Osler Day 2016

Osler Library Board of Curators' medal

Osler Library Board of Curators’ medal

Come join us this Wednesday, October 26th for Osler Day 2016!

The Pam and Rolando Del Maestro William Osler Medical Students Essay Contest has selected three  finalists who will each have the opportunity to present before the judges panel from 11:30-1:00pm in the Jonathan C. Meakins Auditorium, McIntyre Medical Building 5th Floor, 3655 Promenade Sir William Osler.

The 2016 finalists are:

“Being placed at the Douglas Mental Health Institute for the family medicine shadowing program in first year was quite the adventure for me. Over time, I became increasingly interested in the history of mental health institutions like the Douglas, mental health care policies and more broadly, the history of psychiatry as a medical field.”


“As medical students, we are exposed to plenty of dogmas. Yet, medical dogma, like everything else in the world is susceptible to error. In accepting this, I sought to elucidate the origins of the formerly accepted belief that newborns did not feel pain”

Faculty, students, and friends are all welcome to attend and show their support for this year’s finalists. More details about the contest can be found here. Our special thanks to the Medical Students’ Osler Society, the Board of Curators of the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, and Pam and Rolando Del Maestro for their continued dedication with this celebrated annual event.

julio-biv__03_2In the evening, at 6:00pm in the Charles F. Martin Amphitheatre, the 39th Annual Osler Lectureship welcomes distinguished guest lecturer Dr. Julio SG Montaner, OC, OBC, MD, DSc (hon), FRCPC, FCCP, FACP, FRSC.

Director, BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, St. Paul’s Hospital, Providence Healthcare; Professor and Head, UBC-Division of AIDS, UBC and St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation Chair in AIDS Research; UNAIDS Special Advisor on HIV Therapeutics.

Dr. Montaner played a key role in establishing the efficacy of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) and since then has established the role of ‘Treatment as Prevention’ using HAART to simultaneously decrease progression to AIDS and death, as well as HIV transmission.

From Treatment to Prevention: Rethinking our Approach to Contagious Diseases

In 1996, medical researchers in British Columbia discovered that combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) significantly improved the quality and length of the lives of patients with HIV/AIDS, but only after the province began providing cART for free did researchers discover something equally profound: cART also prevented HIV transmission. This talk examines the journey from treatment to prevention and the implications for how we fight contagious diseases at local and global levels.


Montréal Baroque Festival at Osler Library

Last Saturday we were pleased to host a sold out festival event in the Osler Library’s Wellcome Camera. Vincent Lauzer (pictured below) performed solo works for recorder as part of the 14th annual Montréal Baroque Festival. Each piece was composed by young Quebec composers, inspired and influenced by the Baroque style. We look forward to hosting more music events like this in the future! Details about a winter concert series will be announced later this year.

Vincent Lauzer performs at the Osler Library, part of Montreal Baroque Festival 2016.

Vincent Lauzer performing at the Osler Library’s Wellcome Camera, part of Montreal Baroque Festival 2016.

For more information about the Montréal Baroque Festival, please visit https://www.montrealbaroque.com.

Osler Essay Contest finalists

Tomorrow, the three finalists from the Osler Society and Osler Library Board of Curators Essay Contest will present their essays.

Osler at His Desk in Baltimore. From the William Osler Photo Collection.

Osler at His Desk in Baltimore. From the William Osler Photo Collection.

The contest gives undergraduate medical students the opportunity to explore a theme of interest to them in the history, social studies, ethics, and humanities of the medicine. Through the course of writing their essay, they are mentored by an expert in their topic drawn from the Osler Library’s Board of Curators, the Department of Social Studies of Medicine, or elsewhere.  It is also a chance to use the rich resources and expertise of the Osler Library to craft their essay.  Out of 20 student proposals, 8 essays were submitted and 3 finalists have been chosen.

  • Julia Hickey, “The Predominance of Osler’s Humanism in the Practice of Palliative Care”
  • Susan Mengxiao Ge, “Observation: The Importance of Art in Medicine”
  • Jennifer Pors, “Blood Ties: A History of Blood Transfusion”

Please join us from 9:30-11:00 in room 210 of the McIntyre Medical Building to hear from our three finalists. The winner will be announced at the Osler Banquet on Wednesday, November 6.

Anatomical atlas donated in honour of outgoing principal

This Tuesday, April 30th, at Osler, Principal Monroe-Blum was presented with a significant rare work donated in her honour. The Exposition anatomique de la structure du corps human by Jacques Fabien Gautier d’Agoty (1716-1785) was published in France in 1759. D’Agoty was an artist who trained in colour printing with Jacob Christoph Le Blon (1670-1741), a German painter and engraver who developed the technique of colour mezzotint printing. D’Agoty took on the difficult and elaborate project of printing a complete, life-sized anatomy in colour. The resulting book is an elephant folio with nineteen pages of text and twenty colour mezzotint plates.

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Mezzotint is an intaglio printing technique, meaning that a design is incised into a surface and the resulting image is created by the ink in the grooves. In mezzotint printing, the negative space in the image on the plate is roughened up and pitted with a tool called a rocker in order to achieve half-tones and shading. Le Blon’s colour mezzotint process involved making multiple engravings, one for each colour of ink, and then overlaying them. His original technique involved the use of red, blue, and yellow inks to create a range of colours and he later added a fourth layer of black.

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This copy of the Exposition anatomique now held at Osler is among only a handful of existing copies. Others are held in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Yale University, Harvard University, and the University of Edinburgh, among others. It is also the only known copy in Canada. The atlas was acquired thanks to several generous donors and presented in recognition of Professor Heather Munroe-Blum’s ten years as Principal and Vice-Chancellor.

Photos: Sabrina Hanna



Exhibition catalogue now online


The exhibition catalogue for our current exhibition, “Artistic Practice Scientific Vision: British Artistic Anatomy in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineetenth Century,” curated by Dr. Allister Neher is now online!

This vivid exhibition explores the intersection of art and anatomy in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Britain. Medical students and art students of the period frequented the same milieux, as aspiring doctors studied drawing at places like London’s Royal Academy of Arts and young artists studied anatomy at private medical schools.

Be sure not to miss the exhibition in person, on through the end of February.