Posts by: Rebecca Morin

June 17, 2016 is the 241st anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, an event we mark in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as Bunker Hill Day. I was born and raised in Massachusetts, and now make my home in Charlestown (site of the battle), so here are the Top Ten Things You Should Know About Charlestown and the Battle of Bunker Hill.

1) The Battle of Bunker Hill was mostly fought on Breed’s Hill. That’s where the Monument is. Bunker Hill is actually taller and steeper, and is home to the lovely Saint Francis de Sales, a beautiful Roman Catholic church dedicated in 1862. If you don’t know which hill is which, we know you’re a tourist.

Bunker Hill Monument and Col. William Prescott statue

By Siddharth Mallya. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

2) Charlestown was actually not part of the City of Boston when the Battle took place. Charlestown is OLDER than Boston (as any proud Townie will gladly inform you), and did not become part of the City until 1874.

3) Charlestown is where Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride really kicked off. He was ferried in a rowboat from Boston, landing near the Charlestown Battery, and picking up a horse from his friend Deacon John Larkin, a lifelong Charlestown resident.

4) There is debate as to why the Colonial forces fortified Breed’s Hill instead of Bunker Hill, although many think it is because Breed’s Hill is closer to Boston. The British had planned the siege to capture Bunker Hill, as they wanted to dig in fortifications on the area’s highest points.

5) It took the British three attempts to capture Breed’s Hill, even though their numbers were far greater than the Colonial forces.

6) Charlestown burns during the Battle, the first of two major fires to strike the community.

7) Proud Charlestown residents still fly the Bunker Hill Battle Flag.

Bunker Hill Flag

By DevinCook at English Wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons

8) While the British defeat the Colonists at the Battle of Bunker Hill, they suffer severe casualties and the Siege of Boston comes to a stalemate.

9) The Bunker Hill Monument (which you now know is on Breed’s Hill) is 221 feet tall and was completed in 1842.

10) Beloved French hero of the American Revolution, the Marquis de Lafayette, is said to be buried beneath a sprinkling of soil from Bunker Hill, procured by his son.

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Hey MD18-ers! Welcome to your Core Clerkships!

The Hirsh Health Sciences Library is thrilled to introduce a new resource that we’re trying out, the LWW Health Library for Clerkship/Clinical Rotations.



This resource brings together 39 authoritative titles needed for each of the core clerkship rotations, and pulls together in-demand titles previously only available in print, including the Step-up, Recall, Blueprints, Shelf Life, and BRS titles. Access nearly 5000 practice questions in Internal Medicine, OB/GYN, Pediatrics, Surgery, Family Medicine, and Psychiatry, as well as 150 clinical cases designed to take you step-by-step through patient management and decision-making.

This collection brings together many of the resources you need to master your clinical clerkships; don’t delay, check it out today!

p.s. This is a great resource for students in the PA program, and anyone else seeking timely and trusted resources to reference in a clinical setting.

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After more than thirty years, the team at Hirsh Health Sciences Library confronts our last week with our beloved colleague Elizabeth Richardson. On Friday April 29, we send our matriarch off to begin the next chapter of her life, a well-deserved retirement.

Elizabeth has touched the lives of so many students, staff, and faculty members, not to mention librarians across the campuses of Tufts University. Her dedication to the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, to the preservation of the history of the Tufts Health Science Campus, and to all students who crossed her path is immeasurable. And believe me, we are ALL students in the presence of Elizabeth Richardson! It is a grand understatement to say we will miss her terribly.

Our Elizabeth is an incredible librarian and teacher, a master gardener, a dedicated volunteer, a committed mother, and a very dear friend. Please feel free to pop by the Library this week and bid a fond adieu to our dear Elizabeth!


Peonies by Liz West is licensed under CC BY 2.0


March 15th…the day to settle debts…possibly a day to dress a man like a goat and run him out of town...and famously, the day Julius Caesar was brutally stabbed to death before the Roman Senate in 44 BC.

