Toronto Health History – About


In 2010, a group of historians, librarians, archivists, healthcare professionals and educators at the University of Toronto came together as a result of their shared interest in heightening the visibility of scholars, resources and collaborative research opportunities in healthcare history at the University of Toronto. Over the course of 2010/2011 the group grew by word of mouth and invitation to include representatives from the faculties of medicine, nursing, public health, pharmacy, occupational therapy, social work, the Centre for Interprofessional Education, the Wilson Centre, the Health, Arts and Humanities Program, from the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, from the department of History and Information Technology, from the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, and the Royal Ontario Museum.

The partnership endorsed the following goals, that were reflected in its two conferences, Taking Toronto’s Healthcare History 2012 and the Public’s Health 2015.

1. Appreciating our history

The University of Toronto, its affiliated teaching hospitals, and its surrounding academic, healthcare and social communities have a complex past which deserves greater scholarly focus and exploration. The members of the group share a theoretical orientation: that understanding the history of medical science and healthcare in Toronto and its impact on the diverse communities of Toronto, promotes ethical, informed, rigorous, and just provision of healthcare in our city.

2. Building a community

Prior to our group’s foundation, many of our members had not met and knew nothing of each other’s resources and scholarly work. The partnership’s conferences will build on our community of practice to introduce other members of our faculties, departments, hospitals and institutes to one another in order to share our expertise in Toronto’s history of medical science, healthcare, healthcare education, and their impacts.

3. Fostering collaborations

The partnership’s conferences will highlight opportunities for further collaborative projects by structuring the scholarly sessions such that healthcare professionals and trainees, historians, philosophers, and social scientists will share their work in settings that emphasize its multifaceted aspects.

4. Preserving our past

Neither our educational nor healthcare institutions have preserved their collections of archives, artifacts, and medical instruments in a systematic way. As a result, many material representations of Toronto’s healthcare history have been dispersed to other cities or simply lost. A goal for each conference is to highlight the importance of these collections and to brainstorm collaborative strategies between our institutions to preserve our healthcare past.


Thanks to our sponsors:

Our partners:
Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto                                         Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology

Dalla Lana School of Public Health · Health, Arts and Humanities Program · History of Medicine Program
The Centre for Interprofessional Education · Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing
Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy · Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work · The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library · Toronto Medical Historical Club
Undergraduate Medical Education · The Wilson Centre · The Royal Ontario Museum