Skip to main content

Mission and Programs Overview

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, ethical, and societal factors influence health and health care; and we inform our teaching through scholarship in the history and philosophy of medicine that merits national recognition.

Through our ethics programs we seek to deepen a moral appreciation of medicine's role in healing with teaching programs in the medical school and the KU Hospital residency programs combined with an active ethics consultation service in the KU Hospital. The department also lends support and leadership for the KU Hospital Ethics Committee.

Finally, the Clendening Library, Museum, and Archives act as careful stewards of our extensive historical collections, reach out to KUMC and the broader community to teach about the history of medicine, and promote the use and appreciation of the collections by scholars and students; while also seeking to add some color and variety to the life of the medical center.

Explore our featured resources:

Last modified: Sep 17, 2020
News and Events

Thursday, 22 October, 12 noon - Ralph Hermon Major Seminar Series. Dr. Gary Boxer, MD "Philosophy in Medical Education." If time allows, please take a look at two brief entries from his blog at The entries are: "An Educational Challenge" from May 3, 2019 and "Medicine and Philosophy" from May 12, 2019. If you would like to attend via Zoom, please RSVP Dr. Ryan Fagan at

Monday, October 26 - Tuesday, November 3 - Clendening Summer Fellow Presentations. Schedule and Zoom link here.

Doctoral candidate Alyssa Peterson named first recipient of the joint History of Science and Medicine Fellowship

Pediatrics Group Offers ‘Long Overdue' Apology for Racist Past

History of medicine chair chosen for prestigious DeBakey national fellowship

Erika Blacksher, PhD, named fourth John B. Francis Chair in Bioethics

Documenting the Pandemic for Posterity

Pandemic, Creating a Usable Past: Epidemic History, COVID-19, and the Future of Health

Med Intima is an online publication featuring students' original writing and artwork.