images description

medical humanities

The Medical Humanities Research Group draws together different approaches to medicine and the humanities, and understanding the social (racial, gender, economic), political, philosophical (ethical) and rhetorical practices. This group has participated and lead public discussions on medical ethics (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks), generated the curricula for the Medical Humanities, Bioethics, and Pre-Medicine certificate, along with the interdisciplinary major Medicine, Health and Society. They also sponsored the “Discourses of Health, Medicine, and Society” conference held at UC in September 2013, organized by Lisa Meloncon. Additionally, the group is sponsoring a talk form Bruce Link, PhD (Columbia U.) in February, on health inequities.  This research cohort is open to all students and faculty.

Vision Statement

The Medical Humanities Research Group (MHRG) sponsored by the Taft Research Center reflects the interests and expertise of UC faculty in the humanities, arts, and social sciences and seeks to promote interdisciplinary discourse, research, and education in the human health and medical sciences. Foregrounding the socially constructed dimensions of illness experience and medical knowledge and practice in societies past and present, the MHRG hosts public lectures and seminars, sponsors roundtable discussions between scholars and practitioners of medicine, engages the public on medical issues, participates in and assays impacting public health policy, and provides a university forum for discussing curricular and program needs.


  • Emphasize inter- and trans-disciplinary frames for examining medical and health-related issues at different levels, in distinct representational forms, and from diverse social and disciplinary perspectives.  Examples can be found through the investigation of:
    • Roles of race, gender, sexuality and socioeconomic class in medicine, including disparities in access, care and outcomes.
    • Reproductive health and women’s rights due to a collaborative experience.
    • Patient-centered care, e.g. adopting a humanistic perspective of the patient as a collaborator in medical-decision making.
    • Cognitive and literary constructions of health and well-being, including illness narratives.
    • Rhetorical structuring of medicine and health through diverse record-keeping, communicative and discursive practices.
    • New technologies and accompanying ethical issues.
  • Directly engage public health issues and policy in Cincinnati.
  • Host public humanities lectures, seminars, and symposiums on issues of health and medicine.
  • Impact public regional health policy.
  • Educate the public on medical issues through humanities and social science perspectives.
  • Cultivate relations between humanities scholars and faculty, researchers and practitioners of medicine.
  • Actively pursue collaborations with medical practitioners and researchers, including participating as co-investigators on grants submitted to national funding agencies.
  • Sponsor roundtable discussions between humanities scholars and faculty, researchers and practitioners of medicine.
  • Coordinate graduate and undergraduate courses and offer a minor and graduate certificate in Medical Humanities.

Funding Goals

  • Write and submit a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant, raising $300K in external funds, as needed, through the following endeavors:
  • Establish a "Friends of Medical Humanities" Gift Program for personal donations.
  • Develop funding lines external to UC.
  • Secure private foundation monies to support long-term curricular and research objectives.
  • Explore the possibility of collaboratively writing and submitting grants to NIH, NIEHS, NSF, and other organizations

Allocation of External Funds Raised ($300K)

  • Develop and offer graduate and undergraduate courses in Medical Humanities.
  • Support professional development of faculty in the research cohort.
  • Provide educational opportunity for the general public.
  • Coordinate activities across multiple colleges — the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, and the College of Allied Health Sciences.
  • Establish institutional infrastructure toward an Institute for the Medical Humanities at UC.

Medical Humanities Cohort

  • To find out more about faculty involved with the Medical Humanities Cohort, please click here.
  • We are currently looking for scholars interested in joining the group. If you would like to participate, please email the coordinators C. Jeffrey Jacobson at or Katherine E. Sorrels at

Skip Navigation Linksresearch > taft research groups > medical humanities