Human Ties Digest featured in Scoop

Cross-posted from Scoop

Humanities find new outlet in Human Ties Digest
Written by: Jonathan Garris, Office of Communications

The McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics launched its inaugural edition of Human Ties Digest, a publication that aims to foster the medical humanities and creativity, organized by second-year medical students Maggie O’Brien and Munir Buhaya, and Anson Koshy, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the McGovern Center.

The concept was originally born from a faculty meeting with Dean Barbara J. Stoll over a year ago, Koshy said. Stoll spoke about her concern of junior faculty burnout, and Koshy said it was an opportunity to create something that would help encourage well-being through the arts.

“I had been trying to think of the best way to share what’s happening at the Center while fostering creativity and the arts,” Koshy said. “We created this shared space where people can hopefully see what’s happening and to showcase the creativity of our students and faculty.”

Koshy said he was fortunate to have students excited to become a part of the digest. Buhaya had been referred to Koshy from Thomas Cole, PhD, the McGovern Chair in Medical Humanities and director of the McGovern Center. Buhaya had wanted to exercise his creativity and took the position of co-editor alongside O’Brien. O’Brien had worked on the Medical Humanities newsletter while in the undergraduate program at Baylor University.

“I wanted to make sure students have their own section and their creative output is highlighted,” Koshy said. “Everything else is essentially going to be submitted to me.”

Buhaya shared the same thoughts on the importance of having a creative avenue available for all students and wants to get students and faculty from all disciplines to share their work.

“Medical school is a fast-paced environment, and we’re always studying, but we want to let students know they can take a moment and reflect on what they’re going through,” Buhaya said.

O’Brien said she is happy to be involved with the digest and said it allows the Texas Medical Center at large to see and hear what’s being done on campus with regards to the medical humanities. There is potential it could also inspire other creatively-minded programs as Human Ties continues to grow.

“I think we have a lot of genuine talent at our school, and I think people already have that passion for the humanities inside themselves,” O’Brien said. “It’s an opportunity to give them an outlet to share that talent and passion with our community. The more spaces we have for creativity, the more we can grow interest in the humanities.”

The format of Human Ties allows it flexibility in what sort of creations can be featured. Photography, writing, and painting, is all accepted, Koshy said. Students, faculty, and staff across McGovern Medical School and the rest of UTHealth are encouraged to submit for the Spring 2019 edition. Koshy said he is aiming to have the digest publish bi-annually, with a fall and spring edition.

“In the spring, we are hoping to highlight some of the journal entries from the third-year clerkship,” Koshy said. “But we really want to highlight any kind of creative work someone may be doing and showcase how it relates to their career or work in medicine.”

To read the first issue of Human Ties Digest, visit here. For questions, or to submit content, email