History of Medicine

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 sciences, humanities, art, social sciences, science, professional schools, who wish to research their own topic, create a digital module, write a conference paper, present at a conference, or add their thoughts to a blog.
  • Faculty and secondary school teachers will find images, texts, articles, and material for curricular activities at all levels, especially for the city of Hamilton.
  • Physicians, Ph.D. students, MD residents who wish to undertake a substantial research project will find archives, libraries, museums, and digital resources to begin work.

We define “medical humanities” as an interdisciplinary field encompassing the humanities (literature, philosophy, ethics, history, religion), social science (anthropology, cultural studies, psychology, sociology) and the arts (theater, film, multimedia, visual arts), in dialogue with healthcare education and clinical practice.  Humanities thinking enriches healthcare education and practice, and medicine broadens our understanding of human being and the human condition.

Our mission is to bring together a worldwide collection of library, archival, museum, digital, and visual collections for the researcher to explore and use in the medical humanities.  We also are a place for colleagues and students interested in the field to network and share ideas and work.

Thematic modules and blogs are here for you to browse for ideas and inspiration

  • Graphic Medicine a new art form, applies comics and graphic novel format to the experiences of health care professionals, patients, caregivers, and others
  • History of Medicine Digital Exhibits thematically-organized exhibits on the web in a variety of subjects
  • Medical Humanities and Medical History Blogs pages organize a wealth of informal blogs of all kinds, with book reviews, cartoons, articles, and personal reflections

Grants for Student Research lists the bursaries and fellowships offered by libraries and archives to visit the collections, grants offered by professional and scholarly associations to work on a particular topic, and by government in support of individual research projects in the history of medicine and medical humanities.

Finding Sources for Your Project

There are more than 400 pages in the Library, Archives, and Museum Collections section of the portal, offering detailed listings of holdings in archives, libraries, museums, and digitized collections in the history of medicine from around the world.

We include the largest world collections, specialized collections, digital collections, and especially Canada and Canadian history.  An Aboriginal Health area will be added in 2018.

Once you have written your research, consider presenting your work as a paper or poster at a History of Medicine Conference.  Consult the Conferences page for conferences and associations.

The portal will house a series of thematic digital modules in six areas, which will be created by students, artists, historians, and colleagues.

  • History of the Health Professions
  • Hospitals, Institutions, and Medical Education
  • The Public’s Health
  • Blood, Leeches, and Quacks (which will be a digital medical curriculum to complement McMaster’s undergraduate MD program in medical foundations)
  • Arts, Literature, and Ethics
  • Technology and Science

The History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Research Portal was created in 2016 by:

Principal Investigator, Ellen Amster, Jason A. Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine, Associate Professor, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact and Department of History, McMaster University.
Email:  amstere@mcmaster.ca

Nathan Coschi, Researcher, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, McMaster University

Lauren Goldstein, Ph.D., Researcher, Department of History, McMaster University

Katarina Todic, Ph.D., Researcher, Department of History, McMaster University

Jinny Lee, Webmaster and Technical Assistance, Bachelor of Health Sciences Program, Faculty of Health Sciences, Class of 2018.

Funding for the project was provided by:

Associated Medical Services

Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University

The Michael DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University.

The portal is maintained by the Hannah Unit in the History of Medicine in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University.

About the author

Dr. Ellen Amster

2014 saw the appointment of a new Hannah Chair at McMaster, Ellen Amster, associate professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Department of History. Her research interests include French and Islamic medicine, global public health, and midwifery. She has been a simultaneous translator for an ORBIS ocular surgery mission in Morocco, a researcher at the Institut…

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