Medical Humanities Initiative

Director: Dr. Douglas Haynes
Initiative Funding Period: June 2014 – June 2017

The Problem: Health care resources need to benefit a regional population that is currently more ethnically and racially diverse, economically divided, and stratified by age than ever before. Addressing this new community requires us to promote a health-care model that is culturally sensitive, focused on the individual, and still responsive to the larger community.

The Medical Humanities Initiative is remarkable for its unprecedented collaboration among faculty from three very different schools—Arts, Humanities, and Medicine—who are reimagining health and well-being.

Future Plans

Medical Humanities Initiative members plan to establish a campus Institute for Medical Humanities, building on their current model of interdisciplinary research, creative activity, and public engagement. The Institute will foster communication and dialogue among faculty, students, and the community. In addition, the Institute will contribute to the development of the medical humanities through three distinct areas.

  1. Clinical Humanities: The Institute will aim to highlight the clinical potential of the humanities and arts for healthcare practitioners. It will also offer humanities and arts scholars new opportunities for academic investigation on medicine and health topics.
  2. Bioethics: Today’s rapid and advancements in biomedical technologies are often controversial or have far-reaching implications. Scholars across disciplines can work to ensure that new technology truly serves the needs of both individual patients and the common good.
  3. Well-Being through the Arts: While performance and visual art have been shown to have therapeutic potential, there are limited opportunities for scholars to formally research the potential for painting, drama, dance, and other art forms to aid in human health. The Institute would provide necessary support for medicine/arts research and education.