anatomy classcartoon

Mission and Programs Overview

The Programs and Mission

The Department of History and Philosophy of Medicine consists of four major units: the Academic Programs, the Clendening Library, the Clendening Museum, and the KU Medical Center Archives. The Department unites these programs in its mission to advance understanding and application of ethical, historical and social analysis of health, medicine and healing.

Using the combined resources of the department we strive to teach students and colleagues how historical and social factors influence health and health care; and we inform our teaching through scholarship in the history and philosophy of medicine that merits national recognition.

The Library and Archives act as careful stewards of the extensive historical collections and promote their use and appreciation; while seeking to add some color to the often drab aesthetic of medical practice.

Finally, through our ethics programs we seek to deepen a moral appreciation of medicine's role in healing through ethics education and scholarship in the medical school and ethics consultation in the KU Hospital.

Explore our featured resources:

Last modified: Oct 31, 2014
News and Events

Upcoming Events
Fall 2014 Newsletter
Medicine in the First World War:
Click here to read Medical Care during the First World War - A Special Virtual Issue with an Excerpt from Wounded 

Conference on the History of Rural Medicine April 6-7, 2015

We are calling for papers for a day and a half conference on the history of rural medicine to be held at the University of Kansas Medical Center on April 6-7, 2015.

Please send an abstract for a 20 minute talk by January 30 to Chris Crenner in the Department of History and Philosophy of Medicine at If you are unable to send by email please call Ryan Fagan at (913) 588-7040 for further instructions.  We will notify all applicants of acceptance by February 6.

We would like to encourage submissions by early scholars and graduate students.  The Department of Family Medicine at KUMC has made available funding to help defray the costs of travel. If you are an early scholar or graduate student and wish to be considered for travel support, please include a letter of intent addressed to Dr. Mike Kennedy, Dept. of Family Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center and outline very briefly the significance of your project to rural medicine.

The conference will host a series of short papers with discussion as part of a collaborative effort to understand trends and implications in historical research on rural medicine and health.  The conference will conclude on April 7 with a roundtable discussion of the past and future of rural medicine to be held at the headquarters of the American Academy of Family Physicians in Leawood, Kansas and hosted by the Center for the History of Family Medicine  of the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, and chaired by Dr. Robert Daugherty, former dean of the University of Nevada School of Medicine and past Vice President of Health Sciences and Dean of the College of Medicine at the University of South Florida.

The keynote address will be given by Jennifer Gunn, History of Medicine Endowed Professor and Director, Institute for Advanced Study, University of Minnesota, speaking on the development of educational programs in rural medicine.

The conference is a collaborative project of the Program in History of Medicine, University of Minnesota, the American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation, and the Departments of Family Medicine and History and Philosophy of Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

In honor of Dr. Wilf Arnold, who passed away on November 11, there will be a small celebration of his life Friday, January 30.
The gathering will take place at Diastole, 2501 Holmes St., KC, MO, on the UMKC Campus from 5 - 7 PM.
Remembrances will be shared beginning at 5:30 PM.  

Current Exhibit
"A Triumph of American Medicine: William Gorgas, Ancon Hospital and The Panama Canal"
The exhibit is available Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5 p.m., Clendening Library foyer, 1000 Robinson.
For more information, contact Nancy Hulston at 913-588-7243.
The exhibit is sponsored by the History and Philosophy of Medicine Department, KU Medical Center, and the University of Kansas Endowment Association.