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News & Press: History of the Osteopathic Profession

Charles “Chuck” Woods, DO - History of the Osteopathic Profession

Monday, June 18, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: John Stiger, DO
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Portland Osteopathic Hospital, later Eastmoreland General Hospital was blessed by having a cadre of highly qualified specialists.  These physicians contributed to the internal stability of the hospital and were also instrumental in providing the excellent training for the students, interns and residents who had the good fortune to train at that facility.  One of those specialists was Chuck Woods a pathologist.  His skill in supervising the laboratory and knowledge and ability to provide prompt and accurate diagnoses was a key component of the operation of the hospital. By its nature, pathology is not quite as glamorous a specialty as some, but those who used his services. appreciated his assistance.


Chuck was born in Cambridge, Iowa.  His father held many jobs including truck driver and factory worker. His mother was a home maker but also worked outside of the home largely in seasonal work related to agriculture. When Chuck was in sixth grade the family moved from Cambridge to a farm near Huxley, Iowa where his father farmed as well as continuing to drive truck. Typical of children raised on a farm Chuck and his older sister Ruth Anne had numerous chores as the family raised various farm animals for market. At near by Huxley High School, Chuck was in a class of 17 students, and while he didn’t participate in sports he did enjoy hunting and other outdoor activities. He graduated from Huxley High School in 1953 and that fall enrolled at Iowa State College in Ames Iowa.


He started his college career in mechanical engineering. To help with tuition he drove a gravel truck worked in filling stations and had a variety of other jobs while pursuing his education. In time it became evident that engineering was not for him. At this juncture he switched majors to Geology and transferred to the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa. During his time in Iowa City he held many part time jobs but much of the time he worked as an orderly at the University of Iowa Hospitals. Here he came in contact with another orderly who had been accepted at the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery, Des Moines, Iowa. The encounter with this other orderly as well as his experience as an orderly planted the seed that lead to his interest in becoming a physician.


This was the time of the Korean Conflict and all young men were considered for the draft. While attending at Iowa State he was deferred, but apparently the draft board didn’t think he was serious enough about his education and revoked his exempt status. Instead of being subjected to the draft he volunteered for the Marine Corps Reserve. After a six month tour in training he returned to the University of Iowa to obtain his degree while remaining in the reserve for another five and one-half years.


During this period he met and married his first wife Judy Kinnan also a student at the university.


In the Fall of 1962 he and his wife moved to Des Moines, Iowa where Chuck matriculated into the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery (COMS).

The Woods’ had their first child Bradley in January 1963. Dr. Woods graduated from COMS in 1966. 


The young family decided they needed a change of scenery and opted for an internship on the West Coast.  They loved Seattle and were able to secure an internship at the Waldo General Hospital in North Seattle.  Chuck states that he became a preoperative physical examination specialist for the numerous podiatrists on the hospital staff. Following his internship he entered solo general practice near Lynnwood, WA. During this time interval Judy and Chuck had their second child Paige.


After one year it became evident that a significant part of his general practice was in the psychiatric realm in which he felt ill equipped to deal with in an effective manner for his patients’ needs. With these issues in mind he decided to take a residency training program in either psychiatry or pathology. In the end, due to fortuitous events, he opted for pathology. He and his family moved to Mt. Clemens, MI in 1968 where he had obtained a pathology residency at Mt. Clemens General Hospital. There under the tutelage of Arthur Wickens, D.O. he completed the three year program in Anatomical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and was subsequently certified in these specialties by the Osteopathic College of Pathologists, Inc.


 After having completed the pathology training in 1971 the family chose to return to the Northwest having grown fond of the region during the period of internship and general practice.


Portland Osteopathic Hospital (POH) was seeking a pathologist at the time. Chuck applied for the position and got it. The family moved to Portland in September 1971. 


As POH  had not previously had a pathology department the first years were spent bring the laboratory up to modern standards. In due time a morgue and autopsy facility was acquired within the hospital relieving Dr. Woods of the need to perform autopsies in various funeral homes around the Portland area. Autopsies at that time were still a significant part of pathology practice.   


As the years passed, the hospital went through a series of administrations and each succeeding administration became somewhat more difficult to deal with in a number of ways. As the Laboratory Director Dr. Woods was medicolegally responsible for the quality of work that came out of the lab. Over time he had generally lost autonomy in matters relating to laboratory function and in personnel issues. Finding these issues along with matters of compensation unacceptable he resigned in 1998. He viewed this status change as his probable retirement. However, after a few months he was approached by a physician friend, also a pathologist, from a reference laboratory, Quest Diagnostics, to work at their Portland unit. The work that he was hired for there was primarily anatomic pathology of outpatient tissue biopsies taken by physicians in their offices. The cases were varied but a large part consisted of skin biopsies which had always been of special interest to Dr. Woods. This position and duties well fitted his interests. He continued to work at Quest Diagnostics for eleven years retiring from there in 2010. 


In 1974 Chuck and his first wife were divorced. In 1981 he married Rebekah Ann Trochman. Rebekah is an internist atd The Portland Clinic. Rebekah and Chuck share motorcycling as a hobby, Chuck also enjoys reading nonfiction especially in the realm of biology, religion, psychology, politics and economics. Rebekah, especially likes traveling.


Although his pathology days are over, he is currently collaborating with Charles Kaluza, D.O. assisting him with the microscopic tissue interpretation of a project being pursued by Dr. Kaluza.


Chuck feels that his proudest achievement was becoming an Osteopathic Physician and a respected pathologist in the Portland, Oregon area.  His greatest, disappointment has been the “dwindles” of Eastmoreland General Hospital to extinction.  He feels that a career as an Osteopathic Physician is worthy goal----especially pathology which like all areas of medicine is becoming much more complex and yet more interesting because of the rapid increase in the insight to disease.


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