International Master Class in History of Medicine

January 26-December 7, 2018, Paris Descartes University and Online

Paris Descartes University School of Medicine is providing the International Master Class in History of Medicine (Scientific and Cultural Joint Lectures) through both distance-learning courses (in French and English) and on-site courses (in French only).

Course Director: Professor Jean-Noël Fabiani, Surgeon, Chef of Cardiovascular Surgery at Georges Pompidou European Hospital, Paris (France), Professor at Paris Descartes, University Professor

Course Co-director: Professor Patrick Berche, Professor Emeritus, Former Dean of the Paris Descartes School of Medicine, Director of the Pasteur Institute of Lille (France).

Instructional coordinator: Mr. Claude Harel, Paris (France)

For more information, please contact

Class sessions are open to all health professionals and to anyone interested in the history of medicine.

The Descartes Program will be available on the Paris Descartes University Moodle platform in the following format: 3 hours per month over a ten-month-period from January to December 2018.

Sessions will cover the calendar year from January to December 2018.

Course Features

  1. The approach to the history of medicine (in the generic sense of the term) will focus on the life of emblematic personalities. We propose a succession of “portraits” of physicians, surgeons,
    researchers from antiquity to the present day.
  2. The monthly lectures will be recorded and available on the University e-learning platform three days after the lecture.
  3. The 2018 sessions will be available in French and/or in English, enabling English-speaking participants to also enroll.
  4. The distance learning platform will provide a valuable learning tool to those located far from our university. The lectures can be accessed 24/7, with no limit over the year.


Eligibility: anyone with a keen interest in the history of medicine.

Format: ten lectures over a ten-month period (i.e. one lecture per month from January to December 2018).

Address: the on-site lectures will be held on Fridays (17:00 – 20:00) at: Paris Descartes University, 12, rue de l’ Ecole de Médecine, 75006 Paris, in the Salle du Conseil (2nd floor),

No lectures will be held during university holiday breaks.

Lectures will also be available on the Paris Descartes distance-learning platform.

Course Completion

Two options are available:

  1. Students who choose to attend or watch the 10 recorded lectures are required to provide a short written research paper (either in French or in English) covering a topic related to the history of medicine. Once the topic is approved by the instructional committee, the research paper (called a “mémoire” in French) will have to comply with the University requirements. The format of the paper will follow a specific plan sent to all the students in the program. The Master Class Directors will grade the paper and deliver a ‘University Certificate’ for the completion of the Master Class Program in the History of Medicine, at Paris Descartes Medical School, Paris
  2. Students who choose not to write a “mémoire”, but who are interested in attending this course, can be awarded a Certificate of Attendance of the History of Medicine Program at Paris Descartes Medical School, Paris (France). This requires an 80% attendance in classroom or on-line.

Registration: Late November 2017 until mid-January 2018 (when the Program starts.)

Please refer to the online registration option below.

Registration fees: 350 euros (including University registration)

Steps for e-registration for the Master Class

  1. Connect toCanditOnline at: (You can also type in: CanditOnLine in your search engine)
  2. Create an account using your personal email address
  3. Enter your personal data
  4. Click on “Nouvelle candidature” (new application); select “Faculté de Médecine” (Medical School); then “Séminaire” (seminars); last select “Masterclass Histoire de la Médecine à distance” (Distance-Learning
    Master Class in History of Medicine).
  5. Upload a copy of your ID card in PDF format. (i.e. National Identity Card or valid passport)

We recommend using Mozilla or Chrome browser for optimal use of your e- registration application.

For any additional information, feel free to email us at: or at:

Program: January 2018 – December 2018

Friday, 26 January: “The History of Mankind”

  • PartOne: “Where? When? How did the First Humans Appear on Earth?” Professor Yves Coppens, Honorary Professor, Paleoanthropologist, renowned specialist of human evolution, member of the French Academy of Medicine, member of the French Academy of Sciences, Professor Emeritus at the Collège de France. In 1974, Professor Coppens discovered Lucy.
  • Part Two: “Deciphering Ancient DNA to Understand our Origins” by Professor Emeritus Patrick Berche, Physician, Honorary Dean of Paris Descartes School of Medicine (France), co-director of the History of Medicine course at Paris Descartes University, Director of the Pasteur Institute of Lille (France).

Friday, 9 February: “Avicenna, Prince of Scientists”

  • Part One: “Historical Context of the Avicenna Era” by Professor Joël Chandelier, Historian, and Associate Professor.
  • Part Two: “Avicenna or the Adventure of Medicine” by Professor Jean-Noël Fabiani, Cardiac Surgeon, Department of Cardiovascular Surgery at Georges Pompidou European Hospital (HEGP), Paris, University Professor at Paris Descartes (France), Director of the History of Medicine Course at Paris Descartes University.

