The Surgical History section aims to:
- promote the broad study of the history of surgery, to foster interest in the social significance of present and past surgical practice, and to encourage research in these fields;
- provide advice relating to matters pertaining to historical aspects of Military Surgery, including the nomination of lecturers in this field and on the use of the College archives or contributing to objectives related to activities and exhibits of the museum;
- cooperate with the organiser/conveners of the College Annual Scientific Congress (ASC) to appoint a convener who will prepare and coordinate the surgical history programs at the ASC;
- in conjunction with the ASC convenor for Surgical History, approve named lecturers for lectures held under the auspices of Surgical History (see related ASC named lecture policy);
- promote the Cowlishaw Collection held at the College and support the biennial symposium associated with it, in conjunction with the Heritage and Archives Committee;
- maintain a close association with the RACS Archives and Library Committee, to ensure that the historical material of the College and Faculty is used to the best advantage of all Fellows, and
- advise the Heritage and Archives Committee of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons on matters pertaining to the History of Surgery and Medicine, including College Archives and Collections.
The major activity of this Section is to convene the Surgical History program at the College's Annual Scientific Congress. The Section is provided with funds from the College's Visitor program enabling the Section to invite distinguished medical historians to participate in the meeting. Trainees are encouraged to submit abstracts for consideration for inclusion in the program and a Trainee's Prize is offered for the best paper presented by a Trainee. Trainees may be on the College training program or may occupy an unaccredited post.
This Section encourages its members to attend and contribute to the Cowlishaw Symposium that is held at the College every even year, usually in November. Presentations at this meeting are based on the study of one or more books housed in the College's Cowlishaw Collection.
Information for prospective authors
If you are submitting an abstract, your attention is drawn to the following advice.
- Study the information in the Objectives of the Section. Modern historical research in medicine places an emphasis on both the events and the historical and societal contexts within which these events occurred. If appropriate, consider how these contexts facilitated the events? What were the outcomes – medical, societal or political?
- Check the History section presentations on the previous years’ Virtual Congresses to prevent duplication of a topic.
- When possible, Trainees should work with a senior colleague for advice and perspective. Their name should appear as second author on your abstract.
- Having completed your research, plan the presentation, then prepare and submit your abstract making full use of the word limit. A structure of introduction, methodology and findings may help you.
- Try not to take too broad an approach (e.g., ‘The History of Skin Grafting From 500BCE to the Present’) - often a narrower but more deeply researched paper is more satisfying for the author, more appealing to the convenors and more engrossing for the audience.
- At the discretion of the conveners the best abstracts from Trainees (accredited or unaccredited) will be judged for the Donald Simpson Trainee prize. If selected you will be notified before the meeting. The prize is named after the late Donald Simpson, an outstanding Adelaide neurosurgeon, a superlative medical historian and a founder of the Section.
If you are interested in becoming a member, please forward your details to the Secretariat.
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
250-290 Spring Street
East Melbourne VIC 3002 Australia
Telephone: +61 3 9276 7447
Fax: +61 3 9249 1219