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Number 19: Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine Newsletter

Number 19: Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine Newsletter

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Published by David South
Editor-in-Chief: Dr. J.T.H. Connor
Editor and Writer: David South
Publisher: Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine
Toronto, Canada
Issue: Number 19
Fall 1993
Editor-in-Chief: Dr. J.T.H. Connor
Editor and Writer: David South
Publisher: Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine
Toronto, Canada
Issue: Number 19
Fall 1993

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Published by: David South on Feb 21, 2011
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02/10/2014

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Number
19
NEWS
letter
Hannah
Institute
for the History of
Medicine
Student
scholars study
medical
history
whilethe
sunshines
FOR
UNDERGRADUATES, SUMMER IS
THE TIME TO
SCROUNGE
TOGETHER
ENOUGH MONEY
TO
RETURN
TO
SCHOOL.
OFTEN
JOBS
ARE A
BRAIN-DEAD-
ENING EXPERIENCE, OR MORE
AND
MORE
THE
PAST
FEW
SUMMERS—
LONG BOUTS
OF
UNEMPLOYMENT THAT DEMORALIZE
THESTUDENT.
But
thanks to the HannahInstitute's summer studentshipprogram, medical
and
history
students
can turn summer into a
significant
learningexperience—andreceive a sti-pendof
$3,675
toboot!Students work under
a
super-
visoron an
aspect
of
medical
history
they
find
interesting.The student benefits from anopportunity
to
fully
study
one
area while honing skills crucial
for
future
graduate work
or
other research.
Having
a supportive supervi-sor can be key to making themost of the experience. Just ask
Andrea
Rideout,
a
second yearmedical student at
Dalhousie.
Due
to her
supervisor
Dr.
Jock
Murray's
persistence,
a
poster
from
Rideout's history of Multi-ple Sclerosis project impressedparticipants
at
several confer-ences
so
much
she's
getting
de-
mands
for the
poster fromacross North America and fcu-rope.
And
Rideout admits without
the
studentship, this past sum-
mer
would have been
a
tough
slog
looking
for
work
in the
Mantimes.
For
McMaster University's
Karen
Dick, exploring
the
gruesome world
of
Britishmaritime medicine between
1660
and
1740
was a bit of a
gamble.
"My
biggest
fear
was
spend-
ing
four
months
and
finding noth-ing," says Dick.
"My
supervisordidn't know what primarysources were out there. I wassurprised at the amount ofinformation—I spent three weeks
at
the
computer typing in
notes."
Dick drew on the
period's
newspapersfortechnical data
on
each
ship's
detail of crew
and
provisions, while
the
onlysources for the ship surgeon'sperspective were peer manuals.Studentships were alsoawarded
to
undergraduates
in
Manitoba
and
Quebec.
For
Physicians
Only—
new
customized course
in
medical
history
at the
University
of
Toronto
Canadian
doctors
interested
in pursuing formal
training
inmedical
historycan now do so
in
Canada.
Medical
schools across
Canada have
been
scramblingto
reintroduce
the art of medi-
cine
into
science-based
cur-
ricula in reaction to
public
pres-
sure for a kinder,
gentler breed
of
doctor.
It is
hoped
a
ground-ing in
medical
history
will
as-
sist
physicians-in-training to
What's
Inside
Program
Profiles
1-3
Conference Notes
3
Scholarship news 4
Fall, 1993
 
HANNAH
IN
ITUTE
FOR THE
HISTORY
OF
MEDICINI
PROGRAM
PROFILES
step
back and have a more critical perspective on
the
current state
of the
profession.Co-operation between U of
T's
history of medi-cine program and the Institute of Medical Science
enables
physicians to receive an MSc or PhD inmedical history.
In the
past, physicians withoutundergraduate history courses were
left
high
and
dry,
only able
to
study medical history
as a
hobby,or
travel
to study in Europe or the United States.
U
of T
Hannah Professor
Edward
Shorter
and
the
Hannah Institute's Executive Director,
Dr.
Jim
Connor
will jointly teach a
core
course. Stu-dents
will
also
be
required
to
take another
full
course on medical history and prepare and defend
a
Master's
thesis. Upon completion of the MSc,
students may
apply
for PhD
work."The departmentofhistory already
offers
agraduate program
in
medical history leading
to a
PhD," says Professor Shorter. "Butup to now youhad to be accepted in the history department as a
graduate
student
in
order
to
qualify
for
it."
Interested
doctors can
call
Professor EdwardShorter
at
416-978-2124,
or fax
416-971-2160.
Victorian
country doctor
opens
window
on
medical
past
Today's doctors often bemoan
the
dizzyingtechnological, medical
and
economic changes thatchallenge
the
profession.
But the
cacophony
can
cause amnesia.
Was
there another time that simi-larly
challenged
physicians?
The
last century also
saw the
profession turned
on its
head
by
revolutions
in
medical technology
and
thought.
An
enlightening journey through
the
words of an ordinary, and untilnow unknown Ontario doctor, ison
offer
in the latest work by
mm^^mm
Queen's
University Hannah
Pro-
fessor
and associate dean of the
faculty
of medicine,
Jacalyn
Duffin.
Though
chancesaregood
you've never heard of Dr. JamesMiles Langstaff
(1825-89)
of the
small
Ontario town of RichmondHill,Dr.
Duffin
is out toprovethe
life
of this once unsung doctor
can
offer
profound insight into
^^^^^^
the
past.Released this
fall
by
Univer-
sity
of
Toronto
Press,
Langstaff:A
Nineteenth-Century Medical
Life,
takes readerson
a
journey through this small-town
doctor's
carefully
crafted daybooks and financial records,
offering
illuminating tidbits about how he coped
with
the turmoil of the
1800s.
"He was not
famous, published
no
papers,
and
"He
was
a
passionate
reformer
and
ranfor
public
office
manytimes."
made
no
discoveries," writes
Dr.
Duffin.
"I
don't
know if
even
he is typical or atypical
of
the
era,"
she
says.
"I'm
very hesitant
to say he
represents
the
era."
What Dr.
Duffin
did discover is fascinating.
Langstaff,
she says, did accept changes, though
rarely
immediately.
And in
some cases
he
musthave
had
access
to
non-journal
sources
to
learn
of
new
medical discoveries.
The
family's medical dynastymeant Langstaff
s
medical
records
were passed
on
down
the
generations, though unfortunatelypersonal diaries and letters werelost.Langstaff was also a socialactivist, especially in the push forhigher sanitation standards, says
Dr.
Duffm.
"He did
well
financially—
third
richest man in his
census
district.
And
being well-off gave
him a
certain position
in
society.
He was a
passionate reformer
and
ran forpublic office many
times."
Dr.
Duffin offers
this sobering thought
to
fel-
low
travellers in the late twentieth century. "Wedelude ourselves
to
think
we are the
only ones
who
live
in a time of
change."
 
