Barbara Bates, health-care developer

Posted: December 24, 2002

Barbara Bates, 74, a physician who developed programs to care for the urban and rural poor, died of Alzheimer's disease Wednesday at her home in Bryn Mawr.

From 1980 until she retired in 1996, Dr. Bates held faculty positions at the University of Pennsylvania's Schools of Medicine and Nursing and at the Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hahnemann University.

An expert in interdisciplinary health care in the late 1960s, she helped conceive and develop the new role of nurse practitioner while on the staff of the University of Rochester's School of Medicine.

"She worked to improve health care by encouraging greater collaboration between physicians and nurses and expanded opportunities for nurses," said Joan Lynaugh, a nurse and Dr. Bates' longtime companion.

A native of Auburn, N.Y., Dr. Bates earned a bachelor's degree from Smith College and completed her medical studies and residency at Cornell University Medical College in New York.

She practiced as an internist in Connecticut for four years before joining the faculty at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, where she worked to improve medical care for residents of Appalachia.

After joining the faculty of the University of Rochester, she worked with medical personnel serving western New York. In 1974, when she was on the faculty at the University of Missouri Medical School, she inaugurated a program to supply physicians for rural Missouri.

Her interest in the history of public health led to her earning master's degrees from the University of Kansas and the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Bates published many articles in medical journals, including a social history of tuberculosis.

Her 1974 textbook, A Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking, has been published in 11 languages.

She was former chairwoman of the Section on Medical History at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

Dr. Bates was the recipient of many honors, including the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Award for outstanding contributions to education.

A lover of the outdoors, she was an ardent gardener, bird-watcher and hiker. She enjoyed opera and was a patron of the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

In addition to her companion, she is survived by her brother, Alfred Bates; and nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, 19 S. 22d Street, Philadelphia.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or

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