Section of the History of Medicine

The Section of the History of Medicine is a freestanding unit in the Yale University School of Medicine engaged with research and teaching in the history of medicine, the life sciences, and public health. In addition to instruction for medical students, including mentoring M.D. theses, the faculty collaborates with colleagues in the History Department, in the Program in the History of Science and Medicine, which offers graduate programs leading to the M.A., Ph.D., and combined M.D./Ph.D. degrees and an undergraduate major in the History of Science/History of Medicine. The Section contributes to the Program's colloquia, and sponsors lectures, workshops, and symposia in medical history. Through research and teaching, the faculty seeks to understand medical ideas, practices, and institutions in their broad social and cultural contexts, and to provide intellectual tools to engage with the challenges faced by contemporary medicine.

HIGHLIGHTS 2017

AAHM 2017 - GARRISON LECTURE
garrison 2017 image rogers

Naomi Rogers, Professor of the History of Medicine, Professor of History, Director of Graduate Studies, Yale University, presented the AAHM's 2017 Garrison Lecture:  "Radical Visions of American Medicine:  Politics and Activism in the History of Medicine".

The Garrison Lecturer, a scholar distinguished for contributions to medical history or other fields of science and learning, presents original and previously unpublished research in a lecture given at the American Association for the History of Medicine's annual meeting, this year held May 4-7 in Nashville, TN. 

Click here for video highlights from the lecture

Video credit: Laurel Waycott, video editing: Katherrine Healey.



NEW BOOK BY JOANNA RADIN
Radin book Life on Ice

Joanna Radin, Assistant Professor of History and Medicine and Assistant Professor of History, Yale University, has published a new book, Life on Ice: A History of New Uses for Cold Blood, which was named by Nature as a best book of the week.

After the atomic bombing at the end of World War II, anxieties about survival in the nuclear age led scientists to begin stockpiling and freezing hundreds of thousands of blood samples from indigenous communities around the world. These samples were believed to embody potentially invaluable biological information about genetic ancestry, evolution, microbes, and much more. Today, they persist in freezers as part of a global tissue-based infrastructure. In Life on Ice, Joanna Radin examines how and why these frozen blood samples shaped the practice known as biobanking.

Radin explores the unique cultural and technical circumstances that created and gave momentum to the phenomenon of life on ice and shows how these preserved blood samples served as the building blocks for biomedicine at the dawn of the genomic age. In an era of vigorous ethical, legal, and cultural debates about genetic privacy and identity, Life on Ice reveals the larger picture—how we got here and the promises and problems involved with finding new uses for cold human blood samples.