News Category


R. Palmer Howard Dinner April 25: W. Bruce Fye on the Mayo Clinic

The University of Iowa History of Medicine Society announces the R. Palmer Howard Dinner

6 pm on Friday, April 25, 2014

W. Bruce Fye, Professor of Medicine & Medical History, Mayo Clinic, will speak on:

The Origins and Evolution of the Mayo Clinic from 1864 to 1939: A Minnesota Family Practice Becomes an International Medical Mecca

Fye. [Image via]

     “This presentation describes the origins and international impact of the Mayo clinic through 1939. Multi-specialty group practice was invented at the clinic a century ago. A visiting Canadian physician wrote in 1906, ‘Specialization and cooperation, with the best that can be had in each department, is here the motto. Cannot these principles be tried elsewhere?’ Mayo Clinic’s major (and under-appreciated) role in the development of rigorous postgraduate (specialty) training will be addressed. Unlike traditional academic medical centers that emphasize research, Mayo’s main mission has always been patient care. This activity has been undertaken in an environment enriched by extensive programs, devoted specialty training, and clinical research. The talk is complemented by more than 200 images.”

Registration and event details here.

Dr. William Mayo. [Image via]


Carver College of Medicine Presents the Examined Life Conference

The University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine will host the annual Examined Life Conference this April. This program seeks to link medicine and the humanities in innovative and useful ways.

Participants will have the opportunity to explore writing in the context of medical education, patient care, and personal health experience. The objective of the conference is to “improve practice by giving healthcare professionals and medical educators tools to enhance their understanding: of patients’ needs; the ethical, emotional, and psychological requirements of their professions” and ultimately to promote well-being and communication between providers and patients.

Featured presenters:

solomonAndrew Solomon writes and lectures on politics, culture, and psychology. His book Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, published in 2012, won the National Book Critics Circle award for nonfiction, among several others.





waldHedy Wald, PhD is a Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, where she directs a writing curriculum. She served as a Fulbright Scholar in Israel and is a Gold Humanism Foundation Harvard-Macy Scholar. She has provided frameworks for assessment and feedback of reflective writing which are used internationally within health professions education. Her research on reflective writing in health professions education has appeared in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal, LA Times, and Chicago Tribune.



aronson Louise Aronson is a geriatrician, writer, medical educator, and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. She received her MD from Harvard Medical School and her MFA from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. Her work has appeared in literary and medical journals as well as in publications such as the New York Times. Her first book, A History of the Present Illness, was published in 2013.





All events are FREE for full-time students at the University of Iowa.

Thursday, April 10:
The Examined Life conference kicks off at 7:30 am with registration and breakfast, followed by a welcome session introducing the Spring 2014 issue of the Examined Life journal. Five sessions will be held simultaneously from 10:30-11:15 on topics such as social justice, meaning in medicine, and the influence of story on health policy. Featured speaker Louise Aronson will hold a story workshop from 12:45-2.

Afternoon sessions will take place after an information fair and lunch and will cover mental health and patient experiences, writing for residents, and more. Hardin Library’s Rare Book Room coordinator Donna Hirst will hold a session on Medicine and Art through the ages from 3:34-5. Andrew Solomon’s featured presentation on family and identity will take place at 7:30 pm in the Sheraton Ballroom.

April 11:

Day 2 of the conference highlights topics such as poetry in medical resident education, childhood cancer, and the humanities as a tool in community and global health work. Hedy Wald’s featured presentation on writing and humanism takes place from 12:45-2.

Afternoon sessions include a visit from Irish poet and medical educator Martin Dyar and discussions on the role of writing in aphasia (memory loss) and reproductive challenges.

Saturday, April 12:

Saturday’s topics include confidentiality, writing for survivors of illness and trauma, and coping with loss.

Afternoon events will discuss the use of imagery in writing about medicine as well as MD/MFA programs and how to incorporate daily writing.

Registration and Contact Information:

Conference events take place in the Medical Education Research Facility (MERF) at 375 Newton Road, Iowa City, IA.
Evening reception will be held at the Sheraton Ballroom on 210 S. Dubuque St.
To register, visit The Examined Life Conference website here.
See a detailed schedule, sign up for email alerts, and learn more about the program.
Event sponsor: University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, (319) 335-8058

John Martin Rare Book Room Open House March 27

The University of Library History of Medicine Society invites you to

Incunabula in a Medical Context

Open House

Thursday, March 27, 4:30-7 pm

  Incunabula are early printed books dating from 1450 to 1500, immediately after the introduction of the printing press.

The John Martin Rare Book Room at the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences will be opening its doors on the evening of Thursday, March 27 to let guests take a stroll through the 15th century.  Attendees will be allowed to page through and photograph our 32 incunabula along with select medieval manuscripts and facsimiles (copies), from 1500-1520.

To learn more, visit the Rare Book Room site. Contact Rare Book Room Curator Donna Hirst at (319) 335-9154 or by email at

Don’t miss this chance for a unique glimpse into centuries-old medical scholarship!

