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ICYMI: Top 10 Reasons Why Studying Medical History Will Make You a Better Doctor

Monday, March 30, 2015

10. Teaches a healthy skepticism, acknowledging that some of our disease concepts and management will be overturned with time, as historical concepts and "best practices" have been.

9. Helps us to better understand our own biases and the historical basis of certain stereotypes associated with illness, various patient groups, and the medical profession itself.

8. Teaches humility through study of the difficulties that brilliant people encountered in their attempt to advance medicine.

7. Adds richness and colour to medical facts.

6. Helps one appreciate that most medical discoveries are not the work of a single person but rather the result of several contributions in the context of appropriate conditions for change.

5. Allows us to have hindsight into some the great misconceptions of the past and provides a framework in which to think about current or future challenges in medicine.

4. Helps one appreciate how social, political, and cultural forces have shaped changes in medical practice over time.

3. Appreciation of stories and anecdotes enables you to get into the mindset of those who came before you.

2. Reminds us that the totality of current medical knowledge is the sum of individual human discoveries over the last several thousand years.

1. On the dark and discouraging days, knowledge of medical history reminds us of our potential for progress, affirms that victories are possible, and restores our faith in humanity's ability to achieve beautiful and marvelous things.

This list was created by Schulich Medicine's fourth year Integration & Transitions History of Medicine Selection Class: Thomas Fear, Lauren Forrest, Lauren Gordon, Saurabh Gupta, Jamie Holden, Alexandra Istl, Neil Mundi, Amanda Nuhn, Andrea Parks, Sameer Shivji, Joshua Tobe, Aidan Findlater, and Derek Wong.