- The Jason A. Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine
- Associate Professor (Joint Appointment with the Department of Surgery)
Professor McKellar studies the history of medicine and disease, with a special interest in the history of medical technology, instruments and devices, the history of surgery, and medical biography.
Professor McKellar teaches the history of medicine, the medical profession, and related historical aspects of 'doctoring' to medical students in the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry as well as teaches the history of disease and society, including public health initiatives, epidemic outbreaks and social response to undergraduate and graduate history students in the Faculty of Social Science. She advises a number of graduate students, and welcomes inquiries from MA and PhD students interested in the history of medicine and disease.
Major Research Projects
Professor McKellar is currently working on two book projects. (1) In collaboration with Dr David Kenny, DDS and member of the first graduating class of the Western dental program, McKellar is documenting the history of the dental school program at Western University in honour of its 50th anniversary. (2) McKellar is in the early stages of a new project, “Cutting to Cure,” which is an object-centred study exploring how instruments and the act of cutting have shaped our approach to disease.
Professor McKellar also curates the Medical Artifact Collection, which is a university study collection under ongoing development as a teaching and research source. The collection contains approximately 1,200 objects, ranging from bloodletting instruments and surgical sets to microscopes and pharmaceuticals, representative of late 19th- and early to mid-20th century practice and teaching of health and medicine in southwestern Ontario. It can be viewed online at www.medicalhistory.uwo.ca.
Artificial Hearts: The Allure and Ambivalence of a Controversial Medical Technology (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018). 384 pp.
Medicine and Technology in Canada, 1900-1950. with Allison Kirk-Montgomery. Transformation Series #16 (Ottawa: Canada Science and Technology Museum, 2008). 171 pp.
Surgical Limits: The Life of Gordon Murray (University of Toronto Press, 2003). 270 pp.
Essays in Honour of Michael Bliss: Figuring the Social. Co-edited with Alison Li, Elsbeth Heaman. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008). 491 pp.
Chapters in Books
- “Disruptive Potential: The ‘Landmark’ REMATCH Trial, Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) Technology and the Surgical Treatment of Heart Failure in the United States,” Technological Change in Modern Surgery: Historical Perspectives on Innovation edited by Thomas Schlich and Christopher Crenner (Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2017), 129-155.
- "Medicine and Technology in the United States," The Oxford Encyclopedia of the History of American Science, Medicine, and Technology, edited by Hugh R. Slotten (Oxford University Press, 2014): 73-8.
- “Limitations Exposed: Willem J. Kolff and his Contentious Pursuit of a Mechanical Heart,” in Essays in Honour of Michael Bliss: Figuring the Social, co-edited by Alison Li, Elsbeth Heaman, and Shelley McKellar (University of Toronto Press, 2008): 400-434.
- “Cardiac conditions,” Encyclopedia of Disability edited by Gary L. Albrecht (Sage Press, 2006), pp.219-221.
- “Hearts, artificial,” Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Technology, Edited by Colin A. Hempstead and William E. Worthington (New York: Routledge Press, 2005). 2 vols.
- “Atomic Hearts: A Decade of U.S. Government-Sponsored Development, 1967-1977,” Physics Today 69, 5 (May 2016): 38-44.
- “Dr William Waugh (1851-1936): Promoter of Change in 19th C Medical Education and Practice,” Canadian Journal of Surgery 59, 2 (April 2016): 143-4.
- “Repairing Hearts: Innovations in Cardiac Surgery, Heritage Matters 14, 1 (Feb 2016): 13-15.
- "Negotiating Risk: The Failed Development of Atomic Hearts in America, 1967-1977," Technology and Culture 54,1 (Jan 2013): 1-39.
See The Atlantic blog commenting on McKellar article by Alexis C. Madrigal at http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/03/the-true-story-of-the-government-programs-that-tried-to-build-an-atomic-heart/274266.
