- The Jason A. Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine
- Professor (Joint Appointment with the Department of Surgery)
- Western Faculty Scholar, 2019-2021
PhD, University of Toronto, 1999
Telephone: 519-661-2111 ext. 84990
Office: Lawson Hall 2227
Office Hours: (via Zoom) Hist2812E - Wednesdays, 12:00-2:00pm
History of Medicine at Western
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 1970, who was a member of the first graduating class of the Western dental program, McKellar is documenting the history of the dental school program at Western University. (2) McKellar is in the early stages of a new project, “Cutting as Cure: Objects and Stories in the History of Surgery,” 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, 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
- “History of Mechanical Circulatory Support,” Mechanical Support for Heart Failure: Current Solutions and New Technologies, edited by Jamshid H. Karimov, Kiyotaka Fukamachi, and Randall C. Starling (Springer Nature, 2020), chapter 1.
- “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.
- “The Value of Multiple Approaches: The Early Years of Artificial Heart Research”, Artificial Organs 42, 5 (May 2018): 473-475.
- “The Promissory Nature of Artificial Hearts”, The Lancet 391,10124 (Mar 10, 2018): 930-931.
- “Clinical Firsts: Christiaan Barnard and Heart Transplantation,” New England Journal of Medicine 377, 23 (Dec 7, 2017): 2211-3.
- “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 comments by Alexis C. Madrigal.
- Oct 15, 2019 -- “Artificial Hearts: Haskell Karp, Dick Cheney and other Sensational Patient Cases,” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC
- Sept 24, 2019 -- " 'Lady Medicos': Dr Jennie Kidd Trout and the Audacious Feats of Women in Medicine," Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) Stratford, ON
- Apr 12, 2019 -- “Artificial Hearts: A Controversial Medical Technology and Its Sensational Patient Cases from Barney Clark to Dick Cheney,” Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
- Nov 16, 2018 – “Drama and Debate: The Sensational Clinical Use of Artificial Hearts from Barney Clark to Dick Cheney,” The Dr Nigel Rusted Lecture in Medical Humanities, Memorial University, St. John’s, NL
- May 7, 2018 -- "Artificial Hearts: A Controversial Medical Technology", Dalhousie Medical History Society, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS
- Apr 3, 2018 – “Artificial Hearts: A Controversial Medical Technology”, 30th Annual Mark M. Ravitch History of Medicine Lecture, C.F. Reynolds Medical History Society, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
- Mar 22, 2018 – “Artificial Hearts: Bioengineering Challenges, Daresay Limits?”, Seminars in Mechanical Engineering, Polytechnic Montreal, Montreal, QC
- Mar 16, 2018 – “Artificial Hearts: Boundaries Broken?”, Keynote Lecture, Western Research Forum, Western University
- Feb 7, 2018 – “Artificial Hearts: A Controversial Medical Technology”, The Hannah History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Speaker Series, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON
- Oct 11, 2017 – “Artificial Hearts: A History of an Imperfect Technology and its Role in the Fight against Heart Failure”, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Ottawa, ON
- Aug 12, 2017 – “Dr Gordon Murray (1894-1976): An Extraordinary Life in Medicine and Surgery”, The Harrington & Area Community Association, Harrington, ON
- 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/
Displays & Workshops
- Teaching Anatomy and Microscopy at Western, Dept of History, 2nd floor Lawson Hall (2019)
- "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
- Dr. Shelley McKellar named as one of Western University’s 2019 Faculty Scholars
- 50 years later, artificial hearts still mesmerize
- McKellar's newest book discussed in The New York Review of Books
- Dr. Shelley McKellar Appointed to the AMS Healthcare Board of Directors
- New book gets to the heart of the matter
- Announcement: Dr. Shelley McKellar has been re-appointed as the Hannah Endowed Chair in the History of Medicine
Awards & Distinctions
- 2010-11, 2012-13 - USC Teaching Honour Roll
Award of Excellence in Teaching, Western University