[The trend and prospect of studies on the history of Western medicine in Korea.]

Ock Joo Kim
Ŭi Sahak 2010 June 30, 19 (1): 89-117
Studies on the history of Western medicine in Korea began to be actively conducted and published since the restart of the Korean Society for the History of Medicine in 1991, which had been originally inaugurated in 1947, and the publication of its official journal, the Korean Journal of Medical History in 1992. In 1970s and 1980s, even before the start of the Journal, articles on a history of Western medicine were published mainly written by physicians in medical journals. This paper aims to provide an overview of the publications on the history of Western medicine in Korea, comparing papers published in the Journal with those published in other journals. Authors of the papers in the Journal are those who majored in history of medicine or history science whose initial educational backgrounds were medicine or science, whereas authors of the papers in other journals majored in Western history, economic history, social history, religious history, or women's history. While a large portion of papers in the Journal deal with medicine in ancient Greek or in modern America with no paper on medieval medicine, the papers in other journals deal with more various periods including ancient, medieval and modern periods and with diverse areas including France, Britain, Germany, Europe etc. Recent trends in 2000s show an increase in the number of researchers who published the history of Western medicine in other journals, total number of their publications, and the topics that they dealt with in their papers. In contrast, however, the number of researchers published in the Journal, the number of the papers and its topics - all decreased in recent years. Only three papers on the history of diseases have been published in the Journal, while eleven published in other journals. In order to stimulate research on the history of Western medicine in Korea, concerted efforts are necessary including academic communication among various disciplines, formulation of a long term plan to enlarge the pool of researchers and readers of the history of Western medicine, and development of strategic educational programs for both graduates and undergraduates including students of medicine and of humanities in Korea.

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