Media Speaking Events
- May 23, 2017 – "Spare Parts Hope, Drama and Dispute: Heart Transplantation and Total Artificial Heart Implant Cases during the 1960s," The J. Worth Estes History of Medicine Lecture, Boston Medical Library, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
- Mar 21, 2017 – “Intentional Impact: The Legacy of Michael E. DeBakey beyond the O.R.,” Inaugural Michael E. DeBakey Lecture in the History of Medicine, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
See event coverage at:
- NIH Record article by Dana Talesnik at https://nihrecord.nih.gov/
- Circulating Now blog interview with Prof. McKellar at https://circulatingnow.nlm.nih.gov/2017/03/09/intentional-impact-the-legacy-of-michael-e-debakey/
- National Library of Medicine e-Newsletter article at https://infocus.nlm.nih.gov/2017/05/09/the-texas-tornado-nlm-commemorates-heart-surgeon-debakey/
- NIH Record article by Dana Talesnik at https://nihrecord.nih.gov/
- Nov 10, 2016 -- "Surgical Transgressions? Michael DeBakey, Denton Cooley and the Controversial Artificial Heart Implant Case of 1969," History of the Health Sciences Lecture Series, Augustus C. Long Library, Columbia University Medical Center, New York NY
- Apr 26, 2016 -- "Instruments and Devices: Exploring Past Medical Practices Through the Material Culture of Medicine ... A 'Hidden' History?" The Reynolds-Finlay Lecture, University of Alabama at Birmingham
- Jan 22, 2016 -- "A Silent Epidemic? Says Who? Heart Disease and Chronic Epidemiology," Dept of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Western University
- April 10, 2015 -- “The Medical Artifact Collection at Western: Exploring Past Medical Practices through the Doctor’s Instruments and Diaries,” The Harvey Oration, Harvey Club of London, Ontario, London, ON
- Mar 28, 2015 -- “Surgical Transgressions? Michael DeBakey, Denton Cooley and the Controversial Artificial Heart Implant Case of 1969,” AMS Guest Speaker, A Day for the History of Medicine at the University of Alberta, Faculty of Medicine, U of Alberta
- Mar 27, 2015 -- “Heart Failure and the Role of Artificial Hearts: The Dracula of Medical Technology … Still?” Grand Medical Rounds, Faculty of Medicine, U of Alberta
- Mar 5, 2015 -- "Tonsillotomes and Toothkeys: Exploring Past Medical and Dental Practices in London," Founder’s Day Talk, Western University
- Feb 9, 2015 -- "TAHs and LVADs: The Dracula of Medical Technology … Still?” Cardiovascular Grand Rounds, Cardiology Division, Department of Surgery, Western University
- Jan 21, 2015 – “The Resiliency of the Triumphant Narrative: Artificial Heart Technology and the Patient Perspective from Barney Clark to Dick Cheney,” Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IHPST), U of Toronto
Displays & Workshops
- "Phrenology," "Nurse's Uniform," "Quack Medicine Treatments," Object Profile displays, Lawson Hall, Western U (2015)
- "Wounded! Front-line Medical Care in the First World War," Case display, Lawson Hall and Medical Sciences Building, Western U (2014)
- "Childbirth: Tools of the Physician," Dept of History, 2nd floor Lawson Hall (2013)
- "Behind the Display," Touring the Medical Artifact Collection at Western, Doors Open London (2012)
- "Instruments and Devices: The Material Culture of Medicine," showcasing the Medical Artifact Collection, D.B. Weldon Library, Western (2011)
- “Toothkeys and Forceps: Tools of the Dentist,” “Teaching Anatomy and Microscopy at Western,” “Scalpels and Stethoscopes: The Doctor’s Instruments,” Case displays celebrating the 130th anniversary of Western's Medical School, Medical Sciences Building, Western (2011)
In The News
- Inaugural lecture at History Of Medicine Visiting Speaker Series a success
- Bringing the history of dentistry to life
- Medical students deliver "Top 10 Reasons Why Medical History May Make You a Better Doctor"
- Celebrating a rich history in medicine
Awards & Distinctions
- 2010-11, 2012-13 - USC Teaching Honour Roll
Award of Excellence in Teaching, Western University