Program for the Medical Humanities

Changes in the availability, delivery, management, and payment of medical care are jarring the moral foundations of medicine. From new reproductive and genetic technologies challenging our notions of what life is and when it begins, to our newfound concern over what constitutes a good end-of-life, there is a need for interdisciplinary scholarly reflection, research, and teaching on the goals of medicine and the roles of physicians and other health professionals in the communities and societies of the 21st Century. The Program for the Medical Humanities seeks to fill that need.

Many questions about the emerging medical landscape have been considered from the burgeoning fields of medical ethics, health policy and health law. The Program extends, critiques, and suggests alternatives to these perspectives through the lens of the humanities, anthropology, and the social and behavioral sciences. The frameworks, traditions, and knowledge base of these disciplines provide a rich resource of innovative thinking about the past, present, and future relationship between medicine and society. The Program seeks to promote the integration of these disciplines into the education of physicians, other health care providers, and the community at large.

Specifically, the Program provides:

  • Opportunities for students and faculty to engage in interdisciplinary efforts to address questions and problems facing medicine in a multicultural society.
  • A regional forum for intellectual exchange and interdisciplinary research among scholars in medicine, the humanities, and social and behavioral sciences.
  • A means of engaging practicing health care professionals in this dialogue.
  • Interdisciplinary projects within the community, which increase public awareness of medicine’s ethical and policy dilemmas, and enhance public health.
Thomas Laqueur
(510) 642-2339
Mailing address

543 Stephens Hall #2350, Berkeley, CA 94720, 510-642-4581