Not Your Father’s Medical Humanities

This is an important (and brief and accessible) statement urging the use of a wider health humanities gaze. It helps that is was co-written by two of my favorite women within health humanities in the United States. Yes and yes!

Reflective MedEd

By Delese Wear & Therese Jones

No one would argue that the definitions of “health” and “medicine” are different.  However,  when some of us began to urge a change regarding those words as modifiers—as in medical humanities being replaced by health humanities—there have been varied responses:  from expressions of puzzlement to charges of academic nitpicking.

Words matter—an assertion often glossed over in academic medicine.  For example, consider the thousands of words written about the important differences between “compliance” and “adherence” (though compliance is still commonly used) as well as an equally large number on the effects of derogatory labels of patients (many of those also still said and heard).  Moreover, the sloppy, varied, and ubiquitous use of educational trends labeled as “professionalism,” “reflection,” and “competencies” has made significant pedagogical deployment and evaluation of them almost meaningless in medical education…

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