NEH Experts

Ellen Amster

Ellen Amster is the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine at McMaster University, and Associate Professor in the Departments of Family Medicine and Religious Studies. She received her B.A. from the University of Chicago and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. A historian of North Africa and France, her research on science in the French-Islamic colonial encounter was first a book, Medicine and the Saints: Science, Islam, and the Colonial Encounter in Morocco, 1877-1956 (University of Texas ) and now extends to a field and Arabic course for students in Morocco and CIHR-funded global health work in maternal and infant health. Her recent articles touch on political Islam, Islamic biopolitics, the history of public health, and Sufism; her current research includes Muslim

midwifery, medical humanities, the material and visual cultures of religion, the body, and women’s history. She has created the History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Research Portal, a resource for all researchers with a library, archival, museum, and digital collections.

Gretchen A. Case

Gretchen Case is Associate Professor and Chair of the Program in Medical Ethics and Humanities at the University of Utah School of Medicine, where she teaches arts and humanities to students, residents, physicians, and other health care providers. Dr. Case is the playwright and performer of several published works related to medicine and oral history, including “Tic(k)” and “Apoptosis Is My Favorite Word.” She earned a PhD in Performance Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and received her bachelors and masters degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Case has taught performance studies, theatre, writing, and medical/health humanities at UNC-Chapel Hill, UC-Berkeley, Florida State University, Northwestern University, Duke University, and the University of Utah.

Jodi Halpern

Jodi Halpern M.D., Ph.D (Philosophy) is Professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities in the Joint Medical Program and the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. Her work brings together psychiatry, philosophy, affective forecasting and decision neuroscience to elucidate how people imagine and influence their own and each other’s future health possibilities. Her first book, From Detached Concern to Empathy: Humanizing Medical Practice, was called a “seminal work” by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Her upcoming book Remaking the Self in the Wake of Illness focuses on how people with health losses in the prime of life experience value and identity shifts. Her scholarly articles focus on topics that include emotions and decision-making, social dominance and bullying, post-war social reconciliation and the ethics of innovative technologies. Her work appears in publications such as the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Emotion Review, Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience, Gerontology and Global Public Health as well as in popular media. Her current scholarship focuses on how innovative technologies change how we adapt to health losses, how we view our futures and the trajectory of empathic curiosity across differences. Her new book project “Engineering Empathy” looks at the upcoming uses of technology in emotional relationships, including using AI/robotics in caregiving (AI psychotherapy, elder and childcare), the influence of virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) on empathy, and the influence of gaming on mental health. Halpern is also doing embedded research with scientists developing new technologies in neuroscience and gene editing. Halpern is invited to present this work internationally, including at the 2018, 2019 and 2020 meetings of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Jonathan Metzl

Jonathan Metzl is the Frederick B. Rentschler II Professor of Sociology and Psychiatry, and the Director of the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society, at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He received his MD from the University of Missouri, MA in humanities/poetics and Psychiatric internship/residency from Stanford University, and PhD in American Culture from University of Michigan, A 2008 Guggenheim fellow, Professor Metzl has written extensively for medical, psychiatric, and popular publications. His books include The Protest Psychosis, Prozac on the Couch, and Against Health: How Health Became the New Morality. Jonathan’s specializations include: Psychiatry, Race and Health, History of Mental Health, Gender, and Politics. His current projects include: history of medical boundary violations, structural competency, RWJ men and masculinity project, guns and mental illness.

Rebecca Garden

Rebecca Garden, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Public Health and Preventative Medicine at Upstate Medical University. She earned her doctorate in English and comparative literature from Columbia University. Before coming to Upstate in 2004, she was Associate Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Garden’s research draws on fiction, autobiography, film, and video, as well as critical approaches to disability, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity, to examine socio-cultural and ethical issues related to illness, disability, deafness, and health care. Her current research explores refugee literature and cultural approaches to dementia and decision-making in healthcare. She has published in journals such as New Literary History, the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Disability Studies Quarterly, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, the AMA Journal of Medical Ethics, and the Journal of Clinical Ethics, and she is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Medical Humanities, Literature and Medicine, and the Journal of Clinical Ethics. She edited the March 2019 special issue of the Journal of Medical Humanities called Critical Healing: Queer and Crip Interventions in Biomedicine and Public Health. She has chapters in The Health Humanities Reader, Teaching Health Humanities, Research Methods in Health Humanities, and forthcoming in the Encyclopedia for Health Humanities. She teaches public health, medical, nursing, and health professions students, has published on disability/deafness, structural and cultural issues in healthcare, and narrative, and is Executive Director of the Consortium for Culture and Medicine, an inter-institutional collaborative in Syracuse, NY. In 2016, Dr. Garden was Chair of the Executive Committee for the Medical Humanities and Health Studies Forum of the Modern Language Association, in addition to being a founding member. She serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Medical Humanities, the Journal of Clinical Ethics, and Literature and Medicine. From 2005 to 2011, she led the Literature, Arts, and Medicine Affinity Group for the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities.