Medical Humanities at UIC

Medical Humanities describe and interpret the theory and practice of medicine through works of philosophy, ethics, history, literature and anthropology. Various progams focused on the Medical Humanities have been an important part of the medical education environment at the University of Illinois at Chicago since 1978 when a medical humanities position was created with the goal of developing humanities instruction for the health sciences center.

Major Activities

Over the years, proceeds from the Davis endowment have been used to sponsor a lecture series which each year brings several eminent scholars to the campus. These scholars lecture on such timely issues as abortion, AIDS, women’s health and have offered historical perspectives on key developments and social shifts in medicine. The Department of Medical Education also hosts the endowed Begando Lecture series which has featured such speakers as Lori Andrews, Sander Gilman, and Ruth Faden. The Traub-Byfield endowment supports a competitive fellowship among UIC physicians for training in clinical ethics.

Body Electric is a journal of literary and visual arts created by students in the College of Medicine at UIC with support from faculty in the Department of Medical Education.

Support for Student Groups and Activities

Faculty in the Department of Medical Education provide mentoring and support for student groups as well. The UIC COM Artists group is one such student-led organization providing programs to encourage integration of the arts and humanities in the student experience. Recent activities include a presentation by Dr. Andrew Howard on the use of cartooning to communicate with cancer patients (See "Medical Humanities Events at UIC " below.)


Medical Humanities Events at UIC


Dr. Andrew Howard Speaks on Using Cartoons to
Communicate with Cancer Patients

From "I am not actually a ninja. Instead, I'm a radiation oncologist on faculty at the University of Chicago and at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I do drawings about cancer, what (I imagine) it's like to be a cancer patient, and what (in reality) it's like to be a physician who treats cancer. I hope that what you learn here will help you become a better cancer fighter!"

Program sponsored by COM Artists & Chicago Cancer Society at UIC College of Medicine on 10/2015