History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Research Forum
This series provides opportunities for faculty, students, staff, and visiting researchers to present recent work or unfinished work-in-progress in an informal, presentation-and-discussion format. Programs are held from 12:30 to 2 p.m. one Friday each month during the academic year in the Rare Book Room on the fourth floor of the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library. Box lunches are provided to all attendees who reserve a seat by noon on the previous Monday; attendees bring their own beverages. Seating is limited and is not guaranteed without a reservation. Reservations can be made by contacting History and Special Collections for the Sciences by phone at 310.825.6940 or by email.
The program calendar is organized by historian Marcia L. Meldrum, UCLA Center for Health Services and Society; she can be reached by phone at 310.794.6290 or by email.
Organs of the Mind: Gender, Phrenology, and Nineteenth-Century American Science
Carla Bittel, PhD
Associate Professor of History, Loyola Marymount University
Friday, January 24, 2014
In pre-Civil War America, phrenology, known as the "science of the mind," became a popular form of knowledge, produced and consumed widely by men and women alike. While much is known about phrenology as a theory, less is known about its practice and reception. This talk examines the gendered "users" of phrenology, both practitioners and consumers, who adopted, adapted, and interpreted it for multiple purposes. Dr. Bittel will analyze phrenological encounters to illuminate concepts of credibility and trust in the antebellum cultures of science and health.
Unlearning the Lessons of History, Science, and Common Wisdom: The DSM-5 and Major Depression
Allan V. Horwitz, PhD
Board of Governors Professor of Sociology; and Acting Director, Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, Rutgers University
Friday, November 15, 2013
Despite the many controversies surrounding the DSM-5, the final product turned out to be very similar to the DSM-IV. Major depression, however, was a crucial exception. In contrast to previous psychiatric history, empirical findings, and common experience, the new manual removed the bereavement exclusion from the diagnostic criteria. As a result of this change, people who have common symptoms of sadness after the death of an intimate that last for as brief a period as two weeks qualify for a diagnosis of Major Depression. This talk considers the reasons behind the DSM-5 removal of the bereavement exclusion and the potential consequences of this decision for psychiatric research, treatment, and legitimacy.
DSM-III: A Diagnostic Manual Creates a Revolution in American Psychiatry
Hannah S. Decker, PhD
Professor of History, University of Houston
Friday, October 11, 2013
For six years before its publication, great controversy engulfed the making of DSM-5, the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) fifth diagnostic manual. In order to understand the tumult and high temper of its many critics, it is necessary to examine the creation and legacy of DSM-III, the third version of the APA’s diagnostic manual, which that appeared over thirty years ago in 1980, with revolutionary impact on the psychiatric landscape.
The Inevitable Hour: A History of Caring for Dying Patients in America
Emily K. Abel, PhD
Professor Emerita, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
Friday, May 10, 2013
At the turn of the twentieth century, medicine’s imperative to cure disease increasingly took priority over the demand to relieve pain and suffering at the end of life. The Inevitable Hour demonstrates that professional attention and resources gradually were diverted from dying patients and helps to explain why a movement to restore dignity to the dying arose in the early 1970s and why its goals have been so difficult to achieve.
The Bio-social Ecology of Epidemics: Yellow Fever in Providence, ca. 1800
Robert G. Frank, Jr., PhD
Professor, UCLA Department of History
Friday, April 12, 2013
Epidemics happen. And since Thucydides, historians and literati have written extensively and graphically on the chaos they bring. This narrative mode has largely characterized the voluminous writings on yellow fever outbreaks in the United States from 1790 to 1905, when it seemed that no coastal town or city -- especially southern -- was safe from “yellow jack.” As Frank started exploring the epidemics around 1800 in the port town of Providence, Rhode Island, which was the ninth largest city in the young U.S., he discovered an unusually rich trove of thousands of documents from which to write a detailed narrative.
He also found an even more interesting story, of the way in which the epidemics, in their timing and course, were shaped by what he calls the “bio-social ecology of disease.” This ecology is comprised of many interacting components: the nature of the yellow fever virus; detailed characteristics of its vector, the mosquito Aedes aegypti; how the two cause the clinical picture of yellow fever; weather, climate, and topography of the port; patterns of trade to the Caribbean and characteristics of the merchant fleet; activist nature of the town’s citizens and their hands-on political institutions; medical care delivered to patients; and preventative measures such as patient isolation and ship inspection/ quarantine that the town put in place. His presentation focused on the structural rather than narrative elements of this case study.
