Medical Historian

Medical historians conduct research, write scholarly articles, and analyze historical records, including newspapers, letters, medical records, government documents, hospital records, interview transcripts, and other documents providing insight into the past.

The following are typical duties of medical historians:

  • Research trends in specific fields, whether it’s political, cultural, or social
  • Analyze historical documents such as court records, newspapers, photos, pamphlets, medical records, and other sources
  • Conduct research and publish conclusions in scholarly journals and books
  • Examine historical documents to determine whether they’re authentic and important
  • Amass information to be published online, in reference books, and other reference materials
  • Research a particular time period or a nation’s history
  • Choose subjects to research or conduct research on topics provided by managers or clients
  • Edit scholarly journals or periodicals
  • Conduct research about famous individuals to write biographies
  • Conduct university research and teach at colleges, high schools, museums, and other educational institutions
  • Speak to historical associations, organizations, and other groups interested in learning more about a historian’s expertise
  • Provide consulting services to organizations or individuals interested in knowing more about a certain time period or the authenticity of a historical item
  • Conduct interviews to learn more about historical time periods, events, or individuals
  • Translate historical records written in foreign languages
  • Create exhibits at libraries, museums, historical sites, and schools
  • Participate in efforts to preserve historical sites and buildings
  • Catalog and file historical documents and coordinate efforts for large scale cataloging projects

Education and Training

It typically takes 4-5 years to earn a graduate degree in medical history after earning a bachelor’s degree. Medical historians with PhDs or doctors with supplementary historical training typically fill open medical historian positions. It’s not untypical for medical historians to have medical degrees. Medical historians have educational backgrounds in various fields.

Contact these organizations for additional details about medical historian careers:

  • American Historical Association
  • American Association for the History of Medicine
  • History of Science Society
  • Bulletin of the History of Medicine Scholarly Journal

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