In this response I have described how this special issue of Postmedieval has effectively aligned medieval studies with the key themes of critical medical humanities and has shown how the study of the medieval period can act as a further critical lens in examining contemporary health issues. By exploring the three key themes treated across the essays of integration, the body, and language, I hope to have indicated an exciting agenda for medievalists who might want to pursue further and more practical research entanglements with critical medical humanities in the future.
In ancient Athens, the agora was a forum for public life, where citizens would gather to conduct commerce, perform religious rituals, and engage in public debates on the most pressing issues of the day. On a warm May afternoon in 2015, approximately sixty people sat, facing one another, across the space of a round forum on the grounds of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus outside of Denver. After three days of presentations, performances, and conversations, this diverse group of scholars, educators, artists, and clinicians debated whether to form an independent affiliation of people working across the multiple landscapes and domains in the medical/health humanities and arts.
By the end of an energizing and wide-ranging ninety-minute discussion, the group agreed that a health humanities organization was needed and should be founded. They then identified and articulated four overarching goals:
This article holds several assumptions: one, that the health humanities exist; two, that the humanities and arts in health, pre-health, and health professions education are of value; and three, that other comprehensive chronicles of the medical/health humanities have already been written. Here, we focus specifically on the founding of the Health Humanities Consortium.
Everyone involved had some inkling about what a formidable task it would be to form a new organization. The first step was to assemble a Steering Committee (SC) to advise the co-chairs and to create a climate of democracy, which reflected what the new health humanities would be.1
2 The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) convened leaders in the medical/health humanities in summer 2017 with the goal of mapping the current landscape of the arts and humanities in medical education and determining the benefits of integrating the arts and humanities in medical school curricula. That initial conversation launched a multi-year project, The Fundamental Role of Arts and Humanities in Medical Education (FRAHME), which resulted in a published scoping review of US and Canada programs and, in 2021, a published monograph; an on-line resource for medical schools that wished to create and/or expand arts and humanities programs; and a grants program ( -we-do/mission-areas/medical-education/frahme).
3 Working groups included Education and Assessment (Craig Klugman and Erin Lamb); Conference Planning and Support committee (Tess Jones); and a CIP Project (Sarah Berry), a code used by the U.S. Department of Education to collect metrics on the graduates of academic programs. By having a medical/health humanities code, we would be able to see where graduates of medical/health humanities programs went for further training or for jobs.
This reader reprints critical essays published over the course of a 100-year history that grapple with the challenges of defining and justifying the presence of humanities instruction in medical education. It provides insights to some of the newer approaches that branch out from the familiar subjects of history and literature to include theater, art, poetry, and disability studies. With a comprehensive historiographical introduction as well as prefaces to each article, including new reflections by many of the authors themselves, the volume enables reflection on how the diversity of disciplinary perspectives and multiplicity of theoretical frameworks relate to each other historically and thematically. This volume is an invaluable resource for anyone engaged with humanities in health care education.
The University of California Medical Humanities Consortium was founded in January 2010 through a grant from UC\u2019s Office of the President, establishing it as a Multicampus Research Program. Recognizing that the medical humanities was pursued at multiple UC medical schools and health science centers, faculty directors from UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, and UCSF can now support collaborative student research projects, publications, and resources for courses and public events.
The health humanities is a rapidly rising field, advancing an inclusive, democratizing, activist, applied, critical, and culturally diverse approach to delivering health and well-being through the arts and humanities. It has generated new kinds of interdisciplinary research, knowledge, and communities of practice globally. It has also acted to bring greater coherence and political force to contributions across a range of related disciplines and traditions.
Promotes creative public health. Opens new routes to health and well-being. Informs and drives better health care. Interrogates relationships between ill health and social equality. Develops humanist theory in relation to health and social care practice. Foregrounds cultural difference as a resource for positive change in society. Tests the humanity of an increasingly globalized health-care system. Looks to overcome structural and process obstacles to cross-disciplinary ventures. Champions co-construction, co-design, and mutuality in solving health and well-being challenges. Showcases less familiar, prominent, or celebrated creative practices. Includes multiple perspectives on the value and health benefits of the arts and humanities not limited to or dominated by medicine.
Divided into two main sections, the Companion looks at "Reflections and Critical Perspectives," offering current thinking and definitions within health humanities, and "Applications," comprising a wide selection of applied arts and humanities practices from comedy, writing, and dancing to yoga, cooking, and horticultural display.
The articulation of learning goals, processes and outcomes related to health humanities teaching currently lacks comparability of curricula and outcomes, and requires synthesis to provide a basis for developing a curriculum and evaluation framework for health humanities teaching and learning. This scoping review sought to answer how and why the health humanities are used in health professions education. It also sought to explore how health humanities curricula are evaluated and whether the programme evaluation aligns with the desired learning outcomes.
A focused scoping review of qualitative and mixed-methods studies that included the influence of integrated health humanities curricula in pre-registration health professions education with programme evaluate of outcomes was completed. Studies of students not enrolled in a pre-registration course, with only ad-hoc health humanities learning experiences that were not assessed or evaluated were excluded. Four databases were searched (CINAHL), (ERIC), PubMed, and Medline.
Recognizing these difficulties, Dennhardt  conducted a scoping review and synthesis of quantitative outcome studies of medical humanities that led to the development of a conceptual framework of epistemic functions of arts-based teaching to support curriculum development and evaluation in health professions education . They identified 1) three focuses, or different ways arts-based teaching are used (as expertise, dialogue, and expression/transformation) and 2) related knowledge purposes (for mastering skills; interaction, perspective-taking, relational aims; personal growth/ activism). Haidet  similarly developed a conceptual framework to guide careful design, contextualization, and evaluation of arts-based learning. To maximize arts-based learning outcomes, they recommend that the unique qualities and affordances of different arts-based forms be assessed and used to inform engagement, meaning-making, and knowledge translation strategies and processes when facilitating arts-based approaches to health professions education. To date, however, an evaluation framework has not been proposed for health humanities teaching and learning. This is likely due to the tensions that exist between scientific, positivist learning and humanistic, constructivist learning, and the different approaches needed to measure outcomes that are believed to be quantifiable and objective, compared with impacts that are more subjective, subtle, and continuous . As noted by Dennhardt , health humanities teaching cannot easily be systematised in relation to simple descriptive categories. In the context of the competence and outcome-based curriculum frameworks commonly used in the health professions, the heterogeneity of the health humanities can make it very difficult to integrate them into core curricula and may be one of the reasons why it often remains an elective offering. Additionally, the epistemological features of subjects may provide a strong prima facie justification for handling those subjects in certain ways within the curriculum .
Most prior reviews have focused on quantitative studies of medical/ health humanities teaching. Compared to these more reductionist approaches, the research team for this study believed that qualitative and mixed methods studies would provide a more robust understanding of why and how arts and humanities are used and evaluated in health professions education. As such, we undertook a scoping review of qualitative and mixed-methods studies of health humanities curricula in pre-registration health professions education to provide a basis for the development of a curriculum and evaluation framework for health humanities teaching and learning that would enable comparability of curriculum offerings and outcomes. As an international team of scholars and practitioners with expertise in health humanities, health professions education and health care, we were also interested in developing a framework that would be applicable across a global context. 2b1af7f3a8