Administrative History: Telemedicine Return to Education

The Telemedicine Centre at Memorial University, established in 1976 under the guidance of Dr. A. M. House, was officially opened in 1977. Dr. House began his medical career as a General Practitioner in the town of Baie Verte in 1952.  During the winter months the area could become quite isolated. As a result, Dr. House became interested in developing methods to provide health care and education to rural areas in Newfoundland and Labrador, an interest that has remained with him to this day.                    

Telemedicine, later renamed the Tele-health and Educational Technology Resource Agency (TETRA), was therefore created to provide continuing education courses for physicians, nurses and other health professionals throughout the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Starting with the use of satellite technology in the early 1970’s, TETRA has since developed proficiency with all types of information and communications systems and has acquired international recognition as one of the most advanced Tele-health and Tele-education service providers in North America. These services include conference calling, videoconferencing, and web-based technologies.  Clients eventually included various levels of government and international organizations, as well as private companies. On 25 January 2007, the Tele-health and Educational Technologies Resource Agency (TETRA) and the Office of Professional Development merged forming Professional Development & Conferencing Services (PDCS).

Display: Tele-Health and Tele-Education at Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1976-1981

Medical Audio-Visual Service (M.A.V.S.) created this display [ca. 1982], to demonstrate the accomplishments of the first five years of Telemedicine.

Permission to reproduce the display posters for this exhibit was granted by the following source:
Material reprinted with the express permission of: Health Sciences Information and Media Service (HSIMS), Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Unispace, ‘82
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In August 1982, Memorial University of Newfoundland demonstrated Canadian satellite technology in the fields of health and education, representing Canada at a United Nations Conference, Unispace ’82, which was held in Vienna, Austria. Dr. A. M. House, who, at that time, was associate dean of clinical affairs and continuing medical education, as well as head of Telemedicine (Faculty of Medicine), presented the live transmission from St. John’s to the Hofburg Palace, Vienna. Dr. House described several teleconferencing and telemedicine techniques. There is also a conversation between Professor Y. Pal, chairman of Unispace ’82 at the conference in Vienna and Dr. House in St. John’s, using two way audio and one way video. The Federal Department of Communications (DOC), the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Television Station (CBNT, St. John’s), and the Telemedicine group working together made this live transmission possible. Dr. Bert Blevis, then Director General for Space Programs (DOC), opened and closed the telecast.

Permission to reproduce the video, Unispace, ’82, for this exhibit was granted by the following source:
Material reprinted with the express permission of: Distance Education and Learning Technologies (DELT), Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Articles Relating to Telemedicine
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Newfoundland Medical Association

February, 1976
November, 1976             

The Evening Telegram

12 April 1977
26 October 1978 

MUN Gazette

15 April 1977
27 May 1977

Permission to reproduce the Newfoundland Medical Association Newsletter articles and the newspaper articles in this exhibit was granted by the following sources:
Material reprinted with the express permission of: The Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, Robert Ritter (Executive Director).
Material reprinted with the express permission of: The Telegram, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Miller Ayre (Publisher) and Russell Wangersky (Editor).
Material reprinted with the express permission of: The Gazette, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Dave Sorensen (Editor).

Biographical Sketch:  Dr. A. M. House

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