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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 Distinguished Annual 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.

Department News

  • Women Are Falling Behind

    Naomi Rogers says COVID-19 has "highlighted problems which many Yale faculty and staff had been able to keep under the radar with a kind of patchwork of care that is now almost impossible to reestablish or rely on."

    Source: Inside Higher Ed
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  • GUYnecology: Why Men's Reproductive Health Matters

    Rene Almeling, an associate professor of sociology, public health, and medicine, recently spoke to YaleNews about her research and her latest book, “GUYnecology: The Missing Science of Men’s Reproductive Health.”

    Source: YaleNews
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  • Jason Schwartz Speaks at House Hearing on Ensuring Safe Covid-19 Vaccine

    A House Oversight and Reform subcommittee held a hearing on ensuring a safe coronavirus vaccine. Members questioned the witnesses on how the vaccine is being developed quickly while also providing safety, effectiveness, and diverse testing in clinical trials. They also talked about the importance of messaging to counter disinformation and lack of trust within minority communities towards the medical industry.

    Source: C-SPAN
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  • Why Did They Die?

    Yale historian of medicine, Joanna Radin has new co-authored research in the journal Current Anthropology. Their work examines the politics of knowledge-making about immunity to infectious disease among Indigenous peoples and is directly relevant to our present—when Indigenous peoples are among those most impacted by COVID.

    Source: Current Anthropology
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  • What Polio in post-WWII America Can Teach Us About Living in a Pandemic

    As we blunder through the pandemic’s second season, we’re “looking for an instant solution, and there are none,” Rogers says. The story we tell about polio is that 1955 arrived and it melted away. Yes, church bells did ring at the announcement that a new vaccine had been deemed safe. But what followed became known as the Cutter Incident, a tragic misfire that caused 40,000 cases of polio, ultimately killing 10 children and paralyzing 200 more. And when a safe and effective vaccine finally did debut, it still required a protracted struggle to set up the infrastructure to distribute it. That took some two decades of confusion and chaos.

    Source: PBS NOVA
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