Center for Literature, Medicine and Biomedical Humanities

The Center for Literature and Medicine is the home of a distinctive interdisciplinary program that serves undergraduates, healthcare professionals and the wider community.

The College's unique biomedical humanities major gives the students important advantages in preparation for medical school and other graduate programs.

The mission of the Center is to examine thoroughly questions of human values in healthcare contexts through literary works and to do so within clinical settings, medical and other health professional schools, and the liberal arts environment

Founded in 1990, the Center for Literature and Medicine provides interdisciplinary programs, courses, and summer seminars integrating humanities and health care. Through the study of the humanities, and in particular, through literary works, the Center examines critical healthcare issues. This work has application in clinical settings, academic medicine, health policy, and the liberal arts environment, and serves to deepen participants' ability to recognize, understand, and address ethical and humanistic issues in healthcare contexts.

What distinguishes the Center from conventional medical ethics programs are its special emphases:

  • Using literary works to raise humanities issues in medical settings
  • Developing techniques for teaching literary works in a variety of healthcare environments, from medical schools to nursing homes
  • Using readers' theater as a method for understanding different perspectives of patients, families and healthcare professionals
  • Applying narrative theory and practice to healthcare interactions; for example, the patient as story, the doctor as reader.
Students work on their story boards for Professor Michael Blackie’s “Facing Illness and Death” course that was team taught by Oscar nominated directors and creators of “The Lion and the House,” Steve Bognar and Julia Reichert.
Students frequently study abroad, learning about healthcare around the world.
Allison Fox, ’13 (Biomedical Humanities) and Shauna Daniels, ’12 (Psychology), perform in “It’s Okay,” a play about autism written by Fox, Cara Battaglia, ’12 (Theatre Arts) and Amy Morton, ’13 (Integrated Language Arts).
Margaret Clark Morgan Scholar, Dr. Lisa Kovach delivers a lecture on the effects of bullying to the Hiram College community.
The Center sponsors international summer symposia, like this one titled, “On Healers and Healing,” which will culminate in a book and a special issue of the Journal of Medical Humanities.
Laura Ross, ’04, Sarah Polly, ’11, and Daniel Safko, ’09 perform in an Alumni Weekend performance of “The Machine Stops,” a radio play written by Cleveland playwright Eric Coble, and based on a short story by E.M. Forster.
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