So what is the Leading Edge?  It is a blog dedicated to the intermingled history of American medicine and professional leadership development.  In this day and age it may seem unlikely to link these two topics but  it is done every day at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and the Letterman Institute. 

The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is a nationally accredited museum dedicated to the medical story of  our nations most tragic period.  While popular histories have always depicted Civil War medicine as cruel and backward, the historical record paints a  much more positive image.  The Civil War saw the advent of plastic and reconstructive surgery, neurology,  modern hospital design and administration, emergency medical theory and practice, anesthesia on a massive scale, dietetics, medical records and statistics,  and camp sanitation.  It is safe to say that in 1861 there was no theory or practice in place that would have allowed the modern emergency room or ambulance service to exist.  By the end of 1862 the framework for both of these lifesaving services were written and in use.  The Civil War was a watershed in medical history.

The Letterman Institute builds on the mission of the Museum.  The Institute looks at the managerial, organizational, logistical, and leadership practices and innovations that brought about this watershed moment in our national history.  While the Institute is a recent addition to the Museum’s organization its program is not.  The Museum started providing specialized leadership and professional development programs for the Office of Personnel Management Presidential Management Fellows Program in 2004.  A year later additional programs were developed for the Capstone Symposium of  the Joint Medical Executive Skills Institute and various military medical commands.  The audience for these programs is incredibly diverse including organizations from the National Security Agency to local churches.   Despite the diversity of the audience the theme is simple;  service based leadership, founded in sound practice and dedicated to a clear mission, is capable of world-changing results.  

That brings us to the purpose of this blog.  It is my hope that this outlet will allow more people to learn from this long hidden story of medical and leadership innovation.  The story has already transformed the lives over 3,500 professionals in various fields.  It is also credited with life saving organizational changes on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.  I hope you find as much hope and promise in these stories and lessons as I have. 

Please come back often!


1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Rainer Braendlein  |  April 10, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Hello Mr. Wunderlich,

    I appreciate your comment on CNN and wanted to encourage you to add on some comments on CNN about the account of Jesus or the Church by Tacitus, Flavius Josephus and Pliny the Younger. You may even know another accounts.

    Kind regards,

    Rainer Braendlein from Munich/Germany


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