History: Jason A. Hannah Professor

The History of Medicine Program is an extra-departmental academic unit in the Faculty of Medicine which reports directly to the Dean of Medicine.

The History of Medicine Program at the University of Toronto began in 1976 with the creation of a professorship endowed by Associated Medical Services, Inc. (AMS) and its founder, Dr. Jason A. Hannah (pictured below). 

Established in 1937 as a non-profit health insurance organization, AMS became a charitable foundation in 1972 following the introduction of OHIP.  Its first contribution to the University of Toronto was the creation of the Hannah Collection at the Fisher Library.

Between 1974 and 1977 Hannah Chairs in the history of medicine were established in each of the (then) five* medical schools in Ontario.  The professorships and their programs were supported by revolving five-year grants until the late 1990s, when AMS began to replace them with permanent endowments.  Toronto’s Hannah Chair was thus “endowed-in-perpetuity” in 1999.

Dr. Edward Shorter, PhD, FRSC has held the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine since 1991, when he succeeded the inaugural Hannah professor, Dr. Pauline Mazumdar, now Professor Emeritus of the History of Medicine at the University of Toronto’s Institute for the History & Philosophy of Science & Technology (IHPST).

*The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), established as a joint initiative between Lakehead and Laurentian Universities and located on the two universities’ campuses in Thunder Bay and Sudbury, opened its doors in September 2005.  Canada’s newest medical school received support from AMS’s “Teaching the History of Medicine” program to recruit medical historian Geoffrey L. Hudson to its faculty.