Article ID: CBB610343597

History’s Toolbox in Health Professions Education: One Skill-Based Session on Social Determinants of Health (2023)


Aimed at clinical educators, this article reports on the use of a single skill-based session that introduces learners in Health Professions Education (HPE) to basic techniques from the discipline of history. The premise of the teaching method is a correspondence between medicine’s social determinants of health (SDH) and categories of analysis commonly used by historians. At the center are eight categories, or “tools”: social, cultural, intellectual, technological, political, economic, racial/ethnic, and gendered. Like the direct and specific implications of many diagnostic signs, each of these adjectives indicate to historians specific types of factors, or determinants. The intervention employs the demonstration-performance teaching method (explanation, demonstration, supervised practice, and evaluation). After the session, learners are able to: use “history’s toolbox” as a systematic method for evaluating socio-cultural phenomena inherent in SDH; differentiate eight types of determinants in a historical case study that represents socio-cultural complexity; recognize how categorization simultaneously enhances some determinants while obscuring others, and how the use of constructed social categories in medicine can function to help and harm patients and populations. The intervention described is rooted in scholarship and theoretical questions belonging to the discipline of history, but these are not discussed. Neither the historical content nor the teaching method described here is appropriate for research or teaching in the discipline of history.

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Article Jacob Steere-Williams; Justin Barr; Claire D Clark; Raúl Necochea López (2023) Remaking the Case for History in Medical Education. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (pp. 1-8). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Stahnisch, Frank W.
Tobbell, Dominique Avril
Justin Barr
Aldini, Nicolò Nicoli
Boniolo, Giovanni
Clark, Claire D.
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Medicina nei Secoli - Arte e Scienza
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadienne d'Histoire de la Medecine
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Teaching history of medicine
Medical education and teaching
Teaching; pedagogy
History of medicine, as a discipline
Teaching history of science
Rosenberg, Charles E.
Time Periods
21st century
20th century
19th century
20th century, early
United States
Great Britain
Kansas (U.S.)
National Health Service (Great Britain)
University of Kansas
University of Minnesota
American College of Surgeons
Reichsuniversität Strassburg
University of Calgary (Canada)

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