Humanities in Medicine

The Humanities in Medicine Project is devoted to the advancement of a “person-centered” vision of health care, in which the goals of health care include the promotion of health, the prevention of illness, rehabilitation, recovery, and the treatment of disease.

Our world is pluralistic and diverse, and includes our own personal integrity; our relationships with each other; special relationships to family, people and culture; our relationship to surrounding environment; and our relationship to that which encompasses all of us. Within these contexts, physicians and other health-care providers make their daily rounds, practice their vocations, perform research, advance knowledge, and go about their own lives.

Medicine is a venture that is both humanistic and scientific. Furthermore, as characterized by Edmund Pellegrino, it is perhaps the most human of the sciences and the most scientific of the humanities. But how do we comprehend this and how do we live this out? Do we agree or disagree? Indeed, what IS a “healthy,” or for that matter, a “sick” human being? Perhaps obvious at times, at other times this is certainly not so. And how, precisely, do science and humanism co-mingle in medicine?

Our blog, http://www.humanitiesinmedicine.org, will devote itself to these and related questions. In approaching them, we will operate as a polylogue, or pluralogue. We seek discussion, new points of view, agreement and disagreement. Our blog intends to invite, admit, and encourage a broad and diverse array of viewpoints and opinions. Your voice and mine, and yours too!

Throughout, our vision is inspired by the philosophy of Karl Jaspers (psychiatrist, psychologist, and philosopher) and the sociology of Peter Berger. We welcome your insights, comments and criticisms.

Our project is supported by a generous grant from Robert J Barnhart.

Michael Schwartz, M.D.,
Joint Professor of Humanities in Medicine;
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry;
Texas A&M University Health Science Center, Round Rock, Texas, USA