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eScholarship
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.

Cover page of A Rose From Two Gardens: Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and Images of the End of Life

A Rose From Two Gardens: Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and Images of the End of Life

(2022)

Intriguing parallels arise between contemporary end of life images and themes expressed historically in the writings of Thérèse of Lisieux, the Catholic saint who is known as the “Little Flower.” Drawing on her combined experiences as a professor of the humanities at Rice University, and as an Artist In Residence in Palliative, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Medicine at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, the author examines topics such as the paradoxical grandeur of small things, the spiritual significance of flowers, compassion and consolation in the wake of human suffering, the power of mystical dreams and prophetic visions, and vibrant conceptions of eternal life. Ultimately, Saint Thérèse’s “little way” and contemporary end of life imagery emphasize the knowledge of the heart, which teaches how to see the hidden in everyday life, and how to recognize the dedication of love.

Cover page of Women Physician Pioneers of the 1960s: Their Lives and Profession Over a Half Century

Women Physician Pioneers of the 1960s: Their Lives and Profession Over a Half Century

(2022)

Female physicians were nearly invisible in the United States of the mid-1960s. The motivation and character of women who aspired to become physicians had never been the subject of serious inquiry until psychologist Lillian K. Cartwright, PhD, began a detailed study of the women entering the University of California, School of Medicine, from 1964 through 1967 and then carefully followed them for the next twenty-five years. To complete this historic, longitudinal study to span half a century, Susan E. Detweiler, MD, now narrates the complete arc of the professional and personal lives of this group of remarkable women who forged careers into leadership within the male universe of American medicine. Their individual stories are a testament to their intellect, motivation, and perseverance, told with the insight that only a member of the group could bring.

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

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

(2021)

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.

Cover page of Imagining Vesalius: An Ekphrastic, Scholarly, and Literary Celebration of the 1543 De Humani Corporis Fabrica of Andreas Vesalius

Imagining Vesalius: An Ekphrastic, Scholarly, and Literary Celebration of the 1543 De Humani Corporis Fabrica of Andreas Vesalius

(2020)

Imagining Vesalius is a collection of ekphrastic works  -  poetry, prose, watercolors and sculpture – celebrating the 1543 landmark anatomical atlas by Andreas Vesalius. Using the stunning woodcuts in this famous book as inspiration, writers and artists have contributed prose poems and art works on subjects ranging from a parent's autopsy to immortality through dissection, murder, organ donation to amputation to the role of women in dissection to the anatomy of gaze. Introductory essays discuss Vesalius's place in the history of medicine, Vesalius as seen by a modern day poet, and a contemplative reflection on Vesalius's contributions to the development of dissection. A section of translation presents seven poems to or about Vesalius by famous contemporaries or near contemporaries, including Philip Melanchthon and Jakob Balde. Four appear for the first time in English. A rich anthology of Vesaliana, Imagining Vesalius will prove of interest to readers and scholars alike, with its offerings in ekphrasis, literature and medicine, the history of medicine and late medieval studies in art, anatomy and medicine.