Center for Literature and Medicine
The Center for Literature and Medicine is the home of a distinctive interdisciplinary program that serves undergraduates, health care professionals and the wider community.
Image: Mahan House
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 health care 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 health care 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 health care 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 health care environments, from medical schools to nursing homes
- Using readers’ theater as a method for understanding different perspectives of patients, families and health care professionals
- Applying narrative theory and practice to health care interactions; for example, the patient as story, the doctor as reader.
This Center, which generates public and professional dialogue of issues in health care and biotechnology, is distinct in numerous ways:
- it is the only one of its kind in the country, with a clear focus on serving both baccalaureate (pre-health professions) students and extended communities.
- it is home to the first health humanities undergraduate major in the country.
- it was the birthplace of The Literature and Medicine Book Series published by Kent State University Press.
- it collaborates with many health care organizations including the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, the Northeast Ohio University of Medicine, the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine of Ohio University, Summa Health Systems, MetroHealth System and Coleman Professional Services.
- it involves faculty throughout the college in courses that bridge drama, literature, music and the visual arts with health and health care issues.
The Center also presents numerous projects and Opportunities:
- a biennial summer symposium that brings together health care professionals, humanities scholars, creative artists and educators in a dynamic learning community.
- visiting scholars and artists who serve both as faculty and presenters to the entire Hiram community.
- collaborations with writers and visual and dramatic arts professionals using their talents to address ethical issues.
- courses are offered yearly in the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) program, and MAIS students have chosen medical humanities as their area of concentration.