Institute of History of Medicine
Zaloška 7a
1000 Ljubljana

telephone: +386 1 522 45 49, 041 327 935
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History of the Institute of History of Medicine

IZM(Photo: Jelka Simončič)

In 1919 established incomplete Medical faculty in Ljubljana introduced in the programme of lectures a new subject, the history of medicine, in the year 1934. The lecturer post was taken over by a gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr. Ivan Pintar (1888–1963) from Ljubljana. He was habilitated to this post by a dissertation on medico-surgical educational establishment in Ljubljana from 1782 to 1848. He was turning his knowledge and enthusiasm over to students, but first of all educated the sense for the roots of their profession and the importance of knowing the professional development and the protagonists during the time (in the past). In the year 1950 he edited a textbook A short history of medicine – the first Slovene textbook of this kind. He was lecturing at the Medical faculty until his death in 1963. Soon after the 2nd World War and the establishment of the complete Medical faculty was, in the year 1945, established The Institute of History of Medicine as a pedagogic and scientific-research institution. To Dr. Pintar, as a widely educated and much concerned for medical profession, was entrusted the function of the President of the Slovene Medical Association in 1926. In 1924 he became editor-in-chief of the newly established journal of the Medical Chamber. He remained in this function until 1933. He was very literate and wrote about 130 headings published in Slovene Biography Lexicon. He was publishing historical medical articles in various professional magazines, Medical Encyclopaedia, Encyclopaedia of Yugoslavia and elsewhere. By his work he showed the way to new generations of medico-historians in Slovenia.

After Pintar's death the Chair of history of medicine was empty for a large decade and the lectures were substituted (replaced) by part-time supply teachers, all until 1978 when Dr. Peter Borisov professionally took this place and was habilitated for a senior university teacher with his dissertation From War Surgery to the Beginnings of Scientific Surgery in Slovenia (1977). Prof. Borisov introduced separated lectures for the students of general department of medicine and dentistry. He prepared also a script from history of medicine and history of dentistry, and a book History of Medicine (1985). As a gynaecologist he researched the development of this branch of medicine in Slovenia and published a monograph Gynaecology in Slovenia from the Beginning to the 80th Years of the 20th Century (1995). He continued collecting objects as a collection of Slovene health care and arranged them as exhibition at the Institute. He retired in 1991.

The post of Prof. Borisov was replaced by Zvonka Zupanič Slavec, MD. She was habilitated for lecturer with the dissertation Identification and Identity of the Counts of Celje' skulls – an interdisciplinary identificational research of 18 skulls. In the year 1993 she put much effort to institutionalise the collection to the Slovene Health Museum and continued to collect different materials from Slovene health tradition. Besides pedagogic work, Prof. Slavec promoted also scientific-research work and published a monograph (in Slovene and English) on development of health insurance in Slovenia Healthy Seed -Abundant Crop (1999), a monograph Endemic Syphilis - Skrljevo Disease among Slovenians (2001), a monograph on development of the Slovene Medical Association From hands to hands, from generation to generation (The Slovene Medical Association in a 140-year retrospective) (2001), a monograph Family Interlinkage of the Counts of Celje (2002), a biography on a physician Dr. Ivan Oražen (1998, co-author F. Štolfa), and on a physician Dr. Anton Scwab (1999, co-author F. Štolfa), a book on doctors - writers Through the eyes of the female doctor (1997)… She prepared and published together with collaborators translations with accompanying studies and facsimile of some famous works written by Slovene doctors: Plenčič (1998), Muznik (2000), Lipič (2003). She introduced also the practice of large exhibitions where students co-operate, too.

The Institute co-operates with the analogue institutions around the world, first of all with the one in Vienna, Padua and Zagreb and from Anglo-Saxon world with the biggest institution of this kind - Welcome Institute for the History of Medicine in London… Furthermore, The Institute also collaborates with the International Society for the History of Medicine with its headquarters in Paris which links international medico-historians. In 1994 Zupanič Slavec introduced the meetings of medico-historians in Slovenia, so called Pintar's days and the accompanying Proceeding books.

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