FEBRUARY 14, 1959
TOPEKA, Kan.—We left Chicago early Thursday morning, flew to Kansas City, and drove to here. The drive over the superhighway is 61 miles but the road is so excellent that we arrived in Topeka about 11:30 a.m., which meant that it had taken us about an hour and a half.
The two ladies who met us in Kansas City and escorted us to Topeka represented the honor student group of Washburn University, where I lectured Thursday night. They are both associated with education—one, Miss Hall, is a librarian, and the other, Miss Hellen Hocker, teaches physical education and recreation at Washburn University.
Miss Hocker was in Holland as an exchange teacher in her field and evidently enjoyed her time there and taught her young people much American folk dancing. She told me she travelled on every possible occasion and brought back a feeling of appreciation for the people in the areas which she had been able to visit.
She said she especially enjoyed and respected the Danes and the Finns. The cities she loved best were Rome and Copenhagen. She acknowledged that Paris had lacked charm for her, partly because she had only seen it in the rain. In Rome the sun had shone and she liked the bringing together of the old and the new there and found the people charming and friendly, just as they were in Denmark.
After depositing our bags in the hotel in Topeka we went at once to the Menninger Foundation where Dr. Karl Menninger had invited us for lunch. In a general way he explained to me how the Menninger Brothers Clinic and Foundation works.
Theirs is a private group and their patients are paying patients for the most part. They have a building for children, and for adults they have every kind of facility to develop new interests.
But Dr. Karl Menninger and his associates spend only about three hours a day in their own offices because this is a state that has developed coordination between Federal, state and private work to an astonishing degree.
Dr. Menninger has offices in the Veterans Administration Hospital, he consults with the Air Force hospital, with the state psychiatric hospital, and with the hospital for delinquent boys. All the psychiatric hospitals in the state are linked, by arrangement with the telephone company, by a separate wire so that at any time they can hold a consultation over the telephone. This is said to be a cheaper and more efficient way to operate than by sending a psychiatrist 400 miles into western Kansas and having only the benefit of his advice instead of the joint consultation of a number of doctors.
After lunch we went over to the new VA hospital, which was opened in August of last year and has 1,011 beds. This hospital was probably located in Topeka in order to have the advantage of the close tie with the Menninger Foundation. Its three-year residency program in psychiatry is conducted in affiliation with the Menninger Foundation under the guidance of a medical advisory committee.
More than 440 physicians have received training in this since its introduction in 1946. All residents in psychiatry hold concomitant appointment as fellows of the Menninger School of Psychiatry.
The VA hospital also collaborates with the Topeka State Hospital, which has 1,350 beds, and the Menninger Foundation to extend the residents' experience to patient groups not treated in the VA hospital.