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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 individuals with up to $10,000 each to support research in the historical collections of the National Library of Medicine (NLM). The Fellowship was established in 2016 through support from The DeBakey Medical Foundation.

The NLM collections span ten centuries, encompass a variety of digital and physical formats, and originate from nearly every part of the globe. They 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.

Supported research can take place onsite at the NLM as well as remotely using NLM digital resources. Understandably, the COVID-19 pandemic impacts the expectation of onsite research, and NLM expects flexibility in scheduling future visits when it reopens, or if the library needs to close again.

Support for research in collections that are intellectually related to those of the NLM will be considered, but the overall proposed research must be primarily rooted in the historical collections of the NLM.

For the 2023 cycle of the fellowship we welcome applicants justifying support for their research using the historical collections of the NLM based on needs such as:

  • dedicated time to complete research and/or writing, including organizing, reviewing, and preparing collected research materials for a scholarly/interpretative publication.
  • securing research and/or technical assistance for data and/or database analyses.
  • analyzing and interrogating NLM's digitized collections, web archive collections and/or historical datasets.
  • preparing an open-access scholarly/interpretative digital publication, including work associated with incorporating images, video, audio, and/or manipulatable element(s) intended to enhance access and understanding by readers.
  • payment of reproduction and/or permission fees for images of unique or rare materials essential for the applicant's research.

We encourage applicants seeking support for digital and data-driven research to consult with the appropriate colleagues in their institution, or the CORE repository of Humanities Commons, to meet the terms of the NIH Public Access Policy for NIH supported work.

Requirements of the Fellowship

Fellows receiving an award for onsite research at the NLM are expected to make at least one visit within a reasonable period of time based on the library's ability to host researchers. Again, the COVID-19 pandemic understandably impacts the expectation of onsite research, and the NLM expects flexibility in scheduling future visits when it reopens, or if the library needs to close again. In the interim, library staff are available to provide reference support and planning for onsite research.

Within a year following completion of their research all fellows are expected to author one guest article for NLM's Circulating Now blog based on their research.

Additionally, NLM Michael E. DeBakey Fellows are required to:

  • consult with NLM staff to improve the library's existing finding aids and related resources by enhancing the Library's knowledge of its collection and ability to provide informed access to it;
  • meet the terms of the NIH Public Access Policy for NIH supported work, and acknowledge the NLM Michael E. DeBakey Fellowship in the History of Medicine in any resulting publications;
  • respond to NLM Office of Communications & Public Liaison and History of Medicine Division requests for interviews.

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.

How to Apply

Submit all required materials to the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences (FAES) via the online application portal by 11:59 pm EDT on September 30, 2022. Selected fellows will be notified and awards will be announced in December.

Anyone age eighteen or over, of any academic discipline and status, who has not previously received this Fellowship, is invited to apply. Non-U.S. citizens may apply. Fellowships will be awarded to individual applicants, not to institutions. 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, including anticipated publications and, if applicable, data preservation (not more than 1500 words)
  • Bibliography (not more than two pages, including the specific NLM collections you plan to study, onsite and/or digital, and selected (4-5) key secondary works which directly inform your research)
  • Proposed Research Budget (include all anticipated costs, use the US General Services Administration (GSA) Per Diem Rates as a helpful guide for expenses, and note that the awarded funding for selected fellows will be based on the expenses listed in the submitted research budget including those based on core needs)
  • 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)

Explore NLM historical collections, web archives, and related datasets, and use our research tools.

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

NLM Michael E. DeBakey Fellows in the History of Medicine

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  • Ogechukwu Williams, PhD
    Assistant Professor, Department of History and Department of Medical Humanities
    Creighton University
    Research Project: Dying to Bring Life: A Social History of Maternal Deaths in Nigeria


    S.J. Zanolini, LAc
    PhD candidate, History of Medicine
    Johns Hopkins Medical School
    Research Project: Everyday Medicine: Prescribed Diets in Early Modern China

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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
    and
    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 (today called the Network of the National Library of Medicine), 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: May 18, 2022