Course Descriptions

This Medical and Health Humanities curriculum has been made possible in part by a Humanities Connections Implementation Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

National Endowment for the Humanities

Medical & Health Humanities curriculum

 

MHH Core (24 credits)

BIO 211: Anatomy & Physiology I
BIO 212: Anatomy & Physiology II
MHH 201: Introduction to Medical and Health Humanities
MHH 301: Narrative Medicine
MHH 460: Fieldwork OR MHH 465: Internship
MHH 450: Senior Thesis
PHL 310: Medical Ethics

4
4
4
3
3
3
3

Humanities and Medicine (6 credits)

ENG 305: Literature and Medicine
HIS 342: History of Medicine and Health
PHL 315: Philosophy of Medicine

3
3
3

Critical Health Studies (6 credits)

MHH 310: Health Disparities
MHH 312: Health and Human Rights
MHH 314: Environmental Health
MHH 316: Race, Gender, and Health

3
3
3
3

Global Health Studies (3 credits)

MHH 330: Global Health Populations
MHH 332: Medical Geography
MHH 334: Modern Epidemics and Pandemics

3
3
3

MHH Electives (9 credits). At least two courses must be at the 300+ level

ADC 340A: Chemical Addictions and Dependency
ENG 225: Disability in Literature
FA 213: Themes in Medical Humanities
FA 361: Music and the Mind
FA 374: Anatomical Drawing
HIS 165: The History of Human Rights
HP 220: American Sign Language
MHH 385: Special Topics in Medical and Health Humanities
MHH 380: Independent Study
PHL 202: Environmental Philosophy
PHL 210: Philosophy of Person
POL 330: Urban Policy: Disadvantaged Youth
POL 404: US Health Care Policy
PSY 277: Adult Development and Aging
PSY 307: Health Psychology
PSY 310: Gender Studies
RLS 117: Christian Health Care Ethics
RLS 215: Death and Dying
SWK 320: Trauma and Resiliency
 

Students may take additional courses from the Humanities and Medicine, Critical Health Studies, and/or Global Health banks if they are not taken as a required course.

Note: Students may count an elective course toward both the major and core curriculum requirements.

Required Course Descriptions

BIO 211/BIO 212: Anatomy and Physiology I and I
Involve detailed study of the structure and same function of the human body. Emphasis on physiology phenomena and concepts. Lecture: 3 hours. Laboratory: 2 hours. Prereq: BIO 211 for BIO 212,or permission from instructor

MHH 201: Introduction to Medical and Health Humanities
Introduction to Medical and Health Humanities introduces students to primary concepts and issues within the field of Medical and Health Humanities. Students will look at concepts of health and illness, as viewed from the perspective of the patient, the practitioner, and the public, and through the lens of humanistic study including history, philosophy, religion, literature, and the arts. Students will be exposed to a broad understanding of how different disciplines approach issues in the medical and health fields, including concepts regarding patient autonomy, human dignity, and justice.

MHH 301: Narrative Medicine
This course uses a narrative approach to explore the relationship between health, healing and social justice. Assessing how all forms of discrimination are linked to health status provides students with a fundamental understanding of the connection between economic status, political power, social rights, opportunities and social justice. The narrative approach gives voice to the vulnerable and disadvantaged and encourages an understanding and articulation of the human dimension in health care. Narrative practice is concerned with issues of trauma, body, and inter-subjectivity. This course examines the interconnectedness of social identity and the larger social, political, and cultural realities by combining theoretical articles and illness narratives. The challenge is how to honor the illness narratives and transform the stories of injustice and discrimination into stories of health, healing and social justice. Prereq: MHH 201

MHH 460: Fieldwork
Students will be exposed to team-based medicine and the application of medical and health humanities concepts in an on-site observation rotation at a local hospital. Students will participate in an observation rotation in an approved division and attend ethics meetings. Placements will be made at the program director’s discretion. Note: a small insurance fee will be assessed.

MHH 465: Internship
Students will be exposed to medical and health humanities practices and apply academic knowledge to work experience at a medical or health organization, nonprofit, or government organization. Placements will be made at the program director’s discretion.

