Scholars and teachers who do work in this area have a variety of backgrounds and are presently housed in a number of departments or programs. Most of the folks who are actively writing and publishing and teaching are from Communication, technical and professional communication (housed in English departments or a growing number of writing departments or in some other places), composition studies, and some folks still align themselves with Literature. There are other places you can find scholars who do work that is markedly similar, such as linguistics, anthropology, information design, art (in a variety of forms), and sociology.
One of our founders, Barbara Heifferon, wrote a brief history of how the medical rhetoric interest group got its start. (Please credit Barbara if you use or cite.) Another important look at history comes from another founder, Judy Segal. Her TCQ article is a cogent summary of the status of research and adds another layer to our history.
From the communication side of the house, you can talk a look at the National Communication Association’s Health Communication Division, which provides a short history of health communication. Also, peruse through the editor’s introductions in Health Communication, because Teri Thompson has been instrumental in helping health communication.
(If you have a history of rhetorics of health and medicine that you would like to be included, please Contact us.)
As our “Forming a Community” homepage describes, we did have a moment in 2013 when a large group came together for the Discourses of Health and Medicine symposium. In years to come, that moment in time will be an important one in our collective history, and the most exciting thing is the history yet to be written.