Studying and Teaching the History of Medicine in Greece: the National University of Athens Experience (1837-1997)

Spyros G. Marketos


In medieval education, little interst is shown in medical history. However, the history of medicine is one vital pathway to the proper study of the evolution of medicine, from ancient to modern times, and it should be a requisite of the medical curriculum. The value of medical history in the understanding of the present in creating the medicine of the future is enormous. Our expereience has indicated that medical students and younger physician who ignore the mistakes of their forefathers are destined to repeat them. Furthemore, the history of medicine is needed not only to broaden the students' horizon, it's also necessary in order to prevent the physicians of the 21st century from becoming dehumanized by their bio-technological training. The history of medicine, therefore, is the best antidote to overconcentration on, and overspecification in medical technology and it is the most useful stimulus to more humane professional behaviour and optimal medical education. The new history of medicine does not consist only of the accumulation of dates, events and names; it is a discipline needed for life and action. Tomorrow's historians will view the last years of the second millennium as an eventful and critical period for the medical education of the future. 


Key words: History of Medicine - Medical education - Medical culture - Bio-medical Ethics 

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