Article ID: CBB555404280

Making the Case for History in Medical Education (2015)


Historians of medicine have struggled for centuries to make the case for history in medical education. They have developed many arguments about the value of historical perspective, but their efforts have faced persistent obstacles, from limited resources to curricular time constraints and skepticism about whether history actually is essential for physicians. Recent proposals have suggested that history should ally itself with the other medical humanities and make the case that together they can foster medical professionalism. We articulate a different approach and make the case for history as an essential component of medical knowledge, reasoning, and practice. History offers essential insights about the causes of disease (e.g., the non-reductionistic mechanisms needed to account for changes in the burden of disease over time), the nature of efficacy (e.g., why doctors think that their treatments work, and how have their assessments changed over time), and the contingency of medical knowledge and practice amid the social, economic, and political contexts of medicine. These are all things that physicians must know in order to be effective diagnosticians and caregivers, just as they must learn anatomy or pathophysiology. The specific arguments we make can be fit, as needed, into the prevailing language of competencies in medical education.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Fuller, Jonathan; Olszewski, Margaret; (2013)
Medical History in Canadian Undergraduate Medical Education, 1939--2012 (/isis/citation/CBB001213551/) unapi

Book Flesch, Juliet; (2012)
Life's Logic: 150 Years of Physiology at the University of Melbourne (/isis/citation/CBB001252491/) unapi

Book Johnson, David A.; Chaudhry, Humayun J.; (2012)
Medical Licensing and Discipline in America: A History of the Federation of State Medical Boards (/isis/citation/CBB001420162/) unapi

Article Hyslop, Anthea; (2012)
Life, Death, and the Melbourne Medical School (/isis/citation/CBB001200708/) unapi

Article Silvia Iorio; Silvia Marinozzi; (2018)
Medical Humanities (/isis/citation/CBB775719522/) unapi

Article Francesca Monza; Silvia Iorio; (2018)
Bodies for science. The display of human statues for educational purposes (/isis/citation/CBB976027619/) unapi

Book Dea H. Boster; Professor Joel D. Howell; (2017)
Medicine at Michigan: A History of the University of Michigan Medical School at the Bicentennial (/isis/citation/CBB252471256/) unapi

Article Merlin Chowkwanyun; (2015)
The Seat at the Table Problem: Broadening Reception for Historians of Medicine and Public Health (/isis/citation/CBB654741082/) unapi

Article Kenneth M. Ludmerer; (2015)
The History of Medicine in Medical Education (/isis/citation/CBB836083443/) unapi

Thesis Prentice, Rachel; (2004)
Bodies of Information: Reinventing Bodies and Practice in Medical Education (/isis/citation/CBB001562136/) unapi

Article Elena Varotto; Mauro Vaccarezza; Roberta Ballestriero; Domenico Tafuri; Francesco Galassi; (2019)
The teaching of anatomy throughout the centuries: from Herophilus to plastination and beyond (/isis/citation/CBB228242848/) unapi

Article Sonenberg, Nahum; Filipowicz, Witold; (2012)
Aaron Shatkin (1934--2012) (/isis/citation/CBB001320467/) unapi

Thesis Whitehead, Cynthia Ruth; (2011)
The Good Doctor in Medical Education 1910--2010: A Critical Discourse Analysis (/isis/citation/CBB001567314/) unapi

Book Hyson, John M.; Davis, Regina I.; (2006)
Baltimore's Own: The World's First Dental School, 1840--2006: A History of the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery (/isis/citation/CBB001210586/) unapi

Article Jon Arrizabalaga; (2015)
Does History Matter? Commentary on “Making the Case for History in Medical Education” (/isis/citation/CBB098931425/) unapi

Article Simon, Josep; Zarzoso, Alfons; (2013)
Visual Representations in Science (/isis/citation/CBB001320288/) unapi

Book Zimmermann, Susanne; (2000)
Die Medizinische Fakultät der Universität Jena während der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus (/isis/citation/CBB000102036/) unapi

Book Zelenka, M. H.; (2008)
The Educational Philosophy of Abraham Flexner: Creating Cogency in Medical Education (/isis/citation/CBB000830860/) unapi

Book Williamson, Laila; Young, Serinity; (2009)
Body and Spirit: Tibetan Medical Paintings (/isis/citation/CBB001230218/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Iorio, Silvia
Zimmermann, Susanne
Zelenka, M. H.
Hyslop, Anthea
Hyson, John M.
Davis, Regina I.
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Medicina Historica
Health and History
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadienne d'Histoire de la Medecine
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
Edwin Mellen Press
University of Maryland Dental School
American Museum of Natural History
Australian Scholarly Publishing
Lexington Books
Medical education and teaching
History of science, as a discipline
Societies; institutions; academies
Universities and colleges
Flexner, Abraham
Halford, George Bitton
Shatkin, Aaron J.
Time Periods
21st century
20th century
19th century
20th century, late
18th century
17th century
United States
Melbourne (Victoria, Australia)
Baltimore (Maryland, U.S.)
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
University of Melbourne
University of Michigan Medical School

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment