Society for the History and Philosophy of Medicine


The Society for the History and Philosophy of Medicine is a medical student group intended to promote intellectual inquiry and discourse on important issues in medicine, both past and present.

The Society was established in 1929 by a group of medical students with the help of the chairman of Medicine, Dr. Cyrus Sturgis. For the next 50 years, members were invited from the senior class. During its first decades, students and faculty mentors presented lengthy papers at the monthly meetings (all preserved in bound volumes now housed in the Taubman Health Sciences Library). The format changed in 1980 to include presentations by students and faculty members interested in the history of medicine.

The monthly meetings now include invited speakers, student presentations and an annual winter dinner. Many presentations address pressing issues in public health, social medicine, medical humanities, medical ethics, and the history of medicine and science. The annual program also includes sessions on literature and medicine, as well as events focused on the interplay of medicine and culture. In 2003, the society partnered with the Center for the History of Medicine (CHM), which is in the historic Simpson Institute on Observatory Street.