We can‘t celebrate World Health Worker Week, without talking about famous people in early medicine at the very beginnings of global healthcare. These individuals are some of the most important people in the history of medicine! Without these individuals, modern medicine would not be what it is today.
Hippocrates of Kos, the “Father of Medicine.”
Hippocrates of Kos (Hippocrates II, 460 BCE – 370 BCE) is known throughout the world as the “Father of Medicine.” His Hippocratic School of Medicine completely changed the face of medicine forever. This was in part by separating the study of medicine into its own discipline.
The “Hippocratic Oath” recited by doctors upon stepping into their stations as medical professionals most likely derived from an Alexandria document called the Hippocratic Corpus. This document was most likely begun during Hippocrates’ lifetime, although scholars are not certain if he wrote any of it himself.
Galen of Pergamon– considered one of the most accomplished medical researchers of the ancient past.
Aelius Galenus (c. 129–216 CE), anglicized to Galen of the Roman Empire, was an accomplished physician, researcher, surgeon, and philosopher. Humorism greatly influenced his medical philosophy and practice as it was very popular in his lifetime. His far reaching influence lasted well inthe the seventeenth century.
He is the first known researcher to use animals to explore anatomy and learn about the way the biological systems worked. Much of our modern knowledge of medicine comes from Galen’s writings. One such treatise was titled That the Best Physician Is Also a Philosopher.
Paul of Aegina – widely considered the “Father of Medical Books”.
Paul of Aegina (c. 625 – c. 690 CE), also known as Paul Aegineta, was a Byzantine Greek physician who traveled a great deal while practicing his profession. Very little is known about his life, other than the generalized years in which he lived. A great deal of what we do now about him actually came from Arab writers with whom he was greatly revered.
He was thought to have written several books, including the Medical Compendium in Seven Books, which is the only one known to have an extant copy in existence. It is a compendium on works of other writers. Multiple copies of his works were translated into Arabic, and several Arabic authors wrote about him. In fact, his sixth book, on surgery, was consistently referenced in both the Arab countries and Europe for years.
Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi, or Rhazes, was a famous 9th century Persian physician, philosopher, polymath and alchemist.
A prolific writer, al-Razi (854–925 CE) made huge contributions in many fields. He is best known, today, however, for his observations and discoveries as a physician. He served as Chief Physician in both Baghdad and Rhages hospitals and served as a teacher of medicine. One of al-Razi’s most famous treatises is his discussion of smallpox and measles in al-Judari wa al-Hasbah (On Smallpox and Measles). He is the first known physician to write about these two diseases. al-Razi contributed greatly to the early days of Pharmacology by gathering information together about various ointments and compiling them into documents.
One of the most profound things that al-Razi put forth for medical society in the 9th and 10th century was his strong considerations on the ethics of medicine. He had a strong dislike for fake doctors and charlatans. In his writings, he also often spoke of the limits of knowledge. As such, the most highly educated doctors, in his mind, did not know everything.
Explore our other postings about famous historical figures in medicine.
Here’s the list of our coming blogs for World Health Worker Week.
- Famous figures at the beginning of global healthcare.
- Important accomplishments by Healthcare Workers in Specific Diseases.
- Famous historical figures in research.
- Other famous and familiar names in the history of global healthcare.
- Famous Humanitarians and Philanthropists that have been part of Healthcare.
What can you do to help celebrate World Health Workers?
The World Health Organization (WHO) is probably more well known and heard of now, than it ever was before. Their job is to identify these situations. They have been helping and organizing the response to the Covid-19 pandemic from the start. Who better, to our mind, to look to for World Health Worker Week? The WHO has created a World Health Worker Week Portal and their focus for 2020 is Leaders on the Line. They hope to use the portal to help raise public awareness.