posted on Dec. 13: Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine becomes McMaster’s largest endowed chair


When you step inside the History of Health Sciences Library, you find yourself surrounded by books and journals detailing the observations and discoveries made throughout history that have informed modern health care practice.

The collection is but one component of the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine, a unique chair that integrates the role of history in understanding health, disease and medical institutions.

The library, usually populated with students from health sciences, humanities and social sciences, became the setting yesterday (Dec.12) for a celebration of another infusion of support from Associated Medical Services (AMS).

AMS first endowed the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine in 1999, with a generous gift of $1-million. The University matched the AMS gift and an endowed chair was established to develop an academic program in the history of medicine.

The first holder of the Hannah Chair, David Wright, holds a joint appointment with the Department of History and the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences.

At the celebration, Abbyann Lynch, president of AMS, presented the University with an additional $1-million for the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine.

This gift, coupled with the initial endowment and matching funds from the University means that this chair will have an endowment fund of $4-million, which to date is the largest endowment for any single chair at the university.

“McMaster is a splendid example of why we choose to fund the chair,” said Lynch and noted that the University has the distinction of having two Hannah history of medicine professors on campus, referring to Wright and professor emeritus Charles Roland, the Jason A. Hannah Professor of the History of Medicine from 1977-1999.

Wright thanked AMS for its continued support and noted that their funding has helped put Canadian research at the forefront of the history of medicine.

“The AMS endowment offers McMaster an opportunity to create the largest most influential unit in Canada. There are incredible possibilities for the future and I believe we can construct a preeminent program.”