NIU history professor Beatrix Hoffman will use her expertise of the past to inspire the future generation of physicians Saturday, May 16, when she gives the keynote address at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine commencement.
“Loyola is one of few medical schools in the country that really emphasizes a physician’s social responsibility,” said Hoffman, an expert in 20th century American history, with a specialization in medicine and social movements. “That idea is a big part of my research, so it is really exciting to be able to share that with the people who are going to care for patients and communities.”
Much of Hoffman’s research went into her 2012 book titled “Health Care for Some,” an engaging and in-depth look at America’s long history of unequal access to health care. It’s the first book to examine the history of American rationing, and how these practices developed and changed over time.
For Hoffman, the journey to Loyola’s graduation began in Granada, Spain, when she met medical student Matt Murphy at the European Conference on Migrant and Ethnic Minority Health. Murphy read the book and nominated her as the keynote speaker.
“I read the entire book in a few days,” Murphy said. “I really enjoyed her book and the historical perspective that she provides to health systems and medicine. I thought that she could provide some unique insight into our current situation graduating from medical school through a historic lens while incorporating the experiences of past physicians and health professionals.”
Hoffman is honored to address Loyola’s graduates.
“Loyola’s medical school is a pretty special place,” Hoffman said. “They not only educate physicians but they also put a lot of emphasis on the role of medical care in society. Student involvement – in community and global health projects – is part of their curriculum.”
The commencement, which begins at 4 p.m. in the Gentile Arena, will be broadcast live online.