The medical humanities reveal not only that medicine and the humanities go hand in hand, but that they are actually indispensable to one another

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Kayla Zamanian

Kayla Zamanian (SFS’23)

What I always say about the medical humanities is that I wish I had found this field sooner. For the longest time, I felt pressured to choose between my gravitation towards history, literature, and philosophy and my curiosity about infection, disease, and the hard sciences. The medical humanities reveal not only that these interests go hand in hand, but that they are actually indispensable to one another. On a personal level, I cherish this field because it has given credence to the questions and misgivings that arose while my dearest family members struggled with health issues. Intellectually, I’ve found the medical humanities to be an illuminating space to examine the structures, systems, and social or cultural narratives that determine how we conceptualize illness, treat disease, and where we should start in making the world a more just and equitable place. Above all, what I find most meaningful about the medical humanities is that it’s an exercise in reflection, critical thinking, and empathy. For me, this field has been about building bridges—between disciplines, between personal and communal narratives, and between past and present.