Medical Humanities Capstones

Every year our graduating Medical Humanities minors complete a semester-long capstone project. There are few limits on the shape a capstone can take. Some projects take the form of an academic research paper, some engage with visual media, some focus on public outreach, some are works of poetry and fiction. Students work with the professor leading the capstone cohort and, as needed, with other Medical Humanities and Georgetown faculty to develop, carry out, and complete the crowning achievement of their Medical Humanities minor. We are delighted to share with you here some of our excellent capstones!

Alaina Anderson (SOH’24)

This capstone project surveys contraceptive and abortion print advertising in the United States from 1965 through 1974 across six different newspapers (3 general newspapers and 3 African American Newspapers). Themes identified across the two sets were compared including the type of service advertised, information included in the advertisement, and the length of the advertisement.

Urooj Ahmed (CAS’24)

This project aims to humanize the medical narratives emerging from war-affected Gaza by analyzing how news outlets portray personal narratives beyond statistics. Through a literature review and a series of three case studies ranging from October 2023 to April 2024, the project seeks to explore the impact of media representation on perceptions of healthcare necessities in war zones, ultimately aiming to counteract the dehumanization in coverage of the war on Gaza.

Ella Castanier (CAS’24)

My capstone was a historical research project that focused on the experiences of Black physicians and nurses in the United States during the 1918 influenza pandemic. I surveyed the existing literature on Black experiences during the influenza pandemic in the US and used newspaper and medical journal articles to foreground two new case studies— focusing on a Black-run hospitals in Philadelphia and Baltimore. I argued that the pandemic exacerbated frustrations with medical segregation while also providing temporary opportunities for change, which paralleled the experiences of Black veterans returning from WWI.

Sabreen Mohammed (SOH’24)

Addressing stigma in food insecurity starts with building a cohesive story about personal experiences, scholarly opinions, and facts about the food system. One person out of every three in the District of Columbia struggles with some type of food insecurity. Unlike many films, this documentary is aimed at combating preconceived notions about a lack of food to humanize those struggling. Learn about the volunteer system in food distribution within charities/organizations across the nation’s capital, experts in the field of social work, and people who seek food services.

Julie Nguyen (SOH’24)

My project delves into the ethical, moral, and philosophical dimensions of Medical Aid in Dying (MAID). By critically examining the use of the phrase “playing God,” specifically in context of revolutionary scientific discovery, I explore the responsibilities and boundaries of physicians in end-of-life care. The research highlights the importance of patient autonomy, arguing that the decision to pursue MAID should rest with the patient rather than the physician. The project highlights the complexity of suffering, which encompasses physical, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects, particularly in the context of terminal illness. In doing so, the patient is placed back at the center of focus. Additionally, the study addresses the ethical dilemmas faced by healthcare providers and the influence of social, familial, and medical advice on patient decisions. Overall, my project provides a comprehensive understanding of MAID, advocating for a patient-centered approach that respects individual choices and dignity at the end of life .