Institute for the Humanities

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events from 05/01/2018 to 05/31/2018.

Workshop:"Stories of Illness: Building Health Humanities Cases for Medical Training"

May 3, 2018

“Stories of Illness: Building Health Humanities Cases for Medical Training” will engage invited health humanities experts and UIC faculty in charting a new frontier for health humanities education in medical school. Health Humanities, also known as Medical Humanities, is an interdisciplinary field of humanities, the arts, and qualitative social sciences that deals with humanities content and applies each discipline’s methods and concerns to health professions education and healthcare practice.
Medical training is largely based on case studies that primarily address the clinical, biomedical aspects of a patient’s medical issue. Intended to assess students’ clinical reasoning skills, these fictitious cases center around a specific disease or symptom and therefore tend to gloss over the complexity of patients’ illness experiences. As a result, they fail to prepare students for the complicated, often messy dilemmas patients bring to clinical encounters.
Our project starts with the premise that case-based medical education needs to be more humanities driven and therefore deliberately tied to the contextual, ethical, and affective aspects of illness experiences, a process that demands a critical examination of storytelling itself. We expect humanities perspectives will be more attuned to the complex interplay of bodies, history, and culture that inform patients’ experiences of healthcare, to the different ways that health and illness generate meaning in patients’ lives, and ultimately to the ambiguity that practicing medicine entails. We want to lay the foundation for reinventing the “case” by purposefully structuring it around a social theme, rather than a disease, and by starting with a first-person patient story that will act as the springboard from which all scholarly analysis follows. Here the case consists of the story paired with humanities scholarship (of one or more disciplinary perspectives) that unpacks and situates the wider social, political and cultural forces the story depicts.

Presentations by:
Ellen Amster, Department of History at McMaster University
Gretchen Case, Department of Internal Medicine, Medical Ethics and Humanities, University of Utah School of Medicine
Rebecca Garden, Center for Bioethics and Humanities at Upstate Medical University, Syracuse


Lower level SH Stevenson Hall




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Institute for the Humanities


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