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, our researchers and students examine how religion shapes people’s understanding of illness, how people think about death and how they think about what kinds of care they would want at the end of their lives.

We explore aspects of history and race and how the legacy of harm to underrepresented groups results in continued health disparities today. We look at the ways that social media, technologies like artificial intelligence, and big data analytics are changing how physicians and patients relate to and communicate with one another. We look at how this influences not just physician-patient communication, but also how people think about where health care happens, what it looks like and the role that human beings play in it.

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

Medical Humanities Minor

The School of Humanities launched its medical humanities minor in 2016. With support from the Humanities Research Center, 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 health and 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 dimensions of health and disease.

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 >