The History of Medicine Unit was established on the 1st December 2000, the 175th anniversary of the foundation of the Medical School, to support and promote teaching and research in the History of Medicine and help develop the reputation in this field in one of the UK's major research universities.

As a result of the Unit's location, the staff and students are able to develop a high level of interaction with clinicians and medical scientists, which influences the design and execution of research strategies and the dissemination of research. The aim of the Unit, beyond its undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and research, is to raise the profile of the History of Medicine within the whole of the School, the University and also the community at large.

The Unit also brings together scholars not only within the School of Medicine, but also on a collaborative basis with other Schools of the University, especially the School of Historical Studies, but also the Schools of Dentistry, Education, Health Sciences and Humanities from differing academic backgrounds including Medieval and Modern History, Ancient History, Archaeology, Modern Languages, Nursing and Dentistry, as well as Medicine and Medical Science with a special emphasis on clinical history. On the establishment of the College of Medicine and Dental Sciences on 1 August 2008, which will encompass the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, the Unit will become part of the College’s School of Health and Population Sciences.