History of Healthcare Curriculum for Excellence Resource

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By | The Researcher’s View

In the following post, Dr Emma Newlands (Lecturer, University of Strathclyde) discusses the creation of a history of medicine web resource aimed at schools in Scotland.


The History of Health and Healthcare Curriculum for Excellence Resource is a web resource devised by academics in the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare at Glasgow Caledonian and Strathclyde Universities. Its aim is to deliver history of medicine materials to local schools, centred round the key themes of: infectious disease in the 19th century, disease in the developing world, occupational health, mental health, the rise of the NHS, and war and medicine.

The project began in 2011 with researchers at Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian working with local school teachers and archivists to determine what sorts of materials would fit into the Curriculum for Excellence scheme in Scotland. This aims to develop four key attributes –  successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors – through interdisciplinary learning.

The Wellcome Library’s collection of art, film, photographs and Medical Officer of Health reports proved to be an excellent source of information for the project and in August 2011 Rachel Meach undertook an internship in the Library with the task of mining the collection to identify resources that could be employed by teachers in the classroom. In particular, Sir John Simon’s reports on the health of the population of London during the mid-nineteenth century, provide excellent first-hand accounts of the public health issues facing urban populations during this period. Also, a film such as Hospitals for All, made by the UK Ministry of Health in 1948, teaches students about the beginnings National Health Service by focusing on three Scottish hospitals and their specialised departments.

With the website now live, the next stage in the Curriculum for Excellence project is to promote the resource through visits to local schools. None of this would have been possible without the help and advice offered by staff in the Wellcome Library. From all at the Centre for the Social History of Health and Healthcare and Glasgow, a huge thank you!

Image: View of the interior of a ward off the Bellahouston theatre, Royal Glasgow Infirmary (Wellcome Images, L0018637)

Author: Dr Emma Newlands

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