MHH 450: Senior Thesis
Students will write an independently-chosen critical thesis under the careful supervision of a faculty member teaching in the MHH program. Students will master all the phases of the research process, including the gathering of research from traditional and electronic bibliographical sources, standard systems of bibliographical citation, and organization of a developed and original argument. Must be taken if MHH 4xx: Senior Seminar is not chosen. Prereq: MHH 201; Senior status in the major

PHL 310: Medical Ethics
Explores the ethical questions related to modern science and the health professions. Topics such as abortion, human experimentation, genetic engineering, patient-rights, and the delivery of health care are analyzed. Prereq: PHL 100

ENG 305: Literature and Medicine
Explores the intersection between literature and medicine in three key arenas: the patient, the practitioner, and the public. The course focuses on issues of social justice and human dignity and considers how literature represents, engages with, and challenges medical language, narrative, and diagnosis. Prereq: ENG core

HIS 342: History of Medicine and Health
Provides an overview of developments in Western medical science and health care from antiquity to the present. Themes covered include: the evolution and transmission of medical knowledge, the impact of epidemic disease, the patient experience, and role of the practitioner in society. Students in History of Medicine and Health will explore the links between medicine and health and their cultural, social, political, and intellectual contexts. Prereq: HIS core

PHL 315: Philosophy of Medicine
Examines the philosophical foundations of various models of the practice of medicine, focusing on philosophical conceptions of human health and well-being. The emphasis of the course is on understanding medicine within a human and humane context. This approach is occasioned by the prevalence of what is known as the biomedical model, a model that sees the human being primarily as a biological manifestation, emphasizing cure over care and healing. This course examines the epistemological, metaphysical, social and ethical frameworks of this model as set against a variety of alternative humanistic models and their respective philosophical underpinnings, from the biopsychosocial model to the narrative model. Prereq: PHL 100

MHH 310: Health Disparities
Students will critically examine health disparities between and within nations, using the United States as a case study. Using sociological texts alongside literary works, students will explore gaps in health outcomes as they relate to race/ethnicity, social class, gender, disability, nationality, and migration and immigration status. Determinants of health as defined by the World Health Organization will provide students with a foundation for a better understanding of the systems that shape and influence the conditions of daily life.

MHH 312: Health and Human Rights
Students will explore issues that arise at the intersection of health care and human rights. The provision and protection of basic human rights is the surest way to improve the overall health of vulnerable populations. Public health problems such as infant mortality, widespread preventable illness, and malnutrition frequently occur among people who suffer from violations of their basic human rights. Human rights establish basic standards for the provision of health care and ethical norms for the treatment of patients. Topics include: human rights and public health, informed consent, and access to health care for vulnerable persons.

MHH 314: Environmental Health
Focusing on both domestic and global environmental health, students will examine biological, socio-economic, and cultural issues in the intersection between environmental factors and human health. Through analyses of case studies and literary depictions of environmental factors in cultural products, disease causation, and public health, students will evaluate how different individuals and communities engage with the challenges of environmental health concerns ranging from microbial and chemical contamination of water and air to industrialization and unplanned urbanization.

MHH 316: Race, Gender, and Health
Using a biopsychosocial model of health, students will explore constructions of, and relationships between, race and gender and how such constructions have shaped health care and health policies. Students will examine the historical foundations of race and gender (including national politics about slavery and race, eugenics policies and practices, nineteenth-century gynecology, mental health, sexuality, and gender identity), evaluating how these foundations have impacted contemporary health care.

MHH 330: Global Health Populations
Students will consider health care practices in a global setting and with an eye towards social, political and economic impacts and through the lens of inter-relational health. Using a transdisciplinary perspective, students will examine various global populations, in particular those populations in under-resourced regions, in light of their health care needs – both communal and individual – national health policies, the impact on national and international communities, and the role of cultural memory.

MHH 332: Medical Geography
This course will introduce students to methodological and theoretical concerns of geography and how they can be applied to the study of health and health care. Students will examine how our natural and built environments impact our health and access to health care and the spatial dimension of national and global health disparities. Students will evaluate how Geographic Information Systems are used to address the concerns of health professionals.

MHH 334: Modern Epidemics and Pandemics
Students will focus on the cultural, economic, and political impact of epidemics and pandemics in the modern period by exploring specific outbreaks, including (but not limited to) the Plague, the nineteenth-century cholera epidemic, the 1918 influenza pandemic, and HIV/AIDS. These case studies will help students understand epidemics and pandemics in relation to trade, health and economic policies, and public perceptions in both their historical contexts and comparatively.

Elective Course Descriptions

ADC 340A/SWK 340A: Chemical Additions and Dependency
An introduction to the diagnosis and treatment of alcoholism. Emphasis is placed on contemporary beliefs and attitudes toward alcohol, effects upon the family and implications for treatment.

ENG 225: Disability in Literature
Designed to explore literary texts and films from across the globe that address disabilities of various kinds (physical, mental, social). Some of the questions we shall consider include: how has the definition of “disability” shifted in recent years? What, then, is “normal”? Is the very term “disability” problematic? How does disability further impact other social constructs such as race, gender and socio-economic status? In order to investigate these issues, we shall begin the course with the lexicon of disability and subsequently approach texts from the following perspectives: patient perspective; family perspective; disability due to trauma (including war/political strife); and resiliency and self-efficacy

FA 213: Themes in Medical Humanities
An interdisciplinary field that attempts to explore, and provide insight into: the human condition, personal identity, ethical and moral responsibilities, as well as individual and collective rights related to personhood. This will be observed, analyzed and applied through the specific lens of the Fine Arts, and how the various disciplines within it are synthesized with medicine and healthcare.