Lots of bad things have happened on the Ides of March, and we know you don’t need more stress in your life. So come visit the Library Service Desk on Sackler 4 Wednesday 3/16 and Thursday 3/17, starting at noon, and unwind with some quality craft time!

This month, we’re featuring paper bag puppets and pompom study buddies. Come get your craft on with us. Maybe if Brutus took a craft break, he wouldn’t have felt so…stabby.


By now you have probably heard that Punxsutawney Phil, that most famous of Pennsylvanian marmots, did not see his shadow, foretelling an early spring this year. Lucky us!

Aside from wresting a fat, sleepy rodent from his burrow, there are other traditions associated with this day…including eating groundhog! They are not a threatened species, and are generally considered to be pest animals, especially to gardeners. So maybe it is not shocking that when chef and food writer (and farmer) Ian Knauer found his vegetable beds decimated by a groundhog, he decided to eat the culprit, an event chronicled in his book The Farm, accompanied by a recipe for Groundhog Cacciatore.

I think I will stick to a different Groundhog Day treat, this adorable groundhog-shaped Groundhog Day Cake from CakeSpy!

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Some changes are afoot in the Library!

Smart Medicine, a clinical decision making resource from the American College of Physicians, will no longer be available via the Hirsh Health Sciences Library as of January 1, 2016.

We aren’t leaving you high and dry, so don’t despair. There are a variety of Point of Care tools available to you as a student, faculty, or staff member of Tufts University. We suggest checking out:

DynaMed:a comprehensive, evidence based resource, which you can also use via a free app on your smartphone. Visit this page for instructions.

BMJ Best Practice: a tool combining evidence, guidelines, research, and expert opinion, compiled by the BMJ Evidence Centre. This comprehensive and easy-to-use tool is also available on a mobile platform, which you can read more about here. Keep in mind, this is a UK resource, so some information (such as clinical practice guidelines) may differ slightly from US recommendations.

UpToDate: an accessible point-of-care resource with continually-updated research in 22 clinical specialties. Available ON CAMPUS ONLY.

Don’t let our changes bring you down! Check out these great resources, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.

At some point this week we are celebrating National Ask a Stupid Question Day- I can’t tell you when, because reports differ as to whether the Day in question is September 28 or the last school day in September.

According to this article in the Telegraph, the point of the day is to encourage students to ask questions they might otherwise be embarrassed or too shy to ask.

Here at the Hirsh Health Sciences Library, we are all about answering your questions. Ask us anything! Step right up, don’t be shy. We will never tell you that you’ve asked a stupid question or give you a stupid answer!

You know what is kind of stupid? Shaving a baby. Or letting a baby shave himself. Don’t ask us about that.


Gillette Safety Razor Co. (Courtesy Miami University Library Digital Collections:

Aside from questions about baby-shaving, the ONLY stupid question is the one that goes unasked!

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…the Jewish New Year, that is!

This year, Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Sunday September 13 and runs through nightfall on September 15. Among the customs associated with Rosh Hashanah is sounding the shofar (an instrument traditionally made from a ram’s horn), which you may have been hearing already, as a shofar blast typically accompanies the end of morning services for the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah. Below is a photo of a Chaplain with the United States Army Forces in the Middle East sounding the shofar during Rosh Hashanah services in 1942.

Digitized by the Gruss Lipper Digital Laboratory at the Center for Jewish History -

Captain Joseph H. Freedman Hq, USAFIME, is shown blowing the Shofar (Courtesy American Jewish Historical Society:

For many, Rosh Hashanah is a time to get together with family and friends, and to enjoy sweet treats to symbolize a sweet year ahead. A traditional indulgence is apples dipped in honey, or any variety of delicious baked goods incorporating either or both ingredients. While my personal favorite method of getting apples and honey into my mouth is with a sweet and savory apple/honey/grilled cheese sandwich, there are a variety of spectacular desserts out there utilizing apples, with recipes both traditional and new. One of my favorite apple desserts is these Apple Brownies, from Amy Traverso’s wonderful The Apple Lover’s CookbookDeceptively simple, quick and easy to make, these fantastic “brownies” have no cocoa in them, but have a toothsome, dare I say fudgy texture that guarantees you won’t miss the chocolate.