Friday, 23 March: “Maimonides, a doctor in the Middle Ages”

  • Part One: “Maimonides and his time” by Mr. Jacques Attali, engineer (Ecole Polytechnique), economist, writer and high-ranking French official, former Advisor to President François Mitterand (Paris)
  • Part Two: “Maimonides and medicine” by Dr. Ariel Toledano, Angiologist, and lecturer in the History of Medicine at Paris Descartes School of Medicine. Dr. Tolédano has published many books on the History of Medicine (Paris).

Friday, 13 April: “Medicine in the Time of the Pharaohs”

  • Part One: “Society in Egypt under the Pharaohs, an Introduction” Dr. Bernard Ziskind, Cardiologist, author of many books on medicine and ancient Egypt.
  • Part Two: “Medicine in the Time of the Pharaohs” Dr. Bruno Halioua, Dermatologist, lecturer in history of medicine at Paris Descartes School of Medicine, whom has published many books on the history of medicine France).

Friday, 11 May: “The French University Hospital Reform of 1958”

  • Part One: “Historical Background: the Early Years of the ‘5ème République’ ” Professor Nicolas Roussellier, researcher at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po), a graduate of École Normale Supérieure  ENS), Associate Professor of History, PhD advisor. Professor Roussellier has specialized in political history and, more specifically, in the history of Constitutional Transformations over the 20th century.
  • Part Two: “The University Hospital Reform of 1958 in France” by Honorary Professor Bernard Debré, Urologist, French politician, former Minister, former Member of the French Parliament, Member of the National Advisory Ethics Committee.

Friday, 15 June: “The Raft of the Medusa, the Epic of a Drama”

  • Part One: “History of a Tragic Episode in the Navy” by Mr. Denis Rolland, curator of the National Navy Museum of Rochefort.
  • Part Two: “A Doctor’s Perspective on the Gestation of a Work” by Professor Jacques-Louis Binet, hematologist, member of the National Academy of Medicine (Permanent Secretary), co-producer of scientific Programs on France Culture (French radio), with a passion for contemporary art, which he taught at the Ecole du Louvre. He is also a member of the Academy of Fine Arts.

Friday, 21 September: “1867, the Inauguration of Sainte-Anne Psychiatric Hospital in Paris”

  • Part One: “Psychiatry in France in the Nineteenth Century” by Dr. Michel Caire, Psychiatrist, who has published many articles and books on history of psychiatry, Paris (France).
  • Part Two: “Sainte- Anne Psychiatric Hospital in Paris” by Dr. Pascal Martin, Psychiatrist and Hospital Practitioner, who specializes in the history of psychiatry, Paris (France).

Friday, 26 October: “Sherlock Holmes and the Medical Sciences of his Time”

  • Part One: “Forensic Science in the 19th Century” by Dr. Marc Renneville, Historian in Human Sciences, specialist in the field of crime and justice, faculty member and researcher. Since 2008, Dr. Renneville has conducted research for the Ministry of Justice and the Centre for Research on the History of Science and Technology and at Sciences- Po History Centre. Since September 2015, Dr. Renneville has been in charge of a new joint unit (CNRS and Ministry of Justice): CLAMOR.
  • Part Two: “The adventures of Sherlock Holmes and the Sciences of his Time” by Mrs. Dominique Meyer-Bolzinger, Lecturer at the University of Haute-Alsace (Mulhouse), where she teaches 20th-century French literature. Specialist in crime novels, Mrs. Meyer-Bolzinger is particularly interested in investigation from the point of view of fictitious investigation methods with regards to their prevailing presence in contemporary literature.

Friday, 16 November: “Women, Medicine andMotherhood”

  • Part One: “Deciphering the Doctor-Patient Relationship through the Ages” by Mrs. Nathalie Pranchère, Archivist Paleographer, Graduate of Ecole Nationale des Chartes, and researcher whose work has focused on health professions (UMR 8596, Paris, France).
  • Part Two: “Midwives: Birth of a Professional Body” by Ms. Nathalie Pranchère

Friday, 7 December: “The Great War and the Broken Faces”

  • During First World War, 40% of the French Army suffered disabling wounds, nearly 15% of the wounded soldiers suffered facial injuries.
  • Part One: “The Great War or the Tale of a Hecatomb” by Professor Jean Yves Le Naour, historian and most renowned specialist of the Great War (Paris, France).
  • Part Two: “Reconstructive Surgery in the First World War” by Professor Laurent Lantieri, Plastic Surgeon, University Professor, Head of Reconstructive Surgery and Aesthetics Department at Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris (France). On June 26, 2010, he completed the first full face transplant on a patient with the Von Recklinghausen’s disease.

The final lecture is followed by the end-of-course celebration!

Posted: January 17, 2018