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History of Medicine Lectures for 2014

The lecture series of NLM's History of Medicine Division promotes awareness and use of NLM and other historical collections for research, education, and public service in biomedicine, the social sciences, and the humanities. The series also supports the commitment of the NLM to recognizing and celebrating diversity.

All lectures are free and open to the public and are held in the Lister Hill Auditorium or NLM Visitor Center at the National Library of Medicine on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. For directions and more information please go to Visit Us.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

"Sir John Pringle, MD, Early Scottish Enlightenment Thought & the Origins of Modern Military Medicine"

Stephen Craig, MD, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Military medicine as an academic discipline consists of preventive modalities to maintain the health of an army and clinical therapeutics, both medical and surgical, to restore sick and injured service members to full duty. Although the practice of military medicine has been made more efficient and effective by technological and scientific advancements, the theoretical foundation of that practice has not changed since John (later Sir John) Pringle, MD established it in his Observations on the Diseases of the Army in Camp and Garrison published in April 1752.

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A

Thursday, March 13, 2014 – Women's History Month

"'Medicine is a Man's Game?' — Women Doctors in the Movies."

Patricia Gallagher, MLS, MA, National Library of Medicine, NICHSR

In 1952, the first biographical film about a woman physician, The Girl in White, was released by MGM. What at first glance seems like a unique achievement in Hollywood, the story of Emily Dunning Barringer, a woman doctor who chooses career and husband rather than just opting to be a housewife, The Girl in White was actually one in a number of films in which women physicians opt to remain on the job after marriage. While other career women in film were giving up their careers, what made movie MDs fall into a different category? Why did Hollywood opt to portray women who could have both a home life and a career, when films portraying other jobs sternly showed that they could not? This paper will discuss this phenomenon, and what makes medicine a totally different career choice.

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"Losing The Miracle? Agriculture, the FDA, and the Controversy Over Farm Antibiotics"

Maryn McKenna, MSJ, Senior Fellow, Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, Brandeis University

The discovery that antibiotics could improve yield in livestock production was made in 1948, at the start of the antibiotic era, and within a decade, the drugs' administration became routine. By 1969, the first alarms had been raised that antibiotic resistance was moving off farms to undermine the drugs' usefulness to society, and in 1977, the US Food and Drug Administration proposed withdrawing its approval for farm use. It was never successful; agricultural antibiotic use continued. Fifty years later, non-therapeutic use of antibiotics remains common in US agriculture; meanwhile, public health and medical, and even Congressional, opposition have risen—and so has the rate of emergence of antibiotic resistance worldwide. Will the dispute ever be resolved?

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - The 2014 James H. Cassedy Memorial Lecture

"Anatomy Acts and the Shaping of the American Medical Profession's Social Contract"

Dale Smith, PhD, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

A profession is a self-regulating community of experts given special privileges by a society in return for meeting special obligations, the members do socially significant work that the average person cannot do for themselves. This relationship has often been called a social contract. Great physician leaders since the time of the Hippocratics had been offering society a profession—a community of practitioners committed to patient care, high moral values, and lifelong learning—but societies across the ancient world and early modern Europe were reluctant to set physicians apart, only doing so in very limited ways and, commonly, only for the well to do.

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Pictures of Nursing: The Zwerdling Postcard Collection"

Julia Hallam, PhD, University of Liverpool

Dr. Hallam will discuss her curatorial work with the NLM's Zwerdling collection of postcards about nurses and nursing, which is the centerpiece of Pictures of Nursing, a new special display, future traveling banner exhibition, online presence with education resources, and a digital gallery highlighting nearly 600 postcards from this unique collection.

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 (in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, September-October)

"Early Latin American Medicine in the NLM Collections"

Michael North, MS, MSLS, Head, Rare Books and Early Manuscripts Section, NLM

The NLM collections contain a number of pre-1880 Latin American publications, with such imprints as Mexico City and Lima, Peru. This lecture will provide an introduction to these items, and place them in the larger context of medical printing and publishing in the hand-press era.

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the NLM Visitors’ Center, Building 38A

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

"Antibiotic Pasts and Futures: Seven Decades of Reform and Resistance"

Scott Podolsky, MD, Director of Center for the History of Medicine, Countway Library, Harvard University

Antibiotics served as the leading edge of the post-World War II wonder drug revolution. But from the beginning, they also served as the leading edge of concerns regarding the irrational development and use of the wonder drugs. Rising apprehension over antibiotic resistance and the prospect of a post-antibiotic era have drawn attention to the possible means of preventing such an “apocalypse.” Making extensive use the Archives & Modern Manuscripts Collections at NLM, including the papers of James Goddard, Herbert Ley, and John Barlow Youman, this talk narrates the history of antibiotic reform from the 1940s onward, and it explores the evolving relationships between industry and academia, town and gown, and education and regulation, as reformers have attempted to promote a rational and enduring antimicrobial therapeutics. Dr. Podolsky’s book on the subject, The Antibiotic Era: Reform, Resistance, and the Pursuit of a Rational Therapeutics, is forthcoming from The Johns Hopkins University Press.

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the NLM Visitors’ Center, Building 38A

Monday, December 1, 2014

"Surviving and Thriving: The Making of an Exhibition"

Jennifer Brier, PhD, Director of Gender & Women's Studies and Associate Professor of Gender & Women's Studies/History at the University of Illinois-Chicago; Guest Curator, "Surviving and Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culture."

In 1981, a new disease appeared in the United States. As it spread, fear and confusion pervaded the country. The infectious “rare cancer” bewildered researchers and bred suspicion, but the worry was not the same for everyone. Many feared contact with those who were ill. Others, particularly but not exclusively gay men, feared for their lives and the lives of loved ones. In 2013, to record and remember these moments, and to examine the current status of AIDS and HIV in America, NLM’s History of Medicine Division created “Surviving and Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culture,” a banner and web exhibition, to highlight where we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going in the social and clinical understanding of HIV/AIDS. This lecture will examine the process of building the exhibition.

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. in the NLM Lister Hill Auditorium, Building 38A