• How Smallpox Impacted the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia from 1800-1867

    “…We were strong but you were stronger, and we were conquered. …Before you came we had no sickness…now small pox, measles and fevers destroy our tribe…The whole of our people in Nova Scotia is about 1500. Of that number 106 died in 1846, and the number of deaths in 1848 was, we believe, 94. We…


  • A Brief History of “Off-Label” Use of Amytal in Psychiatry

    In my AMS funded scholarship I investigated published medical and psychiatric cases of uses amytal in an “off label”, published 1920 – 1950. In order to reconstruct a “label” of uses, I recorded successive versions of pharmacology textbooks. By reviewing Goodman and Gillman’s The Pharmacologic Basis of Therapeutics, I was able to learn conditions which…


  • History of Medicine: How Courtrooms Dealt with the Medical Concepts of Sanity 1866-1918

    Before the 1800s, questions of sanity were more likely to be legal questions than medical questions.  But during the 1800s, defining sanity increasingly became the domain of medical professionals.  As a result, lawyers and judges began to use medical concepts of sanity in the courtroom.   For a recent AMS funded studentship, I researched Ontario property…


  • What is a Canadian Public Health Artefact?

    As an AMS postdoctoral fellow studying the material culture of public health, my goal was to use  artefacts to understand the emergence and development of this important aspect of Canadian health history. The project took place at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH) at the University of Toronto.  Founded in 2008, the DLSPH…


  • The Trials of Psychedelic Medicine: LSD Psychotherapy in the United States

    The focus of my AMS postdoctoral fellowship has been completing the manuscript for my book, “The Trials of Psychedelic Medicine: LSD Psychotherapy in the United States.” The book explores the rise and fall of research into the therapeutic potential of the psychedelic drug LSD in psychiatry from the 1950s until the 1970s. It argues that…


  • In Memory of Dr. Michael Bliss

    Esteemed historian, author and past AMS Board Member Michael Bliss, has died at the age of 76. A notable Canadian commentator, Dr. Bliss was an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and a member of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. Dr. Bliss was known as one…


  • How First World War veterans’ voices are obscured in their official records – and why it matters

    The First World War veterans’ pension files being digitized at the Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies, along with the corresponding service files at the Library and Archives of Canada, are an unparalleled source of information on veterans’ lives. When I started my AMS funded post-doc in January of 2017, one of my…


  • Interpreting the Genetic Revolution: Genetic Counseling, Biological Risk, and the Shaping of Modern American Biopolitics.

    I am the recent beneficiary of an AMS Postdoctoral Fellowship, an award that has been instrumental in allowing me to continue my research on the history of medical genetics and genetic counseling. After earning my Ph.D in History from McMaster University in 2013, I completed a 2-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral…


  • The History of Canadian Healthcare Aid to India in 1950’s

    I came across the name of Dr. Florence Nichols while doing research for my dissertation, which examined the history of Canadian aid to India during the 1950s. You can find a link to the full dissertation on the University of Waterloo’s website. In 1955, Escott Reid, the Canadian high commissioner in New Delhi, toured southern…


  • The History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Research Portal

    With the generous support of AMS, and years of hard work, we are happy to announce the creation of The History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Research Web Portal . The portal is designed to gather resources in medical humanities for students, scholars, physicians, and the general public for learning, casual exploration, fun, and research. Students in health…