Medical History Interest Group Lectures

The MHIG lectures promote a greater understanding of the historical and philosophical underpinnings of today’s health care disciplines. The lectures are sponsored by Laupus Library History Collections & the Department of Bioethics & Interdisciplinary Studies.

Many of our lectures have been recorded and are available in our archives.


Fall 2018 Schedule

The Health Principles Practiced at John Harvey Kellogg’s Battle Creek Sanitarium

Many people associate his name with the cornflakes he developed. But John Harvey Kellogg was much more than a cereal maker. He crammed the accomplishments of many people into one lifetime. He was a physician, surgeon, dietitian, inventor, educator, administrator, religious leader, public speaker, and author of books, articles, and tracts that profoundly changed personal habits of many Americans and our understanding of preventive medicine, health, treatments of diseases, hygiene, sex education, and diet. In fact, John Harvey Kellogg still influences the health and dietary habits of many all around the world through the many products, such as breakfast cereal and peanut butter, which he developed.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 at 4:30pm

Presented by Roman Pawlak, PhD, RD, Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition Science, College of Allied Health Sciences

Paleopathology: Rewriting the History of Plagues and Diseases with Modern Molecular DNA Methods

Molecular biology has been used as a tool of paleopathology over the last few decades, as DNA can be recovered from human remains that are hundreds of years old. Since techniques such as PCR are highly sensitive to contamination, meticulous laboratory set-ups and protocols are necessary to ensure that false positive results from other materials in the laboratory do not occur.

For example, the long-held assumption that bubonic plague was the cause of the Justinian plague and the Black Death has been strongly supported by finding Yersinia pestis DNA in mass graves, whereas another proposed cause, anthrax, was not found.

Monday, September 24, 2018 at 4:30pm

Richard J. Baltaro, MD, PhD, Professor Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Entering a White Profession: Black Physicians in the Turn-of-the-Century South

Following the Civil War, opportunities for former slaves to enter law, medicine, teaching and other professions increased greatly. Several medical schools graduated a number of African-American physicians in the late 19th century. These newly minted physicians then faced the problem of opening viable medical practices among people, white and black, who had never seen black physicians before. This illustrated talk describes the reactions of black patients, white patients, and white physicians to the emergence of black physicians in their communities.

Monday, October 22, 2018 at 4:30pm

Presented by Todd Savitt, PhD, Professor, Bioethics and Interdisciplinary Studies, Brody School of Medicine

Mariners’ Maladies: Examining Medical Equipage from the Queen Anne’s Revenge Shipwreck

Shipboard medicine during the seventeenth and early eighteenth century’s Golden Age of Piracy was challenging. Chronic and periodic illnesses, wounds, amputations, toothaches, burns, and other maladies of the crew, captain, and enslaved cargo had to be treated. This presentation will look at evidence of the tools used to heal the sick and wounded recovered from shipwreck 31CR314, identified as Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge (formerly La Concorde, a French slaver).

Monday, November 12, 2018 at 4:30pm

Presented by Dr. Linda F. Carnes-McNaughton, RPA; Archaeologist, Fort Bragg Cultural Resources Management Program
Co-Author, Blackbeard’s Sunken Prize (UNC Press 2018)


All lectures are held at the 4th floor Evelyn Fike Laupus Gallery of the Laupus Library (except where noted).

Refreshments will be provided.

Lectures may be videotaped.

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