Hiram College

Center for Literature, Medicine and Biomedical Humanities

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

Unique calling

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.


Students frequently study abroad, learning about health care around the world.



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.



Students Learn the Science of Sleep – Through Napping – in Three-Week Course



After a public screening of her award-winning documentary Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement, filmmaker Regan Brashear poses with Center for Literature and Medicine Staff and Biomedical Humanities Students.  (Left to Right: Brittany Jackson, Teresa (Lash) Morrison ’14, Allison Fox ’14, Regan Brashear, Maci Nelson ’14, Erin Gentry Lamb, and Preston Caldwell ’15).



Students in one of Hiram College’s unique interdisciplinary courses took a stand against the everyday stigmatization of mental illness and disability.