The Medical Humanities initiative was inaugurated in 2007-08 in partnership with the Warren Alpert Medical School and as one of the Medical School’s elective concentrations. The Scholarly Concentrations Program offers students the opportunity to pursue a course of study beyond that of the conventional medical education curriculum and translate personal interests and activities into scholarship. Students who participate in a Scholarly Concentration undertake rigorous independent scholarship in a cross-disciplinary field of interest related to medicine, public health, engineering, or a bio-medically relevant topic in the sciences, arts or humanities.
In its first year four second-year medical students participated in a year-long seminar on “Pain,” with a focus on literary, philosophical, aesthetic, and anthropological engagements with pain as a physiological, cultural, political, and representational challenge. Then Cogut Center Director Michael Steinberg convened the seminar with the participation of faculty colleagues Sherine Hamdy (Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Anthropology, Science Studies), Carol Poore (German Studies), Daniel Smith (Anthropology), and Arnold Weinstein (Comparative Literature).
In August 2008, David Washington '07, MD'11, a member of the 2008-2009 Medical Humanities cohort, traveled to Pilas, Spain, with Michael Steinberg and Devin Beecher ’08, to pursue an independent research project on “Music and Social Medicine” in the company of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra (WEDO) and their music director, Daniel Barenboim. Young members of the WEDO summer program in Pilas are pictured above.