Elsa L. Ramsden, associate professor emerita of physical therapy in the now defunct School of Allied Medical Professions, passed away May 21 at age 78.
Born in Buffalo, New York and raised in Rochester, Dr. Ramsden attended the University of Buffalo and then transferred to Boston University, where she earned her BS in physical therapy. She then went on to earn an EdM and an EdD.
Dr. Ramsden was a pioneer in bringing the insights of social psychology to the practices of health care. She taught at the State University of New York at Buffalo, then at Indiana University Indianapolis Medical Campus, before joining the faculty in the School of Allied Medical Profession (SAMP) at the University of Pennsylvania in 1969. She was one of the pioneers for female faculty to achieve tenure, which was granted to her in 1973. When SAMP phased out in 1981, she remained at Penn, pursuing research in her field in conjunction with faculty in the medical and nursing schools and eventually taught in the Organizational Dynamics program.
An active member in the Penn community, Dr. Ramsden served as president of the Penn chapter of the American Association of University Professors and chair of the Benefits Committee of the Faculty Senate. She served as president of the University Club for over 10 years and then chaired the Burrison Gallery Advisory Committee.
Being a leader in her practice, Dr. Ramsden produced papers and convention talks and edited the book The Person as Patient.
After retiring from the University in 1995, Dr. Ramsden continued to teach in the Organizational Dynamics program and at Widener University.
Dr. Ramsden is survived by her husband, William; children, Richard, Ronald and Karin; grandchildren, Jason, Angela, Julia and Justin; and brother, Herbert J. Boedecker.
Donations may be made to the Zion United Church of Christ, 14 North Eighth Street, Stroudsburg, PA 18360 or to The Arthritis Foundation, PO Box 96280, Washington, DC 20090-6280.