Drugs, Books and Patients: Marketing Medieval Medicine

For March 14, 2018

 Pi Day

Hi WN@TL Fans,

Yesterday I enjoyed a stroke of serendipity:  the latest survey from the National Science Foundation reported that in 2016 UW-Madison ranked #2 in the number of earned PhD’s awarded.  We clocked in with 823, only 4 ahead of Michigan and 26 behind the University of Texas at Austin.

The unexpected good luck is that Walt Schalick, this week’s speaker, is an exemplar of why a university not only of large size but also of great breadth and greater depth is such a remarkable place, such a vibrant community, and such a splendid resource for all of Wisconsin.

Walt’s a scientist and a historian, a physician and a medievalist.  He wanders across many worlds, and this is a place where that kind of wandering can be done in a few blocks.

For example, in the NSF rankings by number of PhDs awarded, UW was first in life sciences,  8th in physical sciences, tied for 3rd in math & computer science, 8th in psychology & social sciences, 13th in humanities & arts.

Tomorrow night (March 14) Walt will touch on a spectrum of scholarly fields in his talk entitled, “Drugs, Books and Patients: Marketing Medieval Medicine.”

Here’s how he describes his talk:

“Modern health care faces innumerable structural challenges. From the opioid crisis to pandemic threats to hospital-community churn, easy solutions elude us. In this talk, based on Schalick’s research over the last 20 years, he will explore some of these topics over the long haul.

“Because a number of health care structures were established in the Middle Ages — including universities, drug prescriptions, and medicalized hospitals — Schalick will try to answer questions about how medieval medicine laid the groundwork for drug regulations, including for opiates; how the explosion of medieval medical education drove the early professionalization of European medicine; and how those changes affected the patient experience.”

About the Speaker

Schalick is a historian of medicine and a pediatric rehabilitation physician. After receiving degrees in physics and English literature, he earned his MD and PhD from Johns Hopkins, followed by residencies and fellowships at Harvard in pediatrics and in physical medicine and rehabilitation. He was a faculty member at Washington University in Saint Louis before coming to the UW in 2007. Here he has had appointments in orthopedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, and the history of science, among others; he was the founding director of disability studies; and he now guides research didactics for rehabilitation medicine.

Schalick is also the medical director for the Central Wisconsin Center, which assists people who have developmental disabilities. He has lectured on four continents and is widely published on topics including modern disability history, medieval pharmacology, disability and medicine, clinical research, and ethics. His research has been funded by the NIH, NEH, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, German government, and others.


Next week we go analytical as Laura Albert gives her talk entitled “Advanced Analytics for Emergency Response, Bracketology, and Beyond!”

Buckets & brackets & 911, oh my!

Hope to see you soon at Wednesday Nite @ The Lab!

Thanks again,

Tom Zinnen
UW-Madison and UW-Extension