So, hit the farmers’ market, scare up some local honey, some early-season apples, and some sweet thoughts for the year ahead.

Shanah Tovah!


We love an offbeat holiday here at the Hirsh Health Sciences Library, and we learned recently that May is Zombie Awareness Month. This is probably a good thing, since most of use go through our everyday lives without much regard to zombieism (or zombiism), even though the concept has both a rich cultural history and a handful of real-life scientific examples.

I’m not ashamed to admit that my first exposure to zombies was from the Scooby Doo cartoons that I watched as a kid. Based on the fine scholarship of my 6-year-old self, I knew for certain that zombies were nothing more than bumbling robbers in disguise, and easily foiled by groovy teenagers and their dog.

Many years later, I learned about the concept of the zombie in Haitian folklore and its connection to the brutal New World slave trade, which you can learn more about from this NPR Code Switch story. Now, zombies are chic. They’re hip. They’re everywhere. Even the CDC has a cheeky Zombie Preparedness website.

Yet REAL zombies walk among us, in the form of parasites. Fungi of the genus Ophiocordyceps require ants to complete their life-cycles, and turns the hapless arthropods unlucky enough to encounter fungal spores into slaves that give their lives to spread the fungus. After exposure, the fungus manipulates an ant’s brain, bidding it to climb high. Then it digests the internal organs, and grows a spike out of the head of the ant, which serves as a delivery mechanism for more spores. Read about it here; it’s both fascinating and totally disgusting.

Many other examples of this phenomenon exist, from Toxoplasmosis making rodents lose their fear of cats to a bacteria that causes a flower in Madagascar to change it’s bloom so as to attract the exact insect the parasite needs to spread. And my favorite, the flatworm Leucochloridium paradoxum, pictured below with its unfortunate garden snail host.

Zombie by Mario Quevedo is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

After ingesting the flatworm in bird feces, the parasite invades the snails digestive system and brain, taking over an eyestalk, filling it with offspring and creating an appendage that looks like a delicious worm. The zombified snail shuns its instinctive fear of light and travels to areas where the wiggling, wormy appendage attracts the attention of a hungry bird. After ingesting the parasite, it matures in the gut of the bird, and the process begins anew.

This is worse than the brain-eating humanoids on TV, right?

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The crew here at Hirsh Health Sciences Library love our mascot, Leo the skeleton. He appears in our videos, hosts exciting holiday events (like our Valentine’s Day Kissing Booth), and he might even bring you #CoffeeOnCall. As we usher in the month of April, we decided to repay Leo for all of his hard work by giving him the gift of facial reconstruction. Forensic facial reconstruction is a fascinating field, blending art and science to recreate faces based on the characteristics of the skull. Enjoy this brief video from the Smithsonian Channel on the practice.

Recently, we’ve been able to see for the first time the faces of many individuals lost to history, from J.S. Bach to Richard III to colonists from Jamestown. Doesn’t Leo deserve, nay DEMAND the same treatment as great minds such as William Shakespeare and Copernicus?

Without further ado, I would like to unveil Leo, the true face of the Hirsh Health Sciences Library.


Or, you know, I really would like to. But we ran out of money a little bit into the process. We hope to finish this project someday, but man…those artists are GOOD, and good work doesn’t come cheap. In the meantime, gaze fondly at Leo while he…um…stares you down? Invades your psyche? Haunts your nightmares? I don’t know, I’m not the boss of you. Happy April!*




*Happy April Fools everyone! Also, Leo is made of plastic, he’s noone’s earthly remains…but I do wonder what (or WHO) he’d look like.

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