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.
Johns Hopkins Medicine Exhibition: Spreading the Word: HIV/AIDS Education and the People's Health The CDC reported the first cases of AIDS on June 5, 1981. In 1985, scientists confirmed that AIDS was caused by a virus, later named the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. Since the first reported cases of the disease, HIV/AIDS has killed some 40 million worldwide. In response to the pandemic, activists, artists, community-health organizations, public health experts, and healthcare professionals created a variety of visually engaging materials that sought to educate the public about the disease and its prevention. In other instances, HIV/AIDS became the subject of specific pieces of art and popular culture. On display are two complimentary exhibits highlighting examples of these visually engaging materials. The National Library of Medicine’s traveling exhibit, AIDS Posters and Stories of Public Health: A People’s History of a Pandemic, highlights the cultural output of community workers, activists, and artists who sought to educate the public about HIV/AIDS. In the exhibit Spreading the Word: HIV/AIDS Education and the People’s Health, 1983-2001, visitors will see how different types of print media and images were used in public-health initiatives, AIDS education, art, and popular culture in the United States from 1983 to 2001. These media and images range from public health posters and pamphlets to graphic novels and comic books. Both exhibits encourage us to think about how HIV/AIDS messaging has changed over time and to interrogate how some of the messaging was delivered. The exhibits remind us, too, about the impact HIV/AIDS has had on the lives of people in the U.S. and beyond. The exhibits also stand as another important reminder. Despite the historical material on display, HIV/AIDS is not a thing of the past. Exhibit designed by: Jason M. Chernesky, Terri Hatfield, and Michael Seminara
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.
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 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.
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.