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The NLM Michael E. DeBakey Fellowship in the History of Medicine

The NLM Michael E. DeBakey Fellowship in the History of Medicine provides up to $10,000 to support onsite research in the historical collections of the National Library of Medicine, which span ten centuries, encompass a variety of digital and physical formats, and originate from nearly every part of the globe. The collections also include the Michael E. DeBakey papers—representing the diverse areas in which DeBakey made a lasting impact, such as surgery, medical education, and health care policy—along with the papers of many other luminaries in science and medicine.

Fellowships will be awarded to individual applicants, not to institutions, to help offset the costs associated with visiting and using the NLM historical collections during the calendar year following the application and selection. Fellowship awards may not be used for institutional costs or overhead (e.g. clerical costs, supplies, or other attendant project expenses).

The Fellowship was established in 2016 and is supported by The DeBakey Medical Foundation.

How to Apply

The application period for the 2022 Fellowship awards has closed. Selected Fellows will be notified and awards announced in December 2021. Watch this page to learn details of the 2023 fellowship cycle.

Anyone over the age of eighteen, of any academic discipline and status, who has not previously received this Fellowship, is invited to apply during the application period, open each summer. Non-U.S. citizens may apply. Group applications will be considered, but will be subject to a maximum award of $10,000 for the entire project regardless of the number of participants. Group applications should be submitted under the name of a single principal researcher.

Your application package must include the following:

  • CV (not more than three pages)
  • Research Project Abstract, Methods, and Anticipated Research Outcomes (not more than 750 words)
  • Brief Bibliography (not more than two pages, including the specific NLM collections you plan to study and selected (4-5) key secondary works which directly inform your research)
  • Proposed Research Budget (include all anticipated costs associated with visiting the NLM and studying its historical collections)
  • Transcript (required for currently enrolled students only)
  • Two Letters of Support (at least one of which must be from someone familiar with the proposed project)
  • Proof of Valid Health Insurance (copy of insurance card or affidavit signed by the applicant)

For further information about the materials available for historical research at the National Library of Medicine, please explore our collections, and use our research tools.

To learn more about the Michael E. DeBakey papers held at the National Library of Medicine, which contain correspondence, administrative records, diaries, transcripts, publications, speeches, conference and awards material, subject files, photographs, and audiovisual media, consult the finding aid and the NLM Profiles in Science website.

For all other inquiries contact the NLM History of Medicine reference desk at NLM Customer Support or call 301-402-8878.

Requirements of the Fellowship

Fellows are expected to make at least one in-person visit to the National Library of Medicine to undertake their historical research projects in the History of Medicine Division Reading Room during the calendar year following their selection. Understandably, the COVID-19 pandemic impacts this expectation and the Library expects flexibility in scheduling future visits when it reopens to support onsite research. In the interim, library staff are available to provide reference support and planning for onsite research.

In addition, NLM Michael E. DeBakey Fellows are required to:

  • consult with NLM staff on existing finding aids and related resources, to improve the Library’s knowledge of the collections, so this knowledge can be better shared;
  • meet the expectations of the NIH public access policy for publicly supported work, and acknowledge the NLM Michael E. DeBakey Fellowship in the History of Medicine in any resulting scholarly works;
  • be available to the NLM Office of Communications & Public Liaison (OCPL) and the History of Medicine Division for interviews;
  • author at least one guest blog post for Circulating Now based on their research.

Selected fellows may be invited to present an annual NLM Michael E. DeBakey Lecture in the History of Medicine, as part of the History of Medicine Division’s NLM History Talks program.

NLM Michael E. DeBakey Fellows in the History of Medicine

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  • Jessica L. Adler, PhD
    Associate Professor, Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs and Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work
    Florida International University
    Research Project: Minimal Standards of Adequacy: A History of Health Care in U.S. Prisons

    Scottie Hale Buehler, CPM, PhD
    Visiting Research Affiliate, Institute for Historical Studies
    University of Texas at Austin
    Research Project: Being and Becoming a Midwife in the French Atlantic (1750–1820)

    Kirsten Ostherr, PhD, MPH
    Gladys Louise Fox Professor and Chair, Department of English and Director of the Program in Medical Humanities 
    Rice University
    Research Project: The Visual History of Computational Health

