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Who Are the Most Influential Physicians in History?

Laurie Scudder, DNP, NP


February 05, 2016

Attempting to compile a ranking of the most influential physicians throughout history was an ambitious, fascinating, and perilous undertaking that fueled animated discussions between Medscape editors and advisors. Influence is a tricky thing to gauge, after all, and depends entirely on one's viewpoint, background, specialty, experience, and region, just to name a few variables. And "history" is a rather long timeframe. Some questions we debated along the way: What constitutes influence? How do we measure it? How do we account for ethnic and gender centricity? How to weigh modern and ancient accomplishments? And the list goes on.

With all of that said, in our four-part series we endeavored to identify the giants of medicine who stand apart for the extent of their achievements and their impact on the development of medical practice.

How do you, our readers around the world, think we did? Who did we miss? Use the comments feature to make your own nominations and tell us why your nominee has earned the distinction of being included among history's greatest physicians.

We look forward to your feedback!


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