This short book is designed to be a useful tool for students studying in healthcare university courses, where the History of Medicine is taught as a specific subject. It is clearly impossible to capture the entire history of medicine in this short handbook, so the approach adopted limits itself in helping the identification of certain key elements that are seen as representative of a specific period or culture.
Understanding the history of the world of sick person and the care provided – a world in which students doing healthcare courses will work – actively helps to develop the understanding of one’s professional role. Reassessing the memory of the past becomes the starting point and a key to interpret the present at a time when medicine is increasingly required to face new situations and increasingly diverse problems. In this paradigm of constantly outdoing themselves, current healthcare sciences, can, by understanding the past and the strength of tradition, find their own cultural identity, thus helping to motivate future healthcare professionals.
Donatella Lippi is Professor of History of Medicine at Università di Firenze and Director of the Medical Humanities Centre. She has published, with Massimo Baldini, the volume La medicina: gli uomini e le teorie, and prepared many historical textbooks for Health Care Professionals. She has also published Ars et professio medici. Humanitas, misericordia, amicitia nella medicina di ieri e di oggi with Sergio Sconocchia (2004), Due millenni di melancholia. Una storia della depressione with Pier Luigi Cabras and Francesca Lovari (2005).