Inspiring innovation from tradition

These have been active and intense years. Incorporating was the easiest part of the job: it probably took twenty minutes on the Internet. It was only the beginning. Writing By-laws, conceptualizing a vision and a mission, forming a Board of Trustees and attracting an Advisory Board, applying for recognition as a non-profit organization by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and – to mention just a few – creating a Web site in collaboration with a designer, compiling and writing all its content, and keeping it constantly updated and alive were parts of the activity.

The Institute is now a fully fledged organization inserted in the scientific and scholarly community worldwide and increasingly recognized as a partner for any activity related to ancient medicine. Besides having received 10,000+ visits to its Web site since September 2009, the Institute has been contacted from as far as Sri Lanka and India, for example, to help digitize and organize ancient documents preserving historical medical knowledge. Also, it has opened a dialogue with the Vatican Library to collaborate in the enterprise of digitizing the Greek medical manuscripts of the Library, and it is discussing a collaboration with the National Research Foundation of France to generate an authority list for the identification of ancient Greek physicians and treatises.

At the same time, the Institute has pursued its objectives, be it making ancient medical literature available, raising the awareness of– and interest in – the ancient medical heritage through papers in conferences and lectures to a broad range of audiences worldwide, fostering the further development of research in the field, or developing the methods and tools for such new studies. During these years, the Institute has actively participated in 25+ conferences, delivered 50+ lectures worldwide, and taught history of medicine and medical traditions in Canada, Italy, and France. And, during the current academic year, it hosts students from local universities and holds its first Seminar on Medical Traditions.

To pursue and expand its activity, the Institute is now looking forward to establishing stronger relationships with teaching institutions, be they local, national or international, in order to educate the next generation of scientists and scholars, to entering into a partnership with the corporate world so as to repurpose the ancient medical knowledge and to translate it into innovative therapeutic applications for the 21st century, and to building solid financial assets that will allow it to support original research in the field, to attract new researchers, and to organize wide-ranging public programs that will illustrate the value of the medical heritage.

These have been four active years, thus, that have required an intense work and have put the Institute in a position where it can meet the expectations it has raised and the challenges it faces. These have also been rewarding years, as the Institute has received since the very beginning the support of friends, colleagues, scientists, and scholars from all over the world, who always encouraged us and gave us the strength we needed during these four years. A special thanks to all, known or unknown.

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