Tag Archives: Mariel Tishma

African American medical pioneers

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   The road for African Americans in the medical professions has not been easy. Enslaved Africans received no education.1 During the first half of the nineteenth-century medical schools in the North would admit only a very small number of black students. Even after the Civil War, African Americans continued […]

“Rich man, poor man”: a history of lead poisoning

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Comfort in the Gout. Thomas Rowlandson. 1802. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The history of lead poisoning is the history of human industry. For unmarked time, lead has been around causing abdominal pain, constipation, nausea, and irritability, as well as conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, reduced fertility, […]

“Some little show of nail”: the health of Anne Boleyn

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Anne Boleyn. Unknown English artist. Late 16th century, based on a work of circa 1533-1536. National Portrait Gallery. Of all the wives of England’s King Henry VIII, the most well known is Anne Boleyn. She is the woman who, one way or another, caused the split between Henry […]

More than “toil and trouble”: Macbeth and medicine

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   The Witches. Hans Baldung (called Hans Baldung Grien). 1510. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The image of a woman – a witch — working over a bubbling cauldron filled with stomach-turning substances is a staple of both horror and more family friendly media. One such example is Shakespeare’s […]

William Gorgas – Life and medical legacy

 Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States Portrait of William C. Gorgas. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY Library, London. Wellcome Images The Panama Canal Zone in the early 1900s was described as “one of the must unhealthful places in the world.”1 Ridden with mosquitoes, the Isthmus of Panama was a hotbed of yellow fever, malaria, and […]

Clara Maass, yellow fever, and the early days of ethical medical testing

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Clara Louise Maass portrait. Credit: National Museum of Health and Medicine. CC BY 2.0. Clara Maass was born on June 28, 1876, in the quiet New Jersey township of East Orange. The oldest daughter of Hedwig and Robert E. Maass, she grew up helping to raise and provide […]

That hospital smell

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States “Caricature of a Man with a Large Nose” by Claude Monet. 1855/56. Credit: The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Carter H. Harrison Collection. Public Domain. What smells good to you? Do you know why? To many people smell seems of little significance, yet it is a powerful […]

From the goddess of healing to hair of the dog: the role of canines in health myth and fact

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, USA    “A sculpture of Gula, Sumerian deity of healing, with a dog at her side.” Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY The landscape of Mesopotamia was riddled with challenges, but for every problem that arose there was a deity to petition. Of these perhaps the most well-known was Inanna or Ishtar, who influenced […]