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Meet Dr. Paula Summerly

Aug 1, 2012, 00:00 AM by Julia Essex

Paula Summerly, PhDThe UTMB Health Institute for the Medical Humanities is pleased to welcome Paula Summerly, PhD as a Visiting Scholar. Dr. Summerly will be in residence from August 1, 2012 through January 31, 2013.

Paula Summerly’s academic background is in the history of medicine (PhD, University of Glasgow), palaeopathology (MSc, University of Sheffield), and fine art photography (BA, Sheffield Hallam University). Her doctorate entitled Visual Pathology: A Case Study in Late-Nineteenth Century Clinical Photography in Glasgow, Scotland was funded through a Wellcome Trust scholarship.

Subsequently, she was a researcher on the Forensic Medicine Archives Project at the University of Glasgow, http://www.fmap.archives.gla.ac.uk/

From 2010 to 2011, Dr. Summerly was a Fellow in Medical Humanities and Bioethics at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago. She undertook research on the history of pediatric clinical photography and the history of forensic photography in conjunction with the Chicago Police Department.

In 2007, Dr. Summerly was awarded a scholarship from the Friends of the Dittrick Medical Museum, Cleveland, Ohio. She researched the dermatological photographs taken by Dr. William Thomas Corlett (1854-1948) and the dissection photographs published in Dissection: Photographs of a Rite of Passage in American Medicine 1880-1930 by John Harley Warner and James Edmonson (Blast Books, 2009).

Dr. Summerly has published papers on a range of subjects including: Sir William Macewen (1848-1924), pioneer of aseptic surgery; photographic evidence; and clinical photography. She has curated temporary and permanent exhibitions including: Photographing Pediatrics: Northwestern University, circa 1900-1940 at the Galter Health Sciences Library, Northwestern University, Chicago (2011); and A Healing Passion: Medicine in Glasgow Past and Present at the Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow (2006). Dr. Summerly has also acted as a freelance consultant for the temporary exhibitions team at the Wellcome Trust, London.

During her time at IMH, Dr. Summerly will research the role of visual knowledge in medicine and the humanities, with a special emphasis on photography. Her interests include the art of clinical observation and patient anonymity. She will also explore and utilize local visual archival sources including the anatomical drawings by  Dr. William Keiller (1861-1931) held in the Blocker History of Medicine Collections at the Moody Medical Library.