In 2015, the McGovern Center joined forces with the UTHealth School of Dentistry to offer a Clinical Humanities Certificate Program—the first of its kind in any United States dental school.

The Clinical Humanities Certificate Program at the School of Dentistry encompasses all four years of dental school training, with structured programs and learning opportunities that allow students to reflect, share, and work together to enhance their individual and collective capacities to see and care for the patient. Students completing this program have their certificates conferred at a banquet in May each year. They also receive recognition at the School of Dentistry Senior Awards Banquet and special designation at graduation as a John P. McGovern Humanities Scholar.

The Clinical Humanities Certificate Program enables students to enrich their humanities education through participation in elective courses, lecture series, volunteer opportunities, writing workshops, and production of an original scholarly work.

Program Brochure (including application)

Program Goals

  • To enhance the traditional dental curriculum, given that dentistry to both an art and a science.
  • To explore health care through the lenses of history, ethics, law, literature, religion and spirituality, social science, cultural studies, and the arts by providing students with insight into the human condition and a patient-centered approach to health care.
  • To enhance students’ abilities to cultivate that most important instrument of healing—their individual selves
  • To assist students in becoming culturally competent, ethical, and compassionate caregivers.

Good Academic Standing Requirement

The student must maintain good academic standing in all courses to remain in the Clinical Humanities Certificate Program.

Make-up Credit

Requirements for each academic year must be complete by the end of the academic year. In the event a student is unable to meet the stated program requirements, make-up credit may be obtained for each event missed by successfully completing a make-up assignment. To replace a missing event, students must complete a two-page, single-spaced paper (1,000 words) on an assigned reading; the assigned reading will relate to the missed event. The deadline for make-up work is one month after notification of the deficiency

Completion of the Program

The student must submit a report to the co-directors, indicating how they have met the requirements of the certificate program, by the last day of Spring Break week in the year of graduation. No student may receive the certificate without the approval of the co-directors, and the co-directors retain the discretion to drop a student from the Certificate Program for failure to comply with any of the requirements or for other good cause. The co-directors shall also have authority to modify, waive, or reconfigure the program requirements, where necessary, to promote equity and fairness in the event of unforeseen complications or exigent circumstances.