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Issues in the History of Modern Medicine – UI Health

Updated: 09/15/2021

Will be offered January 30 – February 11, 2023
Will be offered January 29- February 10, 2024


This seminar course is intended for medical students. It will focus on various topics in the history of medicine during the 19th and 20th centuries in the United States and the developing world.  The course will introduce the student to the changing face of medical ideas and concerns and will expose the student to some of the major areas of research in the discipline of history of medicine. Rather than taking medicine and medical knowledge as given scientific truth, most reading selections will critically examine that notion by looking at the social history, politics and construction of disease as well as that of medical agendas. As such,the course will also offer literary, sociological, political and anthropological approaches to the study of medicine and public health. Through this course, students will not only learn about the major themes about which historians of medicine have written but will also learn how to read historical scholarship critically.

•  Awareness of the complex scientific, social, cultural, political, and economic factors influencing changes in medicine and the medical profession;
•  Historical research methods: Identification, critical evaluation, and interpretations of secondary and primary source materials;
•  Verbal and written ability to discuss issues in the history of medicine;
•  Verbal and written ability to present and interpret historical research.

Instructor will assign both primary and secondary readings that will form the basis for both classroom and electronic group discussions. These readings and discussions will be supplemented, as needed, with informal lectures. Instruction on identifying, analyzing, and researching historical materials will be provided through discussions and a group exercise.

Students will prepare a one-page response paper for one class session. This response paper will consist of questions, impressions and comments that pertain to the main points of the readings. Every student will also be responsible for leading one discussion during the course. S/he should use comments/thought questions from the response paper in order to initiate the discussion.

Class participation and attendance

A research final paper of between 5-7 pages on any topic of historical medicine. The student will submit a short paragraph describing the proposed paper and a short bibliography.

Only one absence are allowed for this class due to the short duration of the course.

Administrative Information Heading link

  • Program Number

    ELEC 939

  • Program Contacts

    Program Director: S. Sufian
    Coordinator: TBD
    Telephone: 312-996-6738

  • Program Information

    Location: UICMC

    Duration: 2 Weeks
    Night Call: No
    Weekends: No
    Students Accepted: Min. 4 Max. 12
    Housestaff Used as Faculty: No
    Lectures/Conferences/Faculty Contact: 7.5
    Laboratory/Independent Study: 20
    Outpatient: 12.5
    Inpatient: 0
    Total Hours /Week: 40