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Jane Cassels Record, PhD

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Jane Cassels Record’s book Staffing Primary Care in 1990: New Health Practitioners, Cost Savings and Policy Issues was published by Springer in 1981. The book was based on a decade of studies of physician assistants and nurse practitioners working in the Kaiser Permanente Health Plan, Portland, OR. These studies were the first to describe the use of non-physicians in a health maintenance organization (HMO), the quality of care they provided and the cost- effectiveness of their use. The studies were conducted while she was the senior economist at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. The first bound copy of the book appeared on her desk, the day after she died on February 8, 1981 at age 65 from cancer at her Lake Oswego home. Her death ended a close and productive working relationship that spanned three decades with her husband, Wilson, a professor of Sociology at Portland State University.

Record was a graduate of Georgia Women’s College at Milledgeville, GA. During World War II she worked as an economist for the National Labor Board in Atlanta and published in 1942 Women, Negroes and War Jobs followed in 1944 by The Labor Board: An Experiment in Wage Stabilization. She received her doctorate in economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1954. While at Berkeley, she worked as a graduate research assistant for the Institute of Industrial Relations. Her dissertation was ti-tled, The Rise and Fall of a Maritime Union, and was published in 1956.

Although an economist, Record published extensively in sociological journals, many co-authored with her husband Wilson Record. Their landmark book, Little Rock: USA on the struggle to desegregate Central High School, was published in 1960. Although southerners, they were both at the intellectual forefront of the civil rights movement for African Americans and women during the 1960s. She held a Guggenheim fellowship in 1968 and served in a number of academic and public policy posts, and was chairperson of the Department of Economics at the University of Portland just prior to joining the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in 1970. She was one of the first Americans to visit China when it became possible to do so in 1973. In 1976, she published a paper, Totalist and Pluralist Perspective of Women’s Liberation, a comparison of American and Chinese views of sex roles.

Her professional interests were in economics, cost containment, output measurement, and political economy of health. Record’s work is considered seminal in identifying the PA as an important development in US healthcare service delivery and how a great deal of primary care could be transferred to this “new health professional”. She published 10 papers, two monographs and a book on the PA in various roles. Her research included time motion studies of PAs interfacing with patients and physicians, assessing the degree of responsibility the physician was willing to delegate to a PA, and how PAs were underused. The PA profession is fortunate to have as one of its earliest researchers a person of her stature and background. Such pivotal observations contributed to her maximum substitution model theory of how health care services could be improved with expanding the utilization of PAs. Most of her studies were federally funded and she presented her work in many venues including the American Academy of Physician Assistants throughout the late 1970s. Record assisted the profession in gaining financial support for the educational development of physician assistants.

Acknowledgments: This biography was written by Reginald Carter with the assistance of Roderick S. Hooker and submitted to the Society on March 1, 2013. The photograph was provided to the Society by the Kaiser Permanente, Portland, OR and was taken for identification purposes in 1972. Much of the biographical information comes from a memorial article appearing in the August 1981 issue of Footnotes, a newsletter published by the American Sociological Society.

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