History of Medicine Mini-Course

History of Medicine Video Mini-Course

Dr. Baker’s History of Medicine Mini-course offers a set of eleven introductory fifteen-minute video lectures, originally produced for an on-line medical history course at American University of Beirut. They are organized both chronologically and by topic, intended to provide an introduction rather than an exhaustive review. Readers who wish to explore some of the most popular or inventive websites related to history of medicine may wish to check out the history of medicine special topics list.

1A. Hippocrates

An exploration of western medicine's "creation myth." What was the significance of Hippocratic medicine, and why does it matter today?

1B. Medieval Medicine

Was the thousand year period separating ancient from modern medicine just a "dark age" of medical science?
How did the three western religions--Judaism, Christianity, Islam--shape medicine and medical ethics?

1C. Anatomy

A short history of the rise of dissection, and how it changed our understanding of the body.

2A. What is Disease?

The story of how medicine's focus shifted from the patient to specific diseases during the 18th century.

2B. The French Medical Revolution

Science does not evolve merely as an intellectual enterprise; it is shaped by social context.
This session looks at how the French Revolution, and the merger of medicine and surgery into a single profession, profoundly transformed western health care.

2C. Objectivity in Medicine

Starting in the era of the French revolution and continuing to our own ideals of "evidence-based medicine," medicine has continually strived to free itself of subjectivity and indivudual interpretation. But just how objective can medicine really be? How are diseases shaped and framed by society as they are defined?

3A. Smallpox

A look at the most famous innovation of the 19th century, vaccination, and why it became controversial over the next century.

3B. Cholera

A series of cholera pandemics swept the world over the course of the 1800s. How did cholera shape public health, and ultimately lead to innovations that made cities livable?

3C. Germ Theory

A look at the most famous scientific breakthrough of the 19th century, and how it changed the world in ways both familiar and unfamiliar.
And the extent to which science or improved living standards explain the tremendous decline of infectious disease mortality that took place over these years.

4A. Eugenics

Though the 20th century in many ways became a golden age for medical science, its history is not simply one of scientific progress.
This lecture explores one of the most notirious examples of science gone bad, and the dark side of medicine's rising cultural authority.

4B. Technology

In the last century, western medicine has been transformed into the health care industry.
This final lecture provides a basic overview of this revolution, and raises questions of where medicine is headed in the 21st century.