Medical humanities

Medical humanities

Medical humanities is an interdisciplinary field of medicine which includes the humanities (literature, philosophy, ethics, history and religion), social science (anthropology, cultural studies, psychology, sociology), and the arts (literature, theater, film, and visual arts) and their application to medical education and practice.[1] Medical humanities is also defined as an interdisciplinary,and increasingly international endeavor that draws on the creative and intellectual strengths of diverse disciplines,including literature, art, creative writing, drama, film,music, philosophy, ethical decision making, anthropology,and history, in pursuit of medical educational goals.[2] There is still no consensus on a common definition and this exciting field continues to grow and evolve.

The humanities and arts provide insight into the human condition, suffering, personhood, our responsibility to each other, and offer a historical perspective on medical practice. Attention to literature and the arts helps to develop and nurture skills of observation, analysis, empathy, and self-reflection -- skills that are essential for humane medical care. The social sciences help us to understand how bioscience and medicine take place within cultural and social contexts and how culture interacts with the individual experience of illness and the way medicine is practiced.

Cinemeducation, from the title of a text by Matthew Alexander, Anna Pavlov, and Patricia Lenahan, refers to the use of film in medical education.


  1. ^ Aull, Felice. "Medical Humanities". Medical Humanities Community. New York University School of Medicine. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  2. ^ Kirklin, D (2003 Oct). "The Centre for Medical Humanities, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, England.". Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 78 (10): 1048–53. PMID 14534108. 

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