Scholarly Concentration

The Scholarly Concentration in the History of Medicine provides students with an introduction to historical thinking and methodologies. It affords an opportunity to develop skills in evaluating evidence from the past—even the very recent past—to reflect on how we know what we know in the present day.

Our concentration offers a high faculty-to-student ratio; students work closely with one or more of a set of faculty members whose expertise covers the history of medicine in a diverse array of places and time periods. Have a look at the variety of students’ projects:

Why study the history of medicine as a medical student at Johns Hopkins?

History can make medical students better physicians and better researchers. It offers a set of tools for investigating the ways in which culture, politics, economics, and social institutions shape medical beliefs and practices. We explore specific methods for studying the changing burden of disease, shifting meanings of diagnosis, evolving rationales for treatment, the contexts of scientific discovery, and the global delivery of health interventions.

Yet the history of medicine offers a unique space to reflect on the continuity of our twenty-first century experiences with those of people from centuries or millennia past.  Amidst all of these changes one finds persistence:  there have always been patients, there have always been healers, there has always been illness and suffering, and there have always been therapeutic forms to relieve them.

An understanding of our past can illuminate our present and more effectively train medical practitioners and researchers of the future.