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Clinical Applications of the History of Medicine in Muslim-Majority Nations

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journal contribution
submitted on 2023-03-15, 11:53 and posted on 2023-07-13, 12:04 authored by Alan S Weber

Since the early twentieth century, a number of physicians and professional historians have argued for the integration of the history of medicine into both medical education and clinical practice. After the supplanting of the humoral model of medicine in favor of the germ theory of disease in the late nineteenth century, medical school administrators have repeatedly asked medical historians for their rationale for studying “outdated science” in medical training programs beyond antiquarianism and knowledge for knowledge’s sake. However, a number of arguments can be adduced for the use and relevance of the history of medicine, including the observations that history: 1) provides examples of inspiring or highly ethical individuals who can serve as role models in practitioner identity formation; 2) helps to develop critical analytical skills and other modes of humanistic thought and behavior directly relevant to patient care (e.g., empathy); 3) promotes culturally-competent care, since history informs culture; 4) encourages inquiry into the sociocultural factors that affect the development of modern medical ecosystems; 5) provides a philosophical tradition for critiquing ethics in the medical profession. This contribution specifically traces the potential uses of Islamic medical history in the clinic and medical schools in Muslim-majority countries, primarily in the Middle East.

Other information

Published in: Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
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  • English


Oxford University Press

Publication Year

  • 2023

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Institution affiliated with

  • Weill Cornell Medicine - Qatar