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Activities of the Society

The primary aims of the Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine are to develop and publish historical accounts of disease and health care in the Australian, New Zealand and Pacific region and elsewhere, and to support the rigorous historical analysis of the enormous variety of health care.


We do these things through the following means:

Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine


An ANZSHM conference is held on a biennial basis. The conference usually spans 3-5 days at venues around Australia and New Zealand. The program includes keynote addresses, a program of research papers and other intellectual and social activities. The ANZSHM also participates in other historical conferences from time to time.


The ANZSHM offers Ben Haneman Memorial Conference Grants for Postgraduate Students and Early Career Researchers, a competitive scheme to assist students and ECRs to present a paper at the conference. Click on the link for more information and to access an application form.



The ANZSHM publishes a quarterly newsletter, Medical History Newsletter, which is available to be read online and sent to all members.

The Society's journal, Health and History, is peer reviewed and published twice yearly.


Communication is encouraged via this website. Please contact us by email or letter with contributions, suggestions and ideas.

Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine

Public Events and Talks 


ANZSHM members have been active in responding to the COVID-19 crisis, particularly in placing it in historical context. Click here to access a selection of articles, papers, videos and programs.

ANZSHM biennial book prize


The ANZSHM awards a biennial book prize for the best book produced on the history of health and medicine in Australia, New Zealand and the wider Oceania region published within a specified two-year period.  The value of the prize is $500. Details can be found here.

Witness Seminars 


At the biennial conferences and at some associated history of medicine conferences the society has supported the organisation of a Witness Seminar on an important topic relevant to history of medicine in Australia and/or New Zealand. The idea of the 'Witness Seminar' was pioneered by the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at the University College London. Witnesses of particular events or developments meet to reminisce, discuss and debate among themselves, in a chairman-led meeting and with a participating audience of historian, scientists, clinicians and others. Questions such as 'What was it like at the time?' and 'Why did things happen the way they did?' form the backbone of such discussions.The proceedings are recorded, transcribed and prepared for possible publication.


Recent Witness seminars include:

2019   'Experiences of deinstitutionalisation', Auckland

2017   'Adventures in Immunology and Inflammation since the 1960s:

           Curiosity-driven Research, Discovery, New Treatments’, Melbourne

2015   'Levers of Power: Managing Health Services', Sydney

2013   'The Menzies School of Health Research', Darwin

2011   'Apoptosis: Its Discovery, Development and Significance in Medicine

           and Biology', Brisbane

2009   'Asbestos Related Disease', Perth

2007   'Global Eradication of Human Infectious Diseases', Canberra

2006   'History of Iodine Deficiency in Tasmania 1806-2006', Launceston

2005   'The History of Fetal Medicine', Auckland

           A full transcript of the seminar can be accessed here.

2003   'Venomous Country', Melbourne

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