Introduction to Medical Humanities

Medical humanities draws on many disciplines and fields—including history, literature, art history, media studies, philosophy, law, ethics, religion, theology, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and other arts and sciences—to study the context of medicine, the experience of medicine, the goals of medicine, and concepts in and of medicine. A common goal of medical humanities is to make clinicians, at all levels of the training, more “humane” or “compassionate.” Another common goal includes making clinicians more “well-rounded.” Still another goal includes promoting teaching and learning in medical humanities simply for its own sake. In this course, students will be introduced to a vast array of topics in medical humanities, which they can further pursue during their medical education with the McGovern Center, especially by means of the Medical Humanities Scholarly Concentration.

All first- and second-year students are invited to attend. First-year students interested in joining the concentration are encouraged to attend, and second-year students enrolled currently in the program are required to complete the course.

Note: This course will be held online in Canvas. Students will read and discuss Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. There are five discussions. To receive credit for a discussion, students must post 1 question to the group and respond to at least 2 posts made by fellow students.

Students may register by contacting Angela Polczynski.

Elective Syllabus

Fall 2020
Details Question Due Discussion Ends
Discussion 1
Introduction & Chapter 1 (pages 1-24)
August 21 August 27
Discussion 2
Chapters 2 & 3 (pages 25-78)
August 28 September 3
Discussion 3
Chapters 4 & 5 (pages 79-148)
September 25 October 1
Discussion 4
Chapters 6 & 7 (pages 149-230)
October 23 November 2
Discussion 5
Chapter 8 & Epilogue (pages 231-264)
November 6 November 12