Medical Humanities explores questions of value and meaning in and around medical thinking and practice. The course addresses the patient’s experience of illness; the social and cultural context of sickness and healing; the development of the medical profession and its relationship to society; the moral dimensions of the physician-patient relationship, and the conduct of biomedical research. In pursuing such topics we also seek to foster certain qualities of mind: critical abilities, flexibility of perspective, nondogmatism, empathy, and self-knowledge.
The themes mentioned above provide the main content of our teaching materials in “Medical Humanities.” More specifically, our teaching is intended to help students develop:
- an understanding of an empathy for the patient’s experience of illness;
- an appreciation for the influence of social and cultural contexts on the manifestation of disease, the experience of illness, and the delivery of health care; and
- a critical awareness of values and beliefs that shape the physician’s goals, motivations, and behaviors