Departments <dot> Hospitals <dot> Research <dot> Harvard Medical School <dot> Harvard University
Medical Education at Harvard
Medical Education at Harvard
Program in Medical Education

Francis Weld Peabody Society

[Home]    [Events]    [Resources]

[click image to view]
Francis Weld Peabody

Dr. Francis Weld Peabody

The Francis Weld Peabody Society commemorates a physician, teacher and humanitarian who personifies the Harvard Medical School's tradition of blending the medical scientist and the humane clinician.

After his graduation from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, Dr. Peabody studied at Johns Hopkins and the Rockefeller Institute.

Returning to Boston from further studies in Germany, he served as the first chief resident in medicine at the newly opened Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in 1913.

In the following years, his work in the laboratory and clinics earned him an international reputation in the academic world. In 1922, he was named the first director of Harvard's Thorndike Memorial Laboratory at the Boston City Hospital.

In that role, he brought together many of the finest young minds in American medicine and created an environment of scientific inquiry and patient care that gained for Dr. Peabody and the Thorndike an international reputation for the development of physicians who care for patients and obtain inspiration for investigation from the problems these patients present.

Beyond his work in the laboratory and on the hospital's wards, Dr. Peabody had a major concern with medical education, especially as it related to the clinical problems of the day, as well as to those in public health and in sociology.

In the education phases of his work, the clinic which he directed at the Boston City Hospital was a model for the constructive coordination of teaching, investigation and the care of the sick.

In 1926, he presented to Harvard medical students a series of talks that reviewed the essentials of medical care in light of the new "scientific medicine" that was at that time exciting the world of academic medicine.

He emphasized the humanitarian needs of sick people and concluded that the essence of patient care is caring for the patient.

"The treatment of a disease must be completely impersonal; the treatment of a patient must be completely personal."

These attributes of a caring scientist are those that the Francis Weld Peabody Society desires to perpetuate.

Copyright 2010 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College