faculty member in plastic surgery to receive a special recognition award from UC Davis residents.

He credits his successful career in no small part to Blaisdell — which is the major reason why Osborn donated $25,000 in support of the F. William Blaisdell, M.D., Medical Library. The library is part of the $46.2 million state-of-the-art Education Building, which serves as the school’s headquarters for medical training at all levels.

A valued resource

The Blaisdell library covers 15,000 square feet that includes reading areas, group study rooms and traditional library stacks. Its media center features computer workstations with advanced graphics, statistical and multimedia presentation capabilities, and consultation rooms with videoconferencing and distance-learning technologies. It also contains Blaisdell’s private collection of books, manuscripts and journals depicting the history of medicine and trauma care dating back to the Civil War.

Blaisdell, an outstanding and influential surgeon, was a role model for countless residents and students, including Osborn.

“He was pivotal in my life,” he said.