HANNAH
INSTITUTE
FOR THE
HISTORY
OF
MEDICINE
PROGRAM PROFILES
Award-winning
research
on
history
of
eugenics reaps honours
Though many
feel
a golly-gee-whiz
response
when
medical science leaps
yet
another hurdle
to-
wards
genetic manipulation, researchby two re-
cent
Royal Society Hannah Medal winners into
the
history
of
eugenics send
a
^^^^^
m
chill
up the
spine.
Both
University
of
Toronto's
rofessor
Pauline
Mazumdar,
author
of
Eugenics, HumanGenetics and Human Failings:
The
Eugenics Society,
its
Sources
and its
Critics
in
Britain
(Routledge,
1992),
and
Angus
McLaren,
University
of
Victoria
rofessor
of history and author of
Our Own Master Race: Eugen-
ics
in
Canada, 1885-1945
(McClelland
and
Stewart, 1990),
disclosehowmainstream geneticselection
once
was and possibly
still
remains."Ever
since
the test tube baby breakthrough adecade ago,
there's
been a new concern for the
spin-offs
of this
research,"
says
McLasen."In
"Many quiterespectable
individuals
took
it
as
given
that
there
must
be
something in
eugenics."
Canada
there's
a
woman
who was
sterilized
inAlberta who is now
suing
the
Alberta govern-ment,
so
that
is
bringing
it
back into
the
con-sciousness that these things actually did happen."
•••••
"Many quite respectable indi-
viduals
took
it as
given that there
must
besomethingineugenics.That
was the
difficulty
in
writing
the
book,
determining who was aeugenist and who wasn't. It was
so
widely believed
that
it wasvery
hard to make a serious de-
marcation."
Professor McLaren found win-ning the medal helped raise his
profile.
And theresulting mediainterest allowed him to put theissue
in
historical perspective.
••••••
"The problem
as
ever
is
peoplelooking for some sort of a quick
fix
to
social problems—hoping
that
some sort
of
genetic tampering will allow very complex prob-lems to be surgically dealt
with."
B3
CONFERENCE NOTES
Conference
to
investigate cross-fertilization
of
medicine
and
philosophy
through
history
Psyche
and
Soma
or
mind
and
body
is the
title
of
1994's
Hannah Conference, to be held nextOctober in London, Ontario.
University
ofWestern Ontario Hannah Profes-sor
Paul
Potter
says internationally-recognizedauthorities will analyze the relationship betweenGreek, Roman, early Christian, Arabic and Ren-aissance philosophersandphysicians. Their
find-
ings will be synthesized into a book.
Professor
Potter is organizing the conferencealong with University of Windsor's philosophyprofessor
John
Wright,
andphilosophy professor
John Thorp
of Western Ontario.
"We've
invited about 14 people who we
thought
were the greatest experts on their particu-
lar
time
period,"
says Professor Potter."We aregoing to have them each write a chapter and theother
people
will ask questions.
We'll
modifyeach chapter, blending together the various expert
opinions."
Canada will be heavily represented, says Pot-
ter,
because
in the
last
few
years, many scholars
have
become world authoritiesintheir specialty.Other academics will hail
from
France, Germany
and
the
United States.
"This
isgoingto
cover
both medicineandphi-losophy because we want to show the influencesback and forth," continues Dr.
Potter.
"How whatmedical writers wrote influenced philosophers,
and
how what philosophers wrote influenced
medical
people."
"It's an area that hasn't received a survey view
by
experts
from
all the
different
times—and
that's
why
we think it's a particularly good opportu-
nity."
B3

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