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JAMA 100 Years Ago
August 15, 2001


Author Affiliations

JenniferReiling, Assistant Editor

JAMA. 2001;286(7):768. doi:10.1001/jama.286.7.768

The study of old medical writings is an attractive one from many points of view. It tends, for instance, to give one the proper perspective for a broad estimation of the present state of development of the medical sciences. The work done by our medical ancestors naturally ought to interest us as physicians quite so much as the work of our political and religious forefathers interests us as citizens. The history of medicine is a terra incognita, however, for the great majority of medical men and students. No place seems to have been set aside in the medical cirriculum of the present time for even a cursory review of the historical development of medicine; its most important epochs and even the names of its early founders and of its heroes are unknown to the great mass of medical students. The establishment of elective courses in the history of medicine is certainly indicated in order to create some interest in this important study. The work of certain local societies and of individuals has already done much to revive among us a keener interest in past events and in the work and personality of the fathers. Packard's interesting work on the history of American medicine has been received with marked favor, and its reading certainly helps one to a more correct and broader understanding of medical matters in our country. The local medical history of our cities and of various districts of the country certainly offers attractive fields for investigation to the cultured physician interested in historical matters.

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