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  • Christopher Crenner, MD, PhD
    Department of the History and Philosophy of Medicine
    University of Kansas Medical Center
    Research Project: Ulcers: The Rise and Decline of a Surgical Disease

    Marcos Cueto, PhD
    Casa Oswaldo Cruz, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    Research Project: Global AIDS and Brazil

    Daniel G. Cumming, MA
    PhD Candidate in History
    New York University
    Research Project: Social Determinants of Health in Baltimore

    Allison A. Hill-Edgar, MD, MFA
    Artist and Independent Scholar
    New York Academy of Art, and the Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, NY
    Research Project: Reframing Anatomical History Through the Female Body

    Todd M. Olszewski, PhD
    Department of Health Policy and Management
    Providence College
    Research Project: Mission and Mandate: Biomedical Politics and Science Administration at the National Institutes of Health

    Christopher J. Phillips, PhD
    Department of History
    Carnegie Mellon University
    Research Project: Number Doctors: Health, Statistics, and the Reformation of Medical Knowledge

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  • Sara Farhan, MA
    PhD Candidate in History
    York University
    Research Project: Baghdad and Beirut in Baylor: Surgical Pedagogies and the Internationalization of Medical Education, 1945-1970
    Read DeBakey in the Middle East on Circulating Now

    Susan Y. Green, MPH
    Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery
    Baylor College of Medicine
    Research Project: The Development of the DeBakey Classification of Aortic Dissection
    Read The Development of the DeBakey Classification of Aortic Dissection on Circulating Now

    Michael Kronenfeld, MLS, MBA, AHIP, FMLA
    University Librarian, A.T. Still Memorial Library
    A.T. Still University of the Health Sciences
    Jennie Jacobs Kronenfeld, PhD
    Professor Emerita, Arizona State University
    Research Project: The History of Health Science Librarianship
    Read Al Gore and the National Library of Medicine on Circulating Now

    Kelly S. O’Donnell, PhD
    College of Humanities and Sciences
    Thomas Jefferson University
    Research Project: How the Doctor’s Wife Transformed American Medicine
    Read MD’s Wife: Subscriptions and Prescriptions About Medical Marriages Across the Twentieth Century on Circulating Now

    Tom Quick, PhD
    Centre for the History of Science, Technology & Medicine
    University of Manchester
    Research Project: Bacteriology and Wound Care during World War II
    Read Airborne Infection Control in 20-Century Peace and War on Circulating Now

    Matthew Stibbe, PhD
    Humanities Research Centre
    Sheffield Hallam University
    Research Project: Civilian Internment during the First World War: Humanitarian Relief and Medical Interventions
    Read ‘Barbed-wire disease’ during the First World War on Circulating Now

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  • Divyansh Agarwal, MS
    MD/PhD Trainee, Perelman School of Medicine
    University of Pennsylvania
    Research Project: The DeBakey Method for Today's Aspiring Surgeon-Scientist
    Read Letters Shed Light on Huey Long’s Murder Mystery on Circulating Now

    Susan Crawford, PhD
    Professor and Director Emeritus
    Biomedical Communications Center
    Research Project: Biomedical Communication: The Evolution of a Paradigm
    Read From Discovery to Digital Science: The U.S. National Library of Medicine on Circulating Now

    Alyssa F. Gabay
    Undergraduate, Senior, Class of 2018, History Honors Program
    University of Maryland, College Park
    Research Project: Understanding Dr. DeBakey’s Development and Implementation of His Aneurysm Repair Methods and External Ventricular Assist Devices
    Read Sign of the Times: How An Environment for Innovation Helped Transform Cardiovascular Surgery on Circulating Now

    Sanders Marble, PhD
    Senior Historian
    U.S. Army Center of History and Heritage
    Research Project: Uncovering Michael DeBakey’s War Years
    Read Detailing Michael DeBakey’s War Years: Puzzle Pieces on Circulating Now

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  • Justin Barr, MD, PhD
    General Surgery Resident
    Duke University Medical Center
    Research Project: Michael E. DeBakey and his Seminal Role in the Creation, Adoption, and Application of Arterial Repair
    Read Michael DeBakey and the Education of American Surgeons on Circulating Now

