Osler Society at Western


The Osler Society at Western facilitates exchange among medical students and faculty through their engagement with various themes in the history of medicine. Facilitated by the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine, this club is run by and for medical students and meets throughout the year.


*** ZOOM online meetings -- one-hour meetings -- Attend History of Medicine discussions and guest lectures on a range of topics! All Schulich Medicine students and faculty welcome!

Contact one of the Osler Society co-Presidents -- Aly Balbaa, Matthew Bentley, Andrea Kassay [Windsor], Kevin Lane OR contact Prof Shelley McKellar at smckell@uwo.ca

Winter Meetings

  • January 12 (12 noon to 1 p.m.) -- Dr Shelley McKellar, "Knives, Guillotines or Scissors? Tonsil ‘Cutting’ & Surgical Knowledge in the 19th Century" -- Presentation to the Northern Ontario History of Health & Medicine Group & NOSM Surgical Interest Group 
  • February 12 (12:30 to 1:20 p.m.) -- Prof Susan Lamb, "Why do Psychiatric Diagnoses Appear and Disappear from the DSM?” A History of Mental Illnesses
  • March 11 and 12 -- History of Medicine Rounds -- Student Presentations on a range of history of medicine projects – Prizes to be awarded! 
  • May 25 (7:00 to 8:00 p.m.) --  FIELD TRIP [ZOOM] to U of TORONTO! -- A JOINT MEETING with U of T medical history group of medical students & faculty – Discussion of "Work of the Hand: History of Surgery" [Chapter 10] History of Medicine: A Scandalously Short Introduction by J.Duffin with facilitator Dr Ariel Gershon, PGY-2 Anatomical Pathology, University of Toronto (Schulich Med Class of 2019)

Fall Meetings

  • Oct 8 (12:30 p.m.) -- Welcome Meeting -- Meet the co-Presidents and hear their plans for future meetings; Melissa Chopcian, Meds2022 & Anthony Ziccarelli, Meds2022 share their insights into doing independent HoM research projects
  • Oct 27 (7:30 p.m) -- Discussion of "Plagues and Peoples: Epidemic Diseases in History" [Chapt 7] History of Medicine: A Scandalously Short Introductionby J.Duffin -- any relevance with the COVID pandemic? 
  • Nov 3 (7:30 p.m) -- Guest speaker Grant Maltman, Curator, Banting House National Historic Site, "100th Anniversary of the Discovery of Insulin"
  • Nov 17 (7:30 p.m) -- Presentation by Osler Society co-Presidents "Tackling a History of Medicine Project"
  • Dec 1 (7:30 p.m.) -- Guest speaker Dr Shauna Devine, Western University, "19th C Medical Practices -- What Was Done and How Do We Know This?" 

Organized by the Osler Society Co-Presidents for 2020-21

  • Aly Balbaa, Meds 2023
  • Matthew Bentley, Meds 2023
  • Andrea Kassay, Meds 2023 [Windsor]
  • Kevin Lane, Meds 2023

March 11 and 12, 2021

History of Medicine Rounds
Prizes were awarded to student presentations on a range of history of medicine projects. View the HOM Rounds page for more details.


February 12, 2021

Guest Speaker: Prof Susan Lamb, University of Ottawa
Title: "Why do Psychiatric Diagnoses Appear and Disappear from the DSM?” A History of Mental Illnesses

Drawing a high turnout as a joint session with the Psychiatry and Mental Health Interest Group (PMHIG) at the University of Ottawa, we now know the origin of terms such as "crackpot" and "bedlam"! Key takeaway is understanding mental illness is defined by culture and social norms. Thank you Prof Lamb!


December 1, 2020

Guest Speaker: Dr. Shauna Devine, Western University
Title: "Smallpox and the Science of Bacteriology in the Civil War South"

Thank you Dr Devine for presenting your research on medicine during the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865). As the Confederate Army and southern physicians grappled to understand and to contain smallpox outbreaks by vaccination, there were certainly similar concerns and questions asked to many Covid-19 vaccine issues. We look forward to your forthcoming book on Medicine in the Civil War South.


November 3, 2020

Title: 100th Anniversary of the Discovery of Insulin

Our meeting with guest speaker Grant Maltman was a great success. We learned about Dr. Fred Banting's humble beginnings until his famous scribbling of 27 words on paper at his bedside table, at 2 a.m. on the morning of Oct 31st, 1920 -- 100 years ago -- here in London at 442 Adelaide Street North. Those words were:

Diabetus. Ligate pancreatic ducts of dog. Keep dogs alive till acini degenerate leaving Islets. Try to isolate the internal secretion of these to try to relieve glycosurea.
- Sir Frederick Grant Banting


screenshot of virtual Osler Society meeting on Nov 3screen shot of Osler Society Nov 3 meeting Banting note

Past Events

Read about Osler Society past events -- with photos -- here.