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September 18, 2011
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$34.95 USD, £24.99 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Alfalfa to Ivy

Memoir of a Harvard Medical School Dean

By Joseph B. Martin
Afterword by Ed Benz, Foreword by David Hubel
Joseph B. Martin traces his climb from a Mennonite farm in the village of Duchess, Alberta to Dean of Harvard Medical School in his memoir, Alfalfa to Ivy. Readers are rewarded with an intimate perspective on academic politics and health care in Canada and the U.S. that Martin is perfectly poised to critique. And it is the human story of Martin?s journey from humble origins to worldly esteem that makes Alfalfa to Ivy a compelling narrative for non-specialists as well as academics and professionals.

About the Authors

Joseph B. Martin grew up near the village of Duchess, Alberta. He received his MD from the University of Alberta in 1962. He is currently the Edward R. and Anne G. Lefler Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. Previous to that, he served for ten years as the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard University before stepping down in 2007.


The memoir of one of the great minds in the world of academic medicine, Joseph B. Martin, has been released by The University of Alberta Press. Alfalfa to Ivy: Memoir of a Harvard Medical School Dean (, is a beautifully written, intricately researched memoir that details Dr. Martin's journey from rural origins to one of the most highly regarded and influential voices of his generation as Dean of Medicine and Chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco Medical School and later as Dean of Harvard Medical School. As Dean at Harvard, Martin led the efforts to re-design the entire medical school curriculum." Brookline Patch, [Full article at]

"Martin's deanship has been heralded for unifying a fragmented HMS, improving communication, encouraging collaboration, and diversifying departments, all while leading the School under three very different Harvard presidencies.... Martin stepped down in 2007, after a decade-long tenure highlighted by Martin and his team successfully locating the gene for Huntington's disease, an extraordinary moment for him." Sarah Sweeney, Harvard Gazette, December 15, 2011

"In this autobiography [Martin] discusses the radical evolution of medicine in the United States and the roles played by medical research and medical schools." Alberta History

"[Dr. Joseph B. Martin] has written a compelling personal history of U.S. academic medicine since the 1970s that honestly confronts many of the controversies and conflicts afflicting our medical system, especially the conflicts of interest between American medicine and the industrial medical complex.... The book is Alfalfa to Ivy and it's well worth a read for any serious student of U.S. health policy." John McDonough,, May 20, 2012 [Full article at]

"The story of Joseph Martin's growing up years (Chapter 1 & 2) is a story that his generation of Mennonite immigrant children identify with.... The thrust of the memoir however focuses comprehensively on the author's career in medical education, research and administration..." Henry M. Dick, Mennonite Historical Society of Alberta Newsletter, June 2010

"Joseph B. Martin has written a stimulating memoir following a fifty-year career as a major medical researcher and top-flight medical administrator.. I am most attracted to his sense of family and identity, his ability to make choices that in the long run gave him the authority so necessary for leadership." John A. Lapp, The Mennonite Quarterly Review, Fall 2012

"Joseph B. Martin describes his life from growing up on a farm in Canada to dean of Harvard Medical School. Along the way, readers are provided with in-depth information about his family history, health care, the education system and its politics, and the interesting stories that people tell about their life. Throughout the book, he provides photos for the reader so that he or she may have a visual perspective and understanding of his life story." Angela Green, University Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries 2012, Outstanding Title

"After reading Alfalfa to Ivy, I am inclined to place Joseph Martin in the same pantheon of leaders who have made a difference not only in their medical specialty, but also biomedical science in general.... The author describes his career odyssey with engaging detail.... Though it describes his scientific work in some detail, an overriding theme of this autobiography is leadership.... Like [Judah] Folkman, Joseph Martin raised the gold standard of medical science and leadership, and his autobiography brings us that story in a most down-to-earth, yet memorable style." Dr. Pederson, University of Massachusetts Medical School


9781551957005 : alfalfa-to-ivy-martin-hubel-benz
Paperback / softback
480 Pages
$34.95 USD

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