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Electives - Humanities and Ethics in Medicine

History of Medicine

Elective Number: (Oasis E18f) 3506

Course Supervisor: Dr. Barbra Mann Wall

Coordinator: Dr. Marcia Day Childress, (434) 924-5974, woolf@virginia.edu

Available: R12b&13a (4 wk elective)

Report to: Mr. Dan Cavanaugh, Director, Historical Collections

Time to Report: 9:00 am

Place to Report: Historical Collections, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library

Typical day: 9:00am- 12:00 noon

Attendance: Attendance at elective activities is mandatory.

  • Anyone who is ill or has a personal or family emergency must contact Student Affairs and the Attending on Service.
  • Students are allowed to take off up to 1 day per week to interview between November 1 and February 1.
    • Specific days missed must be approved by the Attending on Service.

Number of students per rotation: Minimum of 4, Maximum of 12

Course Description: This course is a chronological and thematic exploration of the development of medicine, especially in the United States; of the perennial and changing perceptions of disease, and of the interaction between health and history. A chief goal of the course is to locate 21st-century medicine and health care in an informed perspective on the past. In critical and comparative examination of historical materials, participants not only sharpen their analytical skills but also appreciate both the extent of continuities in medicine and the significance of change. Topics may include early American medicine, epidemic disease, the rise of the hospital system, the medical marketplace, the domains of public health and medicine, the relationship of nursing and medicine, the culture of biomedical research, and health care reform.

Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to:

• Broaden their perspective on medicine as a science and profession through an understanding of its evolution over time, in theory and practice
• Gain a deeper understanding of human responses to disease over time and across cultures, including appreciation of both the diversity and universality of certain responses
• Appreciate the impact of culture on the perception of health and the experience of illness and, vice versa, of the impact of disease on culture
• Explore and assess the significance of "historic" breakthroughs in science and medicine, including their context, origin, effects, and meaning for the present
• Cultivate an interest in history and the humanities in general, yielding long-term intellectual and creative enrichment and enhancing aequanimitas in a busy career
• Prepare a research paper and make a presentation about it to the class
• Reflect on their own professional formation and their place in the history of medicine

This class meets for twelve seminars in which there is discussion of assigned readings and individual research projects. Students also attend Medical Center Hour.

This description is a general overview. The instructors will establish the schedule and particular requirements at the time of the course.