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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

  • Life and Death in the Nursery: The Yale-New Haven Hospital Special Care Nursery and Debates in Bioethics

    The John P. McGovern Lecture in the History of Medicine and Science March 27, 2023 4:30 p.m. Johanna Schoen, Professor of History at Rutgers University, will offer a brief summary of the opening of the Yale-New Haven Special Care Nursery in 1960, the country’s first Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and place the history of the unit into the larger context of emerging neonatology and bioethical debates about when to treat severely ill infants, when not to treat, and how much influence to give parents in these decisions. The talk will take place on March 27th at 4:30 p.m. in the Medical Historical Library, 333 Cedar Street. This is an in-person only event.

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  • Face to Face With Mortality

    Professor John Warner talks to the Yale Daily News about the history and ethics of anatomical dissection in medical schools.

    Source: Yale Daily News: The Controversy of Anatomical Dissection
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  • 2022 Selma & Karl Folkers Lecture

    On the eve of the Annual MD-PhD Program Retreat, Dr. Carolyn Roberts, Assistant Professor of History, History of Science & Medicine and of African Studies at Yale University delivered the a mesmerizing and powerful lecture entitled "Challenging the Past and Charting a New Future: Legacies of Racism in Science and Medicine" examining the historical roots and contemporary manifestation of race and its impact on science and medicine.

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