From Medical Education to Medical Controversies, Humanities Are Key, New Chair Says

By: Carolyn Kimmel
Submitted by: Michael Maury, UC-San Diego

At Penn State College of Medicine, Bernice Hausman is fortunate to be the Chair of the Department of Humanities. As she says, “Generally, medical schools may have one course in the humanities. Not many have an entire department.” And, perhaps more medical schools ought to consider growing their humanities in medicine programs. In this article, author Carolyn Kimmel reports on the importance of the humanities in medical education. She writes, “as Dr. Graig Hillemeir, Penn State College of Medicine dean, Penn State Health CEO and Penn State senior vice president for health affairs” puts it “Since its inception in 1967, the College of Medicine’s Department of Humanities has been a pioneering model for the importance of cultivating physicians who can bridge science with a sophisticated understanding of community, ethics and the whole person.” With our world transforming and ever-changing, it is important for our future doctors to be well versed in treating the whole person by connecting with their patients human to human. As Hausman states, “Doctors aren’t just dealing with biochemical pathways and biological diseases. They’re dealing with human beings who have lives, and they need to understand motivations and behaviors that are culturally based — linked to belief systems, traditions and social networks.” Classes in the humanities is a great way to cultivate such lessons in our medical students.

Read the full article in Penn State Health iNews here.

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