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Hannah Institute For The History Of Medicine | 1992 – 1994

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Publisher: Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine

Location: Toronto, Canada

Editor and Writer: David South

I worked as Editor and Writer for the newsletter of the Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine (under the direction of the Editor-in-Chief and Hannah Executive Director Dr. J.T. H. Connor) in the early 1990s. Located close to the University of Toronto and within a neighbourhood claiming a long association with medical and scientific discovery (Sir Frederick Banting, co-developer of insulin for the treatment of diabetes, lived at 46 Bedford Road,), the goal was to better connect Canada’s medical history community of scholars and raise the profile of the funding resources available to further the study of medical history in Canada.

The Toronto Legacy Project and Heritage Toronto plaque marking the location of Sir Frederick Banting’s former home.

I also revamped the application process for awards, scholarships and grants to make them user-friendly and compatible with word processing software packages of the time.

The Hannah Institute was the adminstrator for the grants and awards funded by AMS (Associated Medical Services). It has had a profound impact on the medical history field in Canada, as the AMS website states:   

“As a result of the growth of the discipline and the burgeoning of scholarship, as well as financial support from other funding bodies, in 2006, the AMS Board of Directors decided not to provide new competitive grants and further, decided to bring AMS- administered competitive grants to closure by 2011.

In the 1970’s when the Hannah Chairs and the Hannah Institute were established, the discipline of the history of medicine was an “orphan’ within the Canadian scholarly community. Three decades later with the support of AMS, history of medicine and healthcare continued to thrive in universities and colleges across Canada.”

It funded groundbreaking medical history research and scholarship, including books such as Eugenics, Human Genetics and Human Failings: The Eugenics Society, its sources and its critics in Britain By Pauline Mazumdar, Copyright Year 1992.

The publishing impact of the Hannah Institute’s support according to WorldCat.

At the time I also worked as an investigative journalist and medical reporter. Some health and medical stories I wrote at the time are below:

Taking Medicine to the People: Four Innovators in Community Health

Take Two Big Doses of Humanity and Call Me in the Morning

The archive of newsletters is held at the Wellcome Collection Library in London, UK and at the University of Toronto.
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“Professor puts chronic fatigue into historical perspective” announced the launch of a new book by the University of Toronto’s Hannah Professor Edward Shorter.
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Abstracts in Anthropology, Volume 43, Issues 3-4: “… in recent years it has become a pursuit for a growing number of researchers. … Behind much of this growth has been the Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine which has encouraged writing …”.

More on the Hannah Institute’s history here:

John B. Neilson and G. R. Paterson, Associated Medical Services, Incorporated: a history, Toronto, Associated Medical Services and the Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine, 1987, 8vo, pp. 445, illus., $15.00.

The Hannah Institute: promoting Canadian history of medicine (Can Med Assoc J. 1983 Jun 1; 128(11): 1325–1328.).

The Hannah Institute For The History Of Medicine, Vol. 1, No. 1

By BARR, Murray L.; HART, Gerald D.; SALTER, Robert B

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© David South Consulting 2023

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