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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The University of California Medical Humanities Consortium was founded in January 2010 through a grant from UC’s 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.

Our aim is to have a substantial record of achievement and innovation in particular themes that we collectively pursue through our allocated research funding at the end of our five year grant period. We then hope to expand our efforts to include faculty and students at the remaining UC health science centers to promote an even more rigorous and representative approach to supporting humanism in medicine and health science education.

UC Medical Humanities Consortium

There are 45 publications in this collection, published between 1998 and 2022.
Perspectives in Medical Humanities: Essays and Articles (20)

The Medical Profession Through History

Throughout history, doctors have distinguished themselves among healthcare providers by referencing special skills and accredited knowledge about the body and disease. Over centuries, increased rigor in educational standards and licensing have crafted the professional identity of physicians, establishing a privileged status in the healthcare hierarchy. This essay provides an overview of how the medical profession has defined itself over time, and it examines how policing professional boundaries has discriminated against and marginalized competitors in the marketplace for medical services.

'I, witness: The Grand Tour and the Georgian Lady of Letters

While the status and lifestyles (if we can excuse that word) of English women may not have been the key feature of what has come to be characteristic of English culture in the Age of Enlightenment, this paper considers it something of an enigma as to why English women could not find happiness at home and wanted to leave their land to travel abroad. European women believed that continental travel had something to offer everyone—from climate to artistic culture—but if we focus on the opinions of women who were seeking political and intellectual enlightenment, European and British women saw in each other something they did not see in themselves. By examining the writings of eighteenth-century women travellers, this paper explores themes of identity, education, experience, and enlightenment.

17 more worksshow all
UC Medical Humanities Press Book Series (25)

Patient Poets; Illness from Inside Out

Patient Poets: Illness from Inside Out invites readers to consider what caregivers and medical professionals may learn from poetry by patients. It offers reflections on poetry as a particularly apt vehicle for articulating the often isolating experiences of pain, fatigue, changed life rhythms, altered self-understanding, embarrassment, resistance, and acceptance.

Racism and Race: The Use of Race in Medicine and Implications for Health Equity

This volume provides a transcript of the meetings on Racism and Race: The Use of Race in Medicine and Implications for Health Equity. The colloquia brought together scholars and experts who differ in their perspectives on how race has been understood and how it could, or should, be addressed in medicine; they questioned how we might do this in a way that achieves the best for our patients and the communities we serve. Sponsored by UCSF’s School of Medicine.

To Feel What Others Feel: Social Sources of the Placebo Effect

How is it that people in search of healing were at one time able to experience the therapeutic effects of "animal magnetism"? The evidence suggests that those who went in for treatments we would now call placebos didn’t feign their sensations but felt what they supposed others felt; they reacted as social beings. In one way or another, so do we today. But while the feeling of membership buoys us and may contribute to health, that is not all it can do, medically speaking. In this study a humanist looks at the placebo effect, taking into account both its history and its ambiguity and bringing out the more questionable potential of some health fashions, trends, and movements of our own time.

22 more worksshow all