Health Humanities is a rapidly growing, interdisciplinary field that applies humanistic perspectives to health and health care. The humanities (cultural and language studies, history, literature, philosophy, theology and religious studies, and the arts) are indispensable to humane health care because they teach us about the human condition, about human suffering and healing, and about human well-being and flourishing. The Health Humanities Program emphasizes the study of human dignity, human values, and health care ethics (bioethics). The program employs holistic and integrated understandings of what it means to be human, in contrast to what has been called "biomedical reductionism." Human beings cannot be reduced to biochemical processes but are complex wholes of body, mind, and soul. Humane health care depends on that recognition: on seeing patients as whole persons. Students who successfully complete a Health Humanities major or minor, along with required science courses outside the program, will be well-prepared for admission to medical school, to Physician Assistant programs, and to other health science graduate programs. The program is also ideal for students who have an interest in law school, in earning a graduate degree in public health, or in pursuing an administrative career in health care.
The Health Humanities Department offers these programs: