Scholarly Concentration in Medical Humanities and Ethics

Scholarly Concentration in Medical Humanities and Ethics 

Concentration Directors

Jay Baruch, MD
University Emergency Medicine Foundation
Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University
55 Claverick Street, Suite 100
Providence, RI 02903
Ph: 401-444-5120
Email: [email protected]

Michael Felder, DO (Bioethics)
Assistant Director, Medical Ethics
Clinical Asst Professor of Medicine
Email: [email protected]

Overview

Science and technology provide us with the means to diagnose and treat the sick and injured, but they don't address the big, human questions that arise when patients face suffering and death or prepare us to examine our values, frailties, and capacity for compassion and tolerance.

The medical humanities provide tools for fostering critical thinking skills, encourages respect for different and differing opinions, nurtures passion and curiosity, and fosters cross disciplinary discourse. Through stories we tell ourselves and share with others, knowledge is constructed, experience is interpreted and we work towards shaping what we consider “right” and “good.”

The medical humanities is interdisciplinary, involves engaging with persons who possess different areas of expertise and different ways of understanding and making sense of the world. It serves as a lens through which one’s moral imagination can wrestle with complex and messy issues, and ultimately, come to a thoughtful response. Before reaching for answers, however, we must first learn how to ask the right questions.

For me, the medical humanities is creative, analytical, and fun. It doesn’t shy about from tough,  and messy issues, but embraces complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity.

The practice of medicine is a creative act. Students have taken on a range of projects in this scholarly concentration. These include narrative and creative projects, oral histories, curriculum development, academic papers, etc.

Biomedical ethics is, similarly, a multidisciplinary pursuit. Ethical dilemmas, sometimes defined as “genuine conflicts of moral belief, perspective, or position,” emerge in a range of fields from medicine to the humanities, technology, industry, policy and human rights.

Medicine is perhaps the most humane art and science. Its tasks of caring and healing focus first on the body but its goals of individual and collective well-being affect all aspects of physical, mental, and social life. The Medical Humanities and Ethics Scholarly Concentration encourages students to draw from broad, interdisciplinary approaches and resources to examine the field of medicine and the countless dilemmas which arise within it.

Some students may design a project that falls squarely within the auspices of either Medical Humanities or Ethics, or they may choose to create a project in the shared interspace of the two.

Expectations

●    Students enrolling in the medical ethics and medical humanities scholarly concentration enjoy the opportunity to pursue multiple avenues of scholarly and creative projects. 

●    Students who desire to focus more narrowly on either medical ethics or medical humanities should anticipate scheduled opportunities to discuss their projects in a group forum and to have conversations and interdisciplinary dialogues with their colleagues. We hope such an exchange will also serve as an incubator for new ideas and collaborations. 

●    Students will participate in periodic discussions regarding topics that will inform their own work as well as nourish their understanding of their fields. 

●    Students are required to complete a scholarly project, which can be satisfied by a ‘portfolio’--examples of portfolio work include academic papers, didactic presentations, curriculum development, community projects, creative work or research. Students are expected to submit reports of their work every six months to their faculty mentor. 

●    Students will benefit from the community of fellow ethics and humanities concentrators and directors, but their primary working relationship will be with their faculty mentors. The concentration directors will assist students in establishing this critically important relationship which will then be cultivated and sustained by the student and mentor.

Timeline of Activities

Year 1

Meet with scholarly concentration directors to discuss your interests and goals, develop a well-defined summer project, and identify a project faculty mentor. Draft your funding application for a summer research assistantship. You should begin to think about the shape of your scholarly portfolio over the next three years.

Year 2

Group conversations and discussions as noted above. Students will be expected to present their summer work as part of the seminar experience. Seminar for medical ethics will have a parallel track, led by medical ethics faculty, but we anticipate certain topics to be of general interest and explored as a group.

Years 3 & 4

We hope students will attend discussions and events should their schedule permit in MS3 and MS4.

By Spring of Year 3, you should meet with your project mentor or scholarly concentration directors to review the status of your portfolio in preparation for year 4.

Year 4, Take a teaching/leadership role in discussions and didactic activities. Give formal presentation on one part of your portfolio, which must include a publishable article, a formal presentation, performance, or a publicly available body of original work. We encourage students to help shape medical ethics and humanities curricula for the medical school.

The portfolio will be reviewed by the medical ethics and medical humanities core faculty, as well as by the student's faculty mentor.

You are invited to take advantage of all humanities lectures and opportunities at the medical school, Brown and RISD. There will also be lectures, visiting speakers, and opportunities to participate in medical humanities and medical ethics education.

 

Selected Scholarly Concentration Projects

Student

Project Title

Mentor

Liou, Kevin

Humanities as Medical Instruments: A Teaching Fellows Program

Drs. Jay Baruch, Christine Montross, and Arnold Weinstein

Grossman, Joseph

The Role of Broca’s Area in the Resolution of Competition: An fMRI Investigation

Sheila Blumstein, PhD

Amos, Emily

Physician in a Changing World

Dr. Jay Baruch

Brooks, Katie

Doctor Patient Communication with the Medically Underserved-The Ethics of Competent Care

Michael Barton-Laws

Butler, John

Developing and Articulating a Thomistic Medical Ethics

Dr. Michael Felder

Sanderson, Linnea

The Me Everybody Should Know – Narratives of Adolescent Health in Urban Communities

Jay Baruch, MD

Krishna, Gopika

Voices of Choice: An Oral History Project of Reproductive Health Providers

Dr. Joan Teno

Feingold-Link, Tamara

Inviting Patients to the Conversation: Poetry as a Portal to the Medical Record

Dr. Fred Schiffman

Chiu, Michelle

Pediatric Palliative Care: Examining Language and Empathy to Better Support Families

Angela Anderson, MD

Chambers, Tiffany

Wellness Quest: A Medical Student Wellness Program Inspired by Live-Action Gaming

Elizabeth Lowenhaupt, MD

Tsai, Jennifer

Rethinking Race in Medicine: A Case for Social Medicine

Lundy Braun

Matthew, Cia

A Literary Journey Through Fetal Complications in Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Life After

Jay Baruch, MD

Gorman, Megan

Transformation: A Needs Assessment Among Adolescent Cancer Survivors

Jennifer Welch, MD

Dean, Laura

Fried. Scrambled. Frozen? What Elective Egg Freezing Means for Reproductive Health

Dr. Eli Adashi

Sorscher, Ella

Caring for the “Ladies:” A Narrative of Mental Healthcare in Rural Alabama

Jay Baruch, MD

Fu, Emily

Preoperative Anxiety: An Anthology

Dr. Thomas Miner

Lacount, Amy

Secrets from the Salon: Untold Oral Histories of Nail Technicians in New York City

Debbie Weinstein

Rajan, Radhika

Bridging Gaps in Reproductive Health Care: Narratives of Birth and Abortion Doulas

Debbie Weinstein

Wong, Daniel

Art and the Medical Narrative

Jay Baruch, MD

Guzman, Jonathan

4.4%: Latino Physician Narratives in the US

Jay Baruch, MD; Theresa Ganz

 

Maximum Number of Students

We are flexible.