FA 361: Music and the Mind
Explores the cognitive foundations of music through the intersection of psychology and music. We will examine the full range of physical, psychophysical, and cognitive mechanisms that lead to musical experience. This survey begins with the physics of musical instruments and the physical qualities of musical pitch. Key topics include: the psychophysics of hearing; perceptual organization; memory; and biological responses to music. Finally, we examine the structures in working memory that allow individual pitch events to be organized into musical expressions. Along the way, we will look at the general principles that govern the structure of music and the ways in which music psychology influences our health and society. Prereq: FA 203 or FA 204.

FA 374: Anatomical Drawing
Students will learn to master the shapes and lines of the body, including muscles and bone structure. Movement, shape, speed line and mass will be reviewed and incorporated into the work in an attempt to redefine the human body as a much-needed subject of art making. Students will be required to participate actively in conceptualization and aesthetic critiques as well as discussions on technical issues. The class intends to create in the students a mature aesthetic vocabulary. Readings and other resources of study will be distributed, which will help foster a critical mind as well as a resource of intellectual, art making. Prereq: FA 103

GER 277/PSY 277: Adult Development and Aging
This course will provide an overview of adult development from early adulthood through death and will focus on both normative changes and individual differences. Topics to be discussed include: biological changes, changes in health and health habits, cognitive and intellectual changes, sex roles and family roles, work and work roles, development of relationships, changes in personality and motives, mental health and psychopathology, and death and dying. Developmental theories, models, and research methods will also be discussed. Prereq: PSY 123

HIS 165: The History of Human Rights
A study of the origin and development of the idea of human rights from the Enlightenment to the present with emphasis on the French Revolution, feminism, liberalism, decolonization, and contemporary human rights issues.

HP 220: American Sign Language
Designed to introduce the basic skills of American Sign Language (ASL) to enhance communication with the deaf community. Students will develop skills in both implementing and interpreting the ASL alphabet, basic signs, vocabulary and components of grammar.

MHH 385: Special Topics in Medical and Health Humanities
An intensive study of an issue or topic in Medical and Health Humanities. Topics determined by the instructor. Can be taught twice as the same theme. Prereq: MHH 201

MHH 380: Independent Study
A special investigate of a selected issue in Medical and Health Humanities, as determined by the student and director of the independent study. Prereq: MHH 201; MHH majors only.

PHL 202: Environmental Philosophy
A survey of the fundamental principles and traditions underlying what we call today “environmental philosophy.” Students will explore the roots of our contemporary ideas about nature and ecology, animal rights, whether or not nature has intrinsic or merely instrumental value, ecofeminism, “deep” ecology, non-western perspectives on the environment, population, hunger, global warming and the Gaia theory that the planet is a living organism. Prereq: PHL 100

PHL 210: Philosophy of Person
A dominantly phenomenological approach to analyzing the existential structures that constitute a person. Exploration of the possibilities for personal growth and evaluation of the various social forces that limit these possibilities. Prereq: PHL 100

PSY 310: Gender Studies
Gender studies on gender issues from the perspective of different disciplines. Specific topics may include: biological, social, and cultural determinants of gender differences, gender roles in the family, philosophical views of men and women, gender in the classroom, gender issues in the workplace, gender issues in the health professions, and men, women and power. Prereq: PSY 123

RLS 117: Christian Health Care Ethics
Christian Health Care Ethics will examine health care ethics primarily within a Christian theological context. The course will cover the role of ethics in health care and the process of moral decision making in a health care setting. This includes analysis of a variety of moral problems and dilemmas in health care, including but not limited to abortion, critical care at the beginning and end of life, reproductive technology, research issues, and the health care system itself.

RLS 215: Death and Dying
Provides an overview of the topics of death and dying. Specifically, in this course students will examine the topic of death as a universal for cross-cultural analysis and as a site of contested meaning in American society. Among the themes dealt with in this course are the beliefs regarding death held by the world's major religions, the death rituals of representative global societies, the evolution of attitudes toward death and the afterlife in western society, the process of grieving, ethical concerns surrounding the topics of death and dying, and the manner in which hospitals shape the end of life.

SWK 320: Trauma and Resiliency
Trauma and Resiliency presents the development of trauma theory and resiliency perspectives within the field of social work. The approach to the provision of social work practice to address Post Traumatic and other traumatic sequelae of clients is based upon most current principles of trauma theory. This course is an introduction to these concepts and is not intended to be used as a treatment course.

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