Dr. Howard Markel writes a monthly column for the PBS NewsHour, highlighting the anniversary of a momentous event that continues to shape modern medicine. He is the director of the Center for the History of Medicine and the George E. Wantz Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan.
He is the author or editor of 10 books, including “Quarantine! East European Jewish Immigrants and the New York City Epidemics of 1892,” “When Germs Travel: Six Major Epidemics That Have Invaded America Since 1900 and the Fears They Have Unleashed” and “An Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug Cocaine.”
Health May 21How Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle cracked the case of the tuberculosis ‘remedy’
Today marks the birth of the man who created the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes. To celebrate, here's one of the great detective stories in medical history.
Health Apr 08Remembering Ryan White, the teen who fought against the stigma of AIDS
Today we celebrate one of the great heroes in the war against AIDS: a brave young man named Ryan White. He was only 18 when he died of the disease on April 8, 1990.
Health Mar 09Celebrating Rebecca Lee Crumpler, first African-American woman physician
Today we celebrate the life of Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first African-American woman physician in the United States. On this anniversary of her death, let us applaud her courage, perseverance and pioneering achievements. Her passion “to mitigate the afflictions of…
Health Feb 06Was Charles Dickens the first celebrity medical spokesman?
This Feb. 6, we celebrate Charles Dickens, the novelist and literary superstar of his day. He may well have been the first celebrity spokesman for a medical charity. The cause was London’s Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and it first…
Health Jan 14Dr. Albert Schweitzer, a renowned medical missionary with a complicated history
In 2016, Albert Schweitzer may be a somewhat forgotten, or even a controversial, figure but a half a century or more ago, the mere mention of the name Schweitzer instantly conjured up images of selflessness, heroism and the very model…
Health Dec 10The story behind Alfred Nobel’s spirit of discovery
Every Dec. 10 for the past 114 years, the eyes of the world have turned to Stockholm, Sweden, where the Nobel Prizes are formally awarded to the brilliant men and women who have made exemplary inroads in Medicine or Physiology,…
Health Nov 30No, Oscar Wilde probably didn’t die of syphilis
The long-held theory was that Oscar Wilde succumbed to the ravages of end-stage syphilis. Fortunately, a London neurologist and two ear surgeons from South Africa have spent considerable time poring over Wilde’s medical and prison records to propose an entirely…
Health Oct 02When a secret president ran the country
All during September of 1919, President Woodrow Wilson became thinner, paler and ever more frail. Unfortunately, the president refused to listen to his body. He had too much important work to do.
Health Sep 22Celebrating the life of Alice Hamilton, founding mother of occupational medicine
No individual was more instrumental in warning people about the health risks and potential dangers of the industrial workplace than Alice Hamilton.
Health Aug 02The ‘strange’ death of Warren G. Harding
At 7:20 p.m. on the evening of Aug. 2, 1923, President Warren G. Harding’s wife, Florence, was reading the “Saturday Evening Post” to him in the presidential suite of San Francisco’s Palace Hotel. The article in question was about Mr.