Founded in 1929, we are the oldest academic department of the History of Medicine in the English-speaking world. We are dedicated to scholarship on the histories of medicine, disease, the health sciences, and their relationships to society.

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We are committed to exploring the history of medicine in its broadest sense, both geographically and chronologically; we offer a range of graduate and undergraduate courses on topics such as the History of Chinese Medicine; Colonial Knowledge; Health and Healing in Early Modern England; Darwin, Freud, and Pasteur; and Disease Control in Historical Perspective.

About us

Welch Medical Library Building

The Institute of the History of Medicine is located in the William H. Welch Medical Library, named after the first Chair of the Department of the History of Medicine. In establishing the first Department of the History of Medicine in the English-speaking world, Welch sought to provide a humanistic component to medical education and public health.


The Department of the History of Medicine trains PhDs in the history of medicine, and teaches in the schools of medicine and public health. We offer courses for undergraduates and graduate students on the main arts and sciences campus of Johns Hopkins University.


The departmental library of the Institute, the Historical Collection is also the resource center for the history of medicine for the Hopkins community, and hosts visiting scholars from the United States and abroad. A research collection covering all aspects of the history of medicine, public health and allied sciences, it contains over 70,000 volumes. A large, comprehensive library of secondary sources accompanies a smaller, but choice collection of rare books, manuscripts, prints, photographs, medals, stamps and objects.


Meet our faculty, the largest department of medical historians in the US, staff, current graduate students, alumni, and postdoctoral fellows and visiting scholars from around the world.


The Bulletin of the History of Medicine is the official publication of the Johns Hopkins Institute of the History of Medicine and the American Association for the History of Medicine (AAHM) and is published by The Johns Hopkins University Press. A leading journal in its field for more than three quarters of a century, the Bulletin spans the social, cultural, and scientific aspects of the history of medicine worldwide.


The Department of the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins, the first department of its type in North America, is proud to introduce new online CME modules that provide a historical perspective on issues of relevance to clinical practice today.