    Kurt Dasse, PhD
    President & CEO, GeNO LLC
    Research Project: Inside the Creative Mind of Dr. Michael E. DeBakey and His Everlasting Impact on Medical Technology
    Read Inside the Creative Mind of Dr. Michael E. DeBakey on Circulating Now

    Craig A. Miller, MD
    Scholar-in-Residence, Medical Cultural Heritage Center
    The Ohio State University
    Research Project: A Comprehensive Biography of Michael E. DeBakey
    Read A Time for All Things: Michael E. DeBakey—The Tulane Years on Circulating Now

    Heidi Morefield, MSc
    PhD Candidate in History, Department of the History of Medicine
    The Johns Hopkins University
    Research Project: Making Technology Appropriate: Health, Development, and Modernization in the Global Cold War
    Read Tinkering with Profitability: DeBakey and the Affordable Blood Transfusion Instrument on Circulating Now

    Andrew Simpson, PhD
    Assistant Professor of History, Department of History
    Duquesne University
    Research Project: Making the Medical Metropolis: Health Care and the Post-Industrial Transformation of Pittsburgh and Houston
    Read The Power of a Name: Michael DeBakey ad the Changing Business of American Medicine on Circulating Now

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  • Divyansh Agarwal

    “Reciprocal Learning Between Military and Civilian Surgeons: Past and Future Paths for Medical Innovation,” with C.W. Schwab, C.F. Barker, and A.N. Naji, in Annals of Surgery, 2019. PMID: 31599807

    Justin Barr

    Of Life and Limb: Surgical Repair of the Arteries in War and Peace, 1880-1960, Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2019.

    “The Role of the American Board of Surgery on the Development of Surgical Residencies in Post World War II America,” with T.N. Pappas, in The American Surgeon, 85 (3), 2019. PMID: 30947768.

    “The Education of American Surgeons and the Rise of Surgical Residencies, 1930-1960,” in Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 73 (3), 2018. PMID: 29408971.

    Susan Green

    “Thoracoabdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair: From an Era of Revolution to an Era of Evolution,” with Huu, A.L. and Coselli, J.S., in Seminars in Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, 31(4), 2019. PMID: 31212015.

    Michael Kronenfeld and Jennie Jacobs Kronenfeld

    A History of Medical Libraries and Medical Librarianship From John Shaw Billings to the Digital Era, Lanham, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield, 2021.

    Craig Miller

    A Time for All Things: The Life of Michael E. DeBakey,Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.

    “Genesis of an Innovator: Michael E. DeBakey and the Development of the Sleeve-Valve Transfusion Syringe.” Journal of the Southern Association for the History of Medicine and Science 1(1) 2019.

    Andrew Simpson

    The Medical Metropolis: Health Care and Economic Transformation in Pittsburgh and Houston, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019.

    Matthew Stibbe

    Civilian Internment during the First World War: A European and Global History, 1914-1920, London: Palgrave, 2019.

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Michael DeBakey standing in blue scrubs and a white lab coat with his hands on his hips.

Michael E. DeBakey, 1980

Courtesy Aaron Shikler

About Michael E. DeBakey

Michael E. DeBakey (1908–2008) was a legendary American surgeon, educator, humanitarian, and medical statesman. During a career spanning 75 years, his work transformed cardiovascular surgery, raised medical education standards, and informed national health care policy. He pioneered dozens of operative procedures such as aneurysm repair, coronary bypass, and endarterectomy, which routinely save thousands of lives each year, and performed some of the first heart transplants. His inventions included the roller pump (a key component of heart-lung machines) as well as artificial hearts and ventricular assist pumps. He was a driving force in building Houston’s Baylor University College of Medicine into a premier medical center, where he trained several generations of top surgeons from all over the world. He was a visionary supporter of the NLM, playing a pivotal role in its transformation from the Armed Forces Medical Library in the 1950s, in the establishment of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine in the 1960s, in launching NLM outreach initiatives in the 1990s, and in promoting the digitization of its indexes to pre-1960s journal articles.

Learn more about Michael E. DeBakey on the NLM Profiles in Science website.

Last Reviewed: October 1, 2021