Waiting for Help: Predictors of Emergency Department Waiting Times for Women
Jitka Sammartinova, PhD candidate
UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
Friday, March 8, 2013
This study investigated the predictors of hospital emergency department wait time in the U.S. in patients in general and in patients with acute myocardial infarction. The purpose of the research was to dissociate disparities in the quality of care, using a large, recent, national, population-based data set to test study questions.
Gender, Genetics, and Desire in Popular Culture: The View from Huntington's Disease
Alice Wexler, PhD
Research Scholar, UCLA Center for the Study of Women
Friday, January 18, 2013
Although the concept of "hereditary disease" has a long history in medicine and in literature, it was only in the 1980s that Huntington's Disease, a progressively devastating hereditary neurological and psychiatric disorder, began to appear in the print media and in fiction and television dramas, presumably in response to advances in research into the disease and to new developments in molecular genetics generally. Gender, however, has been conspicuously absent from biomedical discussions of Huntington's, presumably because it afflicts males and females in equal numbers. As part of Wexler's ongoing project examining representations of Huntington's in popular culture, this talk looked at the intersections of gender, desire, and genetic identity in some recent fiction and TV dramas, exploring the ways in which they both confirm and challenge genetic and gender stereotypes and, at times, have offered new ways of thinking about disability and disease.
We Are All Doctor X: The Shared Narrative of House Staff Memoirs, 1965-89
Heather Varughese John, PhD candidate
History of Medicine, Yale University
Friday, December 7, 2012
The first housestaff training narrative, Intern, published by Doctor X in 1965, established a story arc that was perpetuated by countless successors. These reflected a remarkable stability over time in the housestaff experience and in the medical profession's rhetorical ideals and values regarding the process of becoming a doctor. In many ways these memoirs were fundamentally conservative, buttressing the established profession. But they also functioned subversively; reflection bred discontent with the nation's system of training doctors, both within the profession and the reading public.
Social Poison: The Culture and Policies of Opiate Control in Britain and France, 1821-1926
Howard Padwa, PhD
Translational Fellow in Mental Health Services, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA
Friday, 9 November 2012
For most of the twentieth century, authorities in Great Britain and France took divergent approaches to drug addiction. The British sanctioned maintenance treatments for addiction, while the French authorities did not hesitate to take legal action against addicts and the doctors who prescribed drugs to them. Padwa explored the factors that led to these disparate approaches, focusing on differences in the drug-using populations of the two countries and the way that divergent conceptions of citizenship influenced the development of drug control and treatment policies. He concluded with a discussion of how ideas of citizenship and community continue to influence the way that addiction is treated today.
From Primitive Fear to Civilized Stress
Otneil E. Dror, M.D., PhD
Joel Wilbush Chair in Medical Anthropology and Head, History of Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Visiting Scholar (2011-13), UCLA Department of History and the Institute for Society and Genetics
Friday, October 19, 2012
This presentation offered an initial analysis of the basic post-World War Two model of acute stress, arguing that this model drew on and internalized interwar models of "voodoo death." This process entailed the reframing of what had been conceived and construed as a "primitive" and extreme form of fear, which was confined to "primitive" people in "primitive" societies, into the everyday and pervasive stress experience of "civilized" peoples in modern Western societies.
Educating Women Physicians of the World: International Students at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania
Sarah Pripas, PhD candidate
UCLA Department of History
Friday, March 16, 2012
Owning the Disease: Patient Activism in AIDS and Mental Illness, 1970-2000
Marcia L. Meldrum, PhD
UCLA Departments of History and Psychiatry
Friday, February 17, 2012 [cancelled]
Mental Health and Economic History: Changes in Antipsychotic Drug Markets in the U.S., ca. 1960-2000
Brad Fidler, PhD
UCLA Department of History
Friday, January 20, 2012
On Women's Reproductive Health and Access to Health Care in Nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro
Cassia P. Roth, PhD candidate
UCLA Department of History
Friday, November 18, 2011
On the Historical, Social, and Cultural Context of the Concept of "Recovery" in Mental Health
Joel T. Braslow, MD, PhD
UCLA Departments of Psychiatry and History; Frances O'Malley Administrative Chair of Neuroscience History
Friday, October 21, 2011