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Bruce D. Tempest oral history collection

Identifier: HHC 63

Scope and Content

This interview with Dr. Bruce Tempest (1935- ) of Gallup, New Mexico, focuses on his thirty years' service in the United States Indian Health Service, almost all that time spent on the Navajo Indian reservation. After three-year tenure at Tuba City, Arizona, Dr. Tempest moved to the Indian Hospital at Gallup, New Mexico, and practiced there until his retirement in 1996. An infectious disease specialist, Dr. Tempest was the key figure in the identification of Hantavirus and the fight against the Hantavirus outbreak in the Four Corners region of the American Southwest in 1993. Among the subjects discussed in this interview are Dr. Tempest's personal and professional backgrounds; the Indian Health Service; infectious disease among the Navajo, particularly tuberculosis, diabetes, plague, pneumonias, and diphtheria; the Hantavirus outbreak of 1993; the cooperation among Indian Health Service, New Mexico public health personnel, and Centers for Disease Control physicians and other health care professionals.


  • 1998

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public and available for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of print materials allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Biography or History

Bruce Dean Tempest was born in 1935 in Catasauqua, Pennsylvania and grew up in the small, rural farming community. He graduated from Lafayette College in 1957 and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1961. Following a residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Immunology and Allergy, Dr. Tempest moved his family to the U.S. Public Health Service Indian Hospital in Tuba City, Arizona, where he was Chief of Internal Medicine and Clinical Director from 1967-1970. From 1970-1971, Dr. Tempest was Chief of Internal Medicine at the U.S. PHS Indian Medical Center in Gallup, New Mexico. From 1970-1976, he was the Clinical Director of the Pneumococcal Surveillance Program at the Gallup Indian Medical Center. From 1971-1991, Dr. Tempest also held a clinical appointment at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and from 1983 through the time of this interview, he was the Tuberculosis Control Physician at the Gallup center. In 1983, Dr. Tempest was given the Indian Health Service Clinician of the Year Award. From 1985-1996, he was a Senior Consultant in Internal Medicine at the Navajo Area Office of the Indian Health Service. In 1996, Dr. Tempest retired from the U.S. Public Health Service.

From his first day in Tuba City when he when was met by the single remaining physician and asked to see a patient with plague, Dr. Tempest treated infectious diseases not usually seen in the eastern part of the United States. Pneumonia, tuberculosis and a diphtheria outbreak helped encourage him to sponsor a TB conference with western health care providers involved in the same type of work. The conference evolved into a yearly occurrence which allowed for networking and practice cross-fertilization. In 1993, Dr. Tempest was a major figure in the identification of Hantavirus in an outbreak in the Four Corners area of the United States.


1 oversized folder and 2 audio tapes


The interview with Bruce D. Tempest (1935- ), an Indian Health Service physician, surveys his many years of practice on the Navajo Nation Reservation from 1967 until his retirement in 1996. Dr. Tempest was a key figure in the identification of the Hantavirus outbreak in the Four Corners area of the United States in 1993.

Separated Material

The audio tapes are stored in the Special Collection Annex.


Contact Information

  1. UNM Health Sciences Center
  2. Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center, MSC09 5100, 1 University of New Mexico
  3. New Mexico Health Historical Collection
  4. Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
  5. Phone: (505) 272-8873
  6. Email:
  7. URL:

Processing Information

The original processing was done by Janet Johnson.
Finding Aid of the Bruce D. Tempest Oral History Collection,1998
Processed by Peggy McBride
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Health Sciences Library and Informatics Center Repository

MSC 09 5100
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque New Mexico 87131 United States