Considering Funding Part IV: The AMS

In Funding, History of medicine by Kate Walker0 Comments

Associated Medical Services Inc. (AMS) is a Canadian charitable organization. The AMS supports “the history of medicine and healthcare, health professional education, compassionate care and bioethics.” The AMS was a long-time supporter of medical history. Established by Dr. Jason Hannah in 1936 as a prepaid not-for-profit health care organization in Ontario and incorporated a year later, the AMS acted as a health care provider until 1969, at which point the province of Ontario joined national Medicare. Following this change, the AMS redirected its reserves to charitable activities.

In 1974, the AMS formed the Hannah Institute for the History of Medicine.[1] At the same time, the AMS signed joint agreements with the five existing Ontario medical faculties to establish Chairs at each university.[2]

The AMS also supports the Hannah Summer Studentship program, which are administered in conjunction with the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine and provide undergraduate students with a stipend of up to $5,500 to pursue research in the history of health and medicine over a period of three months.

AMS support for the history of medicine came to include the Hannah Junior General Scholarships, for students entering a Ph.D. program, and the Hannah Senior General Scholarships, for students who had already completed the first year of doctoral studies. In addition, the AMS funded two-year postdoctoral fellowships in the history of medicine. However, prior to the 2009-10 funding cycle, the AMS made the following announcement, writing that after “both an internal and external review, and in light of changing sources of funding available to graduate students, AMS will be suspending its doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships for 2009 – 2010.” The announcement noted that the “AMS continues to support history of medicine as a core programme. However, it wishes to expand this focus to a more interdisciplinary/interprofessional approach and include the history of health care and health services more generally.” Along with the suspension of the doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships, the AMS also discontinued its publication support, development grants, and conference grant while maintaining support for the Hannah Chairs and the Hannah Summer Studentship program.

Unfortunately for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, the withdrawal of support for the 2009-10 funding cycle coincided with SSHRC’s 2009 decision to reduce funding for CIHR-eligible research, which meant that doctoral and post-doctoral fellows in the history of health lost two sources of support in quick succession.

In 2015, the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine announced a three-year funding agreement with the AMS, which included: a renewal of its commitment to the AMS Summer Studentships; 8 grants of $1,000 each to fund the costs of graduate student attendance and presentation at CSHM meetings; a $15,000 per year grant for the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History; a grant of $2,000 for the CSHM website; and the renewal of the AMS Patterson Lecture at the CSHM.

The AMS also announced that they had created the AMS History of Medicine and Healthcare Post-Doctoral Fellowship and Grant Program, which is hosted by the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF). The Fellowship program provides a maximum $45,000 research stipend and a $2,500 research and travel allowance for “emerging scholars to complete work already started on projects related to the history of health care, disease and/or medicine or the history of the education of health professionals, or to begin a new project in the field.” The Grant Program is for health professionals, researchers with academic appointments, and employees of professional organizations who are engaging in “small budget proposals on projects in history of healthcare/disease/medicine with special interest in, but not limited to Canadian history of healthcare/disease/medicine.”

These 2015 announcements are encouraging and represent real support for the history of health in Canada. The AMS is once again a funding source for undergraduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and career researchers, as well as providing some limited assistance for graduate students in the form the mobility grants for conference attendance.

[1] Jacalyn Duffin and Paul Potter, “History of the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine,” (2000), 3,

[2] Jennifer Kwan, “A Queen’s Legacy,” Queen’s Medical Review 6.2 (April 2013), <>.

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