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Annual J. Willis Hurst History of Medicine Symposium – Emory University School of Medicine

September 24, 2016 @ 7:30 AM - 12:00 PM

We are fortunate to have speakers of national prominence and local talent who will present a wide range of subjects encompassing literature and the history of medicine. For those of us who went to Emory School of Medicine, it is instructive to examine our roots. To that end, Mary Horton will talk about the early days of the Emory medical school. Dr. Paul Mueller from the Mayo Clinic will give a fascinating talk on Dr. Moonlight Graham, a professional baseball player who practiced medicine in Chisholm, Minnesota, and was portrayed in the movie Field of Dreams. Dr. Mueller has done extensive research and produced a one-hour documentary about the inspiring Dr. Graham.

The value of reading literature and poetry in studying medicine is underappreciated. Sally Wolff-King, an authority on Southern literature, will give us unprecedented insight into the heart metaphors of John Stone, Emory’s well known poet and cardiologist. Medical student Divya Kishore will talk about cancer and how politics was involved in the Laetrile controversy and the treatment of cancer. Dr. Timothy Olsen, an ophthalmology professor will give some special and colorful insight into the history of color vision deficits.

We encourage everyone to think about a case in which you made a diagnosis aided by your knowledge of the history of medicine.

Educational Objectives

Goals, thoughts, and lessons we hope participants will achieve include:

  • Literature as a teaching tool for developing clinical competencies is underappreciated. A look at John Stone’s poetry with attention to his metaphors of the heart shows us that knowledge of literature is a powerful tool for understanding and analyzing the human condition. As Rita Charon has written: “The study of literature calls for the exercise of skill in observation and interpretation and develops clinical imagination.”
  • The remarkable story of Thomas Hodgkin will remind us of the need for careful observation and the power of the physical exam.
  • Can politics possibly play a role in healthcare? Recognize how politics have affected medical care with 2 examples: (1) Laetrile for treating cancer (2) Insight from values, football, and color vision deficits.


September 24, 2016
7:30 AM - 12:00 PM
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Emory University School of Medicine
+1 (888) 727-5695


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Emory University School of Medicine Building
1648 Pierce Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30307 United States
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+1 404-727-5640

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