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Medical Humanities
An Introduction

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Thomas Cole, Benjamin Saxton, Ronald Carson, Nathan Carlin, William Howze
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  • Date Published: October 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107614178
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About the Authors
  • This textbook brings the humanities to students in order to evoke the humanity of students. It helps to form individuals who take charge of their own minds, who are free from narrow and unreflective forms of thought, and who act compassionately in their public and professional worlds. Using concepts and methods of the humanities, the book addresses undergraduate and premed students, medical students, and students in other health professions, as well as physicians and other healthcare practitioners. It encourages them to consider the ethical and existential issues related to the experience of disease, care of the dying, health policy, religion and health, and medical technology. Case studies, images, questions for discussion, and role-playing exercises help readers to engage in the practical, interpretive, and analytical aspects of the material, developing skills for critical thinking as well as compassionate care.

    • History, literature and the arts, philosophy, and religious studies are used to enhance understanding of ethical and existential issues relating to topics such as the experience of disease, care of the dying, justice and health policy, religion and health, and medical technology
    • Case studies, primary sources, and images engage students more actively in the practical, interpretive, or analytical aspects of the materials
    • Exercises (including questions for discussion, role playing, and suggested writing exercises) encourage critical thinking and character formation, and further resources (including suggested reading and viewing) are included, and lists of relevant journals and organizations are noted
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "This book is essential to any medical program that endeavors to develop the physicians of tomorrow in today’s complex social, cultural, ethical and political world. It combines a clear introduction to the roles of the humanities in medical education with the detail required for an indispensable source book for teachers and students alike. Medical humanities, as an educational pursuit, has waited a long time for this textbook and who better to write it than three such distinguished originators and advocates of the field."
    Jane Macnaugton, Durham University

    "Rarely has the phrase 'it’s about time’ been more appropriate in medical education than with the publication of Medical Humanities. Its coverage is extraordinary. Crisply written, melding originality and synthesis into a tight, fascinating narrative, it fills an enormous gap in our curriculum. I can’t wait to use it."
    David Oshinsky, Director, Division of Medical Humanities, New York University Medical College, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History for Polio: An American Story

    "Leaders in the field of medical humanities, the authors of this comprehensive and long-overdue textbook bring their collective experience in developing programs, designing curricula, working with students and producing important scholarship to the project. They have provided an essential resource and invaluable tool for teachers in any and all settings: from pre-med classrooms to postgraduate seminars."
    Therese Jones, Director, Arts and Humanities in Healthcare Program, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

    "Medical Humanities is a wonderful text, a brilliant tour de force by three individuals who had much to do with the creation of this discipline. The subject of humanities as it pertains to medicine is now systematically taught in many medical schools; I can see this work would be a great asset to students as well as those who teach the subject. This volume will find a prized place on my shelf."
    Abraham Verghese, Stanford University; Founding Director of the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics, San Antonio; and author of Cutting for Stone

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    Customer reviews

    10th Feb 2016 by Samuel201

    As a longtime student of literature, writing, and philosophical ideas, this illuminating book brings together fact, history, thought, provocation, hypotheses, truth, and intrigue. It is craftily written and poses scenarios requiring careful attention and dissection. Given the importance of ethics in medicine, the design, analysis, and the study of policy, research, integrity, and uncertainty in this comprehensive volume is both resourceful and enthralling. As a layperson, I learned much from this book, and it emphasizes my commitment to emit as well as require a moral fortitude and sense of empathy for myself and those caring for me. I truly believe this collaboration will assist budding care-takers on all levels to demonstrate a stronger sense of comprehension and compassion. This is a must-read for a vast group, from the college student interested in the humanities to the seasoned medical educator or conscientious physician inclined to delve deeper into the interpretations of the medical humanities.

    18th Feb 2016 by CPowers

    What an inspiration to learn about medicine in this book through not only accounts of who created/discovered the science and how it is practiced today but through narratives from those the field serves, those who practice the profession, and those - the community - affected by the field. As a researcher and practitioner in the field of health law, I hope many medical students, their professors, and their clinical and administrative team members in practice read and work with this book's many excellent insights arising from careful readings of these narratives as I did and continue to.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107614178
    • length: 464 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 177 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.85kg
    • contains: 24 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. History and Medicine:
    1. The doctor-patient relationship Thomas Cole and Benjamin Saxton
    2. Constructing disease Thomas Cole and Benjamin Saxton
    3. Educating doctors Thomas Cole and Benjamin Saxton
    4. Technology and medicine Thomas Cole and Benjamin Saxton
    5. The health of populations Thomas Cole and Benjamin Saxton
    6. Death and dying Thomas Cole and Benjamin Saxton
    Part II. Literature, the Arts, and Medicine:
    7. Narratives of illness Ronald Carson
    8. Aging in film Thomas Cole and Benjamin Saxton
    9. Medicine and media Nathan Carlin
    10. Poetry and moral imagination Ronald Carson
    11. Doctor-writers Ronald Carson
    12. Studying medicine Ronald Carson
    Part III. Philosophy and Medicine:
    13. Ways of knowing Ronald Carson
    14. Goals of medicine Ronald Carson
    15. Health and disease Thomas Cole and Benjamin Saxton
    16. Moral philosophy and bioethics Ronald Carson
    17. Medicine and power Nathan Carlin
    18. Just health care Ronald Carson
    Part IV. Religion and Medicine:
    19. World religions for medical humanities Nathan Carlin
    20. Religion and health Nathan Carlin
    21. Religion and reality Nathan Carlin
    22. Religion and bioethics Nathan Carlin
    23. Suffering and hope Nathan Carlin
    Contributions to chapters William Howze.

  • Authors

    Thomas R. Cole, University of Texas, Houston School of Medicine
    Thomas R. Cole is the McGovern Chair in Medical Humanities and Director of the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. Dr Cole has published many articles and several books on the history of aging and humanistic gerontology. His book The Journey of Life: A Cultural History of Aging in America (1992) was nominated for a Pulitzer prize. His book No Color Is my Kind and accompanying film The Strange Demise of Jim Crow (1997) were nominated for a National Humanities medal. His work has been featured in the New York Times, on National Public Radio, Voice of America, PBS, and at the United Nations.

    Nathan S. Carlin, University of Texas, Houston School of Medicine
    Nathan S. Carlin is Associate Professor at the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics and Director of the Medical Humanities and Ethics Certificate Program at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. He has co-authored two previous books, Living in Limbo: Life in the Midst of Uncertainty (2010) and 100 Years of Happiness: Insights and Findings from the Experts (2012). He has also published more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, and book reviews in about a dozen different journals.

    Ronald A. Carson, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston
    Ronald A. Carson is Professor Emeritus at the Institute for the Medical Humanities, University of Texas Medical Branch. He has received fellowships from the Institute on Human Values in Medicine, the Council for Philosophical Studies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is an elected Fellow of the Hastings Center, a former president of the Society for Health and Human Values, and a recipient of that society's annual award. He has written many articles, chapters, and book reviews. He is co-editor of four books, including Practicing the Medical Humanities: Engaging Physicians and Patients (2003).


    Thomas Cole, Benjamin Saxton, Ronald Carson, Nathan Carlin, William Howze

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