Urdang Medal

The George Urdang Medal

Originally established in 1952,  the George Urdang Medal honors Professor George Urdang (1882-1960), a pioneering historian of pharmacy in Germany and the United States, the founder of the first American graduate program in the history of pharmacy.

 The American Institute of the History of Pharmacy awards the George Urdang Medal to recognize the lifetime achievements of a person who, over a sustained period, has made important scholarly contributions to the field of the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals. The George Urdang Medal is awarded without regard to citizenship or nationality. 

 A competition for the George Urdang Medal shall be conducted biennially, in odd-numbered years. The Institute shall issue a public call for nominations and provide notice of such call to organizations and groups with an active interest in scholarship in the field of the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals. Nominations shall be submitted on a form established and published by the Institute. 

 The George Urdang Medal shall be presented at the International Congress for the History of Pharmacy or such other event or location as the Institute may determine. 

 Nominations for the George Urdang Medal shall be evaluated and judged by a panel comprised of the Institute’s Historical Director and four other distinguished historians of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals selected by the Historical Director and confirmed by AIHP’s Board of Directors. The panel of judges, by majority vote, may award the George Urdang Medal to one of the nominees. The panel has the discretion to conclude the competition without awarding the Medal. 

 Nominations for the award shall be evaluated on the basis of (i) the significance or importance of the nominee’s scholarly contributions to the field of the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals, (ii) the quality and quantity of the nominee’s published scholarly writings in the field of the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals, (iii) the span of time over which the nominee has made contributions to the field of the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals, and (iv) the nominee’s other contributions to the field of the history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals (such as exceptional service to professional organizations or publications or outstanding contributions to education). 

Nominations for the Urdang Medal: A nomination form and other instructions for nominations for the 2021 George Urdang Medal are forthcoming.

History of the Urdang Medal: Prior to 2021, the George Urdang Medal was awarded for an original and scholarly publication, or a single series of interrelated publications, appearing anywhere in the world and pertaining primarily to historical or historico-social aspects of pharmacy (including the history of the material medica). Evaluation was based on the competence of the research and on the skill of interpretation and presentation. The AIHP Board of Directors adopted the current protocol for the Urdang Medal in August 2020.

Previous Winners of the Urdang Medal

Brief Biography of George Urdang

George Urdang (second from right) with three graduate students, including future AIHP Director Glenn Sonnnedecker (left), c. 1951


The founding Director of the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy (1941-1957), George Urdang was instrumental in the establishment and the operation of the AIHP during its early years of existence. A pioneering historian of pharmacy in Germany and the United States, Urdang was responsible for the establishing the first American graduate program in the history of pharmacy after his appointment to the faculty at the University of Wisconsin in 1947. Writing in German and English, Urdang authored more than 20 books or pamphlets and hundreds of articles about the history of pharmacy.

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AIHP COVID-19 ProjectThe American Institute of the History of Pharmacy is documenting and preserving pharmacy stories and experiences during the COVID-19 global pandemic for the benefit of future historians and scholars. We seek to record the effects of this public health emergency on all types of pharmacy experiences. We invite you to share your pharmacy stories, photos, videos, artifacts, and other documentation of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.


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