Program in Medical Humanities

Students in the Medical Humanities Program study the social, cultural, ethical and historical dimensions of how physicians, patients and communities understand the lived experience of health and disease.

At Rice, we explore aspects of history and race and how the legacy of harm to underrepresented groups results in continued health disparities today. We examine the ways that social media, technologies like artificial intelligence, and big data analytics are changing how physicians and patients define and communicate about the meanings of health and disease. We look at how people think about where health care happens, what it looks like and the role that culture and environment play in it.

Our researchers and students examine how religion and spirituality shape our understanding of illness and healing, how people think about death and how they think about what kinds of care they would want at the end of their lives

Students in medical humanities have many opportunities to conduct research in the Texas Medical Center.

Medical Humanities Minor

The School of Humanities launched its medical humanities minor in 2016. Since then, the Medical Humanities Program has grown rapidly, bringing together researchers, scholars, artists and students from all parts of Rice to explore the human dimensions of health and illness.

Courses explore complex issues such as how we define the meaning of a “good life” in the face of illness, how data visualization shapes the ways that doctors see patterns of disease, or how ideas about contagion become imbued with complex social and cultural connotations and biases. We examine these questions through history, art, literature, anthropology and more, to gain a holistic understanding of the human practices that shape medicine today.

Students who minor in the medical humanities are prepared to navigate and lead in the development of a more humane, equitable and just health care system that provides benefits to all through ethical, culturally informed practices.

Learn more about the Program in Medical Humanities in the School of Humanities >