William Osler Medal

About the William Osler Medal

National Library of Medicine

Sir William Osler

The William Osler Medal is awarded annually for the best unpublished essay on a medical historical topic written by a student enrolled in a school of medicine or osteopathy in the United States or Canada. First awarded in 1942, the medal commemorates Sir William Osler, who stimulated an interest in the humanities among medical students and physicians. The writer of the winning essay will be invited to attend the 2015 AAHM meeting, April 30-May 3, 2015, in New Haven, CT, where the medal will be conferred. Reasonable travel expenses will be provided, as will a two-year complimentary membership in the AAHM. If the Osler Medal Committee also selects an essay for honorable mention, its author will receive a certificate and a two-year complimentary membership in the Association.

All students who are candidates for the degree of Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy, or are graduates of the class of 2014, are eligible. The essay must have been written while the entrant was a student in good standing. Students are not eligible to compete for the Osler Medal if they have completed at least one full year of graduate training in history, the history of science or medicine, or the humanities or social sciences by the closing date of the competition. Medical students who have been enrolled in a graduate program in history or a related discipline should submit their essays to the Shryock competition. No student should submit an essay to both competitions in the same year. Essays that have been awarded an Honorable Mention are not eligible for resubmission.

Essays may pertain to the historical development of a contemporary medical problem, or to a topic within the health sciences related to a discrete period in the past and should demonstrate either original research or an unusual appreciation and understanding of the problems discussed. The essay (maximum 9,000 words, including endnotes) must be entirely the work of one contestant.

Questions may be directed to the Osler Medal Committee Chair: Dale Smith, Professor of Military Medicine & History, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD 20814-4799; dale.smith@usuhs.edu. Entries must be postmarked or submitted electronically via e-mail (which is the preferred method of submission) by 16 January 2015.

Osler Medal Essay Guidelines

Past Osler Medal Winners

Osler Medal Committee, 2014-15

  • Dale Smith, Chair
  • Paul Berman
  • Charles Bryan
  • Elizabeth Dreesen
  • Edward Halperin