Feature: History of Medicine events – a virtual success

Taking place across two days in March, the School’s History of Medicine Rounds featured a student showcase and presentations on topics ranging from “Unpacking the Medicine Chest Clause of Treaty 6” to “Patients Awake During Neurosurgery? The Awake Craniotomy and the Role of the Patient as Innovative 20th Century Surgery”

Arjun Patel, Medicine, Class of 2024, received the Harvey Club of London Prize for his presentation on “The Independent Inventions of General Anesthesia in 19th century Japan and United States: Why the Latter Revolutionized Surgery while the Former was Forgotten.”

The Rowntree Prize in Medical History was awarded to Anthony Ziccarelli, Medicine Class of 2022 for his presentation on “The Medical Journal – Genesis of a Genre” and to Tharsan Kanagalingam, Medicine Class of 2023, for his presentation on “Discovery rediscovered: Tropical Medicine and Indigenous Knowledge in Ceylon.” 

Fifteen students also participated in the 2021 History of Medicine Days national meeting in Calgary, and seven earned awards.

In sharing her congratulations with the students, Shelley McKellar, PhD, Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine says she applauds them for navigating such a difficult year while continuing to engage in co-curricular activities and projects and explore medical history topics.

She continues to be impressed with the unique approaches and lenses that medical students apply to their historical research.

“I am always delighted to work with medical students who may approach historical events a little differently,” she said. “Often they want to know 'why' certain treatments or practices occur today, and they are not afraid to call out some of today's approaches based on current socio-cultural awareness or scientific uncertainties.” 

McKellar added that the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly shone a spotlight on past outbreak experiences, from which many students have identified surprising continuities. 

“It is terrific to be a part of medical students' exploration of the history of their newly chosen profession."