September 12, 1990
On this day, the Indiana University School of Medicine announced the creation of the Bowen Research Center to focus on the role of the primary-care physician in health care. The center was named after School of Medicine alumnus, former governor of Indiana, and former secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Otis R. Bowen, MD.
The Bowen Research Center would be located in the School of Medicine's Department of Family Medicine, chaired by Dr. Deborah Allen, MD. Its purpose was to develop methods for primary-care physicians in both rural and urban settings to reduce preventable disease and curb health-care costs. It would foster multidisciplinary research to prevent disease and promote healthy modes of living. "This is a different way to approach medicine," said Dr. Allen. "We have to find a way to affect behavior and prevent, not just treat, diseases." Her department would collaborate with the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) to run the Bowen Center.
"Doc" Bowen (1918-2013) was born in northern Indiana. He earned a B.A. at Indiana University-Bloomington and the M.D. from the IU School of Medicine in 1942. After service in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in World War Two, he practiced medicine in Bremen, Indiana, curtailing his practice only when he ran for governor in 1972. He served in the Indiana House of Representatives in the 1950s and 1960s, becoming speaker of the House in 1967. He ran for governor and served two terms (1973-1981). In 1981 he accepted an appointment as clinical professor of family medicine in the IU School of Medicine.
In 1985 President Ronald Reagan appointed Bowen as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. He served in that position until 1989.
Today, the center is called the Bowen Center for Health Workforce Research and Policy. It undertakes "research to inform health policy, improve health care delivery and promote population health."
To learn more about "Doc" Bowen's role in the growth and development of IUPUI, consult IUPUI Special Collections and Archives firstname.lastname@example.org.