What is Medical Humanities?
Medical Humanities is an interdisciplinary field that re-centers health in its broader social, cultural, and historical context. Made up of diverse constituent disciplines (humanities, social sciences, and visual and performing arts), it is of increasing interest to both liberal arts and health campuses. The need for these perspectives has become more apparent than ever during our current global COVID-19 crisis. The Georgetown Medical Humanities Initiative, a cross-campus collaboration among Georgetown College, Georgetown Humanities Initiative, and Georgetown University Medical Center, is directed by Dr. Lakshmi Krishnan, who is a joint Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Medical Center and Affiliate Faculty in English in Georgetown College.
The Georgetown Medical Humanities Initiative strives to re-center health and healing in a broader social, cultural, and historical context. The Initiative offers interdisciplinary courses open to undergraduates, nursing/health studies, and medical students, an event series—including a past event on Angels in America and the HIV pandemic in collaboration with the Lab for Global Performance and Politics—and a research mentorship and fellowship program. This work aligns with Georgetown University’s core educational mission and Jesuit values of cura personalis; health practitioners cannot treat “the whole patient” without recognizing and valuing their humanity in its many facets. Furthermore, a unique strength of our program is its collaborative breadth: it engages faculty, students, and clinical trainees across the medical center and arts and sciences campus, which opens up opportunities for creative, transdisciplinary teaching, research, and collaboration.