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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 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.

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Last modified: Jul 25, 2016
News and Events

Upcoming Events
Fall 2015 Newsletter
Medicine in the First World War

Clendening Fountain Dedication and Reception: Please join us on Thursday, July 28 at 10am in front of the Murphy Building as we dedicate the new fountain honoring Dorothy and Logan Clendening. A reception will follow in the History and Philosophy of Medicine Department Clendening Foyer to celebrate. We will also recognize the wonderful contributions made by Nancy Hulston, who retired this January after almost three decades as the medical center archivist and museum curator. Nancy has been one of the campus's greatest champions for the preservation of our historical heritage.

Carla Keirns, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of medical ethics in the Department of History and Philosophy of Medicine, authored one of the top 10 most-read articles for 2015 in Health Affairs.

Current Exhibit in the Clendening History of Medicine Museum: 
The history of the 1949 Rural Health Program for Kansas bill. The bill allowed more medical professionals to be trained to alleviate a shortage in the state. This bill gained national prominence and became a model for other states. Exhibit available M - F, 9am - 5pm, Clendening Library foyer, 1000 Robinson. For more information, contact Jamie Rees at 913-588-7087. Sponsored by the History and Philosophy of Medicine Department, KU Medical Center, and the University of Kansas Endowment Association.