Image via

Incunabula page from the editio princeps of Lactantius (Italy, 1465).

Manuscript belongs to Cambridge University Library’s Incunabula Project.



Celebrate Pi Day with University Libraries

Do you like Pi?

Pi is celebrated globally on March 14. This date was chosen because it represents the first three digits of Pi (3.14). Pi is a Greek symbol which represents a constant– the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, or 3.14159. Pi can be calculated beyond a million digits without repeating itself and has no predicable pattern.

To celebrate Pi and its importance for science and math, Hardin, along with the Main, Art, Business, Engineering, and Sciences Libraries on campus will be handing out free pies along with coffee and lemonade. This event will take place on Friday, March 14 at 10 am. Get yours while supplies last!

To learn more, visit


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Refworks down for maintenance Saturday 8pm – Sunday 4am

RefWorks will be down for scheduled maintenance beginning Saturday, February 15 at 8pm.  Service is expected to resume on Sunday, February 16 at 4am.



Announcing the completion of the William Osler Pamphlet Collection

About William Osler

Sir William Osler, 1st Baronet (July 12, 1849 – December 29, 1919) was a Canadian physician and one of the four founding professors of Johns Hopkins Hospital. Osler created the first residency program for specialty training of physicians, and he was the first to bring medical students out of the lecture hall for bedside clinical training. He has frequently been described as the “Father of Modern Medicine.” Osler was not only a physician but a bibliophile, author, historian, and renowned practical joker. He had numerous ties to the University of Iowa. Special Collections holds letters between Osler and Campell Palmer Howard, a faculty member at the University, and Osler’s desk is housed in the John Martin Rare Book Room at Hardin (Room 401).

Hardin’s Osler Pamphlet Collection

From 1972 to 2010 the Hardin Library received a significant collection of documents by and about William Osler, including several copies donated by Dr. R. N. Larimer. The Rare Book room staff has provided helpful guides and online versions for much of this material. An index for the collection, which contains 317 items ranging from 1878-1976, can be found here.

[Osler at his desk]


RecycleMania Week 1 – Knowledge is power quiz

Test how much you know about recycling and get a chance to win a prize!  Take the Knowledge is Power quiz.
RecycleMania is a national competition, pitting over 500 campuses against each other in an effort to recycle the most and reduce the least.

recyclemania flyer




William Stewart Halsted, Father of American Modern Surgery: a retrospective

The University of Iowa History of Medicine Society invites you to hear:

Nicholas P. Rossi, M.D.

Nicholas P. Rossi, Emeritus Professor, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Iowa College of Medicine. Rossi will provide a fascinating look at the life and medical achievements of William Stewart Halsted, considered the father of modern American surgery.

Halsted, who lived from 1852-1922, was one of the “Big Four” professors who founded John Hopkins Hospital. Halsted was an early pioneer for anesthesia and for aseptic technique in surgery, including the use of rubber gloves. Halsted also led a fascinating personal life: he was addicted to cocaine and morphine (which were not illegal during his lifetime) and was considered eccentric by his students. Throughout his lifetime, he was responsible for several innovations and advances in his field, including:

  • Halsted’s law, which states that transplanted tissue will grow only if the host lacks that tissue
  • Halsted mosquito forceps, a type of hemostat
  • Halsted’s operation I, a procedure for inguinal hernia
  • Halsted’s operation II, radical mastectomy for breast cancer
  • Halsted’s sign, used to detect breast cancer
  • Halsted’s suture, a mattress suture for wounds which minimized scarring

Attend this lecture to learn how the major preceding events of Halsted’s time and character ushered in one of the great eras of modern medicine.

This event will be held on Thursday, February 27 from 5:30-6:30 pm in Room 401 at Hardin Library for the Health Sciences. Find out more here or contact the Rare Book Room with questions at 335-9154 or by emailing Want to know more about this fascinating figure? Read about Halsted at Hopkins Medicine or see his documentary.


Hardin’s Winter Hours

Saturday, December 21 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Sunday, December 22 12:00 – 4:00 pm
Monday, December 23 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday, December 24 CLOSED
Wednesday, December 25 CLOSED
Thursday – Friday, December 26 – 27 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday, December 28 CLOSED
Sunday, December 29 CLOSED
Monday – Tuesday, December 30 – 31 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Wednesday, January 1 CLOSED
Thursday – Friday, January 2 – 3 7:30 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday, January 4 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Sunday, January 5 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Monday – Thursday, January 6-9 Winter 1 hours begin

Thanksgiving Hours @Hardin Library

The Hardin Library for the Health Sciences will be closed Thursday, November 28-Friday, November 29 for Thanksgiving holiday.

The library will be open 10am-2pm on Saturday, November 30, and Noon-Midnight on Sunday, December 1.

picture of pumpkin pie

photo by browniesfordinner@flickr