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Book and Media Reviews
October 18, 2006

History, Practice

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2006;296(15):1905-1910. doi:10.1001/jama.296.15.1910

In late 2001, Jacalyn Duffin, a hematologist and historian of medicine, found herself reflecting on how her study of history influenced her clinical practice. Duffin, the Hannah Professor of the History of Medicine at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, had recently been exploring how clinician-historians write medical history. Recollecting how history had once helped her to unravel the unexplained methemoglobinemia of “one blue nun,” she wondered about the opposite phenomenon, whether history influenced her fellow clinician-historians in their medical practice. Discovering through an informal e-mail poll that it did, she invited them to contribute autobiographical essays about “the kind of practice that emerges when Clio, the muse of history, joins medical doctors at their work” (p 3).

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