OpenLearn Scotland
OpenLearn Scotland

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Free course

OpenLearn Scotland

5.6 The history of medicine: a Scottish perspective

This course looks at how historians seek to understand past diseases and epidemics. These had social, political and medical implications as they inevitably damaged the economic resources of a community. An example based in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary is used to illustrate how changes in medical delivery affected the local population.

In addition there is a description of the work of the eminent Scot William Cullen, professor of medicine at Edinburgh University (1752), who described the body as a complex and highly integrated mechanism composed of solid organs, nervous system and fluids.

To access this material click on the course link below. It leads to a separate OpenLearn course and will open in a new window.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this free course you should be able to:

  • describe the Scottish contributions to the history of medical thinking and practice in the 19th century;

  • give examples of the many medical advances influenced by wider social, economic, political and cultural contexts;

  • understand how developments in medical education permitted women to qualify and practise as doctors.



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