M.A., Medical Humanities

M.A., Medical Humanities

Department Chair: Kevin T. FitzGerald, SJ, PhD
Program Director: Nicole Piemonte, PhD
Program Office: Department of Medical Humanities

This program is designed for students who intend to pursue health-related careers, as well as, students interested in examining larger questions about suffering, mortality, care, and justice.

M.A., Medical Humanities Requirements: (30 Credits)

TRACK 1 (with Thesis)

MMH 601Introduction to Medical Humanities3
MMH 602Humanism and Healthcare Careers1
MMH 603End of Life in the Clinical Setting3
MHE 610Introduction to Bioethics3
or MHE 622 Public Health Ethics
MHE 601Health Policy3
or MHE 606 Theories of Justice
IHW 670Research Methods and Program Design3
or MPH 707 Introduction to Mixed Methods
or ILD 812 Research Design and Professional Inquiry
MMH 710Community of Practice for Scholarly Writing in the Medical Humanities1
MMH 712Thesis Research in Medical Humanities6
MMH 792Special Topics in the Medical Humanities: Professional Identity Formation in Healthcare Education1
MMH 794Special Topics in Medical Humanities (take two times)6
Total Credits30

Track 2 (without thesis; with capstone)

MMH 601Introduction to Medical Humanities3
MMH 602Humanism and Healthcare Careers1
MMH 603End of Life in the Clinical Setting3
or MHE 622 Public Health Ethics
MHE 610Introduction to Bioethics3
or MHE 622 Public Health Ethics
MHE 601Health Policy3
or MHE 606 Theories of Justice
IHW 670Research Methods and Program Design3
or MPH 707 Introduction to Mixed Methods
or ILD 812 Research Design and Professional Inquiry
MMH 710Community of Practice for Scholarly Writing in the Medical Humanities1
MMH 712Thesis Research in Medical Humanities6
MMH 792Special Topics in the Medical Humanities: Professional Identity Formation in Healthcare Education1
MMH 794Special Topics in Medical Humanities (take two times)6
Total Credits30

IHW 670. Research Methods and Program Design. 3 credits.

This course will explore of quantitative and qualitative research techniques applicable to health and wellness literature and program design. By the end of the course, students will be able to evaluate research and the program designs of others. In addition, students will be able to design their own programs with the appropriate methods of evaluation.

ILD 812. Research Design and Professional Inquiry. 3 credits.

Modern social problems are complex and multilayered. Leaders must be able to properly identify effective and accurate research methods to investigate these issues. This course provides an overview of the concepts, procedures, and tools used by modern social science researchers. It is a required course.

MHE 601. Health Policy. 3 credits.

MHE 601 explores health policy and its development, emphasizing social justice and human rights. Students consider institutional, local, regional, national, and international approaches to public health, health systems, and priorities for research and development. American health systems - operations, processes, successes, and failures - are extensively analyzed. Students consider processes for and challenges in making health policy at institutional, state, and federal levels. Past and current attempts at health systems reform are reviewed, stressing 2010 U.S. healthcare reform.

MHE 606. Theories of Justice. 3 credits.

This course will introduce students to theoretical and practical complexities, ambiguities, and persistent questions at the intersections of clinical ethics, social policy, and health justice. P: MHE 600, MHE 610.

MHE 610. Introduction to Bioethics. 3 credits.

Bioethics is a complex field with few easy answers. This course uses an interdisciplinary lens to introduce students to the ethical dilemmas inherent in health care and health policy with specific emphasis on populations with vulnerability, disadvantage, or marginalization. Students develop a broad understanding of the philosophical, historical, cultural, economic, technological, and political dimensions of ethical issues the discipline of bioethics encompasses.

MHE 622. Public Health Ethics. 3 credits.

This course introduces students to ethical issues in population health and the discipline of public health. This course draws upon some of the major discourses and analyses in human rights, social justice and other ethical theory, and health policy to consider health and healthcare as aggregate public and social goods. The ethical dimensions of geopolitical, economic, cultural, environmental, educational, and social influences on health will be explored in global, national, and community contexts. The course will consider ethical questions about the discipline of public health and the roles of governments, academic medical centers, healthcare organizations, health professions, professionals, and members of the public as stewards of health.

MMH 601. Introduction to Medical Humanities. 3 credits.

Introduces students to the field of Medical Humanities, with a specific focus on philosophy and medicine, literature/narrative and medicine, medical pedagogy, social justice, death and dying, religion and medicine, and suffering and meaning-making. Students will reflect on how course content influences their current or future clinical and/or scholarly work.

MMH 602. Humanism and Healthcare Careers. 1 credit.

This course will meet weekly via Zoom to connect with students enrolled in the Masters in Medical Humanities so that students can reflect on how their various coursework influences their current or future careers. Most weeks, a guest speaker will join the session to discuss their role in healthcare or academia (e.g., clinician, pastoral care, social worker, patient advocate, clinical ethicist, medical educator, etc.) and the importance of humanism and the humanities in their everyday work. The goal of this course is for students to reflect on how their experience in the Masters in Medical Humanities program is shaping their current work or paving the way for a future career path.

MMH 603. End of Life in the Clinical Setting. 3 credits.

This course is an experiential practicum that explores the intersection of clinical palliative care with medical humanities. Student will apply concepts from their foundational humanities courses with volunteering experiences with patients near end of life. Students will arrange volunteering experience with a local palliative care or hospice team.

MMH 710. Community of Practice for Scholarly Writing in the Medical Humanities. 1 credit.

Designed to be a "community of practice" for Medical Humanities students who are preparing their thesis paper or final capstone project, this course provides weekly opportunities for collaborative discussions and feedback on the overall writing process. Through both synchronous and asynchronous course activities, students will build upon their prior coursework and related learning experiences to 1) draft, revise, and integrate feedback into their work; 2) engage in constructive dialogue with peers about each other's writing; and 3) reflect on the development of their writing and learning.

MMH 711. Capstone Research in Medical Humanities. 6 credits.

In this 6-credit course, students will work with a student-selected capstone mentor to design, propose, and present a capstone project that explores a specific topic in the medical humanities or attempts to address a problem relevant to the field of healthcare or the medical humanities. The form of the capstone project can vary, whether rooted in theoretical work or an applied project, and is largely dependent upon the student's chosen topic or area. Students will present their completed capstone project to the course director, capstone mentor, and program director. Faculty and fellow students in the MA program will be invited to the public portion of the presentation.

MMH 712. Thesis Research in Medical Humanities. 6 credits.

In this 6-credit course, students will work with a student-selected thesis advisor to design, propose, write, and present a Master's thesis projectthat explores a specific topic in the medical humanities or attempts to shed light on a problem relevant to the field of healthcare from a humanities perspective. Students will present their completed thesis project to a thesis committee, which will include the course director, the student's thesis advisor, and the Master of Arts in Medical Humanities program director. Faculty and fellow students in the MA program will be invited to the public portion of the presentation.

MMH 792. Special Topics in the Medical Humanities: Professional Identity Formation in Healthcare Education. 1 credit.

This course will meet weekly via Zoom to discuss assigned material for the week related to professional identity formation in healthcare education, focusing specifically on the socialization of healthcare students, the hidden curriculum, mistreatment in the clinical learning environment, mental health and wellness, and the role of mentorship.

MMH 794. Special Topics in Medical Humanities. 3 credits.

Special Topics in Medical Humanities are courses offered for credit in which the subject matter or content may vary within specific sections across terms as indicated by that course's title and description. Most special topics courses can be repeated by students for additional credit, provided that the course sections are different. Special topics courses address specific issues within Medical Humanities that are not represented within required courses or offer an opportunity for a deeper or different look at a topic covered in a required course.

MPH 707. Introduction to Mixed Methods. 3 credits.

This course provides an overview and introduction to mixed methods research, which involves collecting, analyzing, and integrating both quantitative and qualitative research in a study. After a brief review of the similarities and distinctions between quantitative and qualitative research, this introduction consists of defining mixed methods research and its foundations. We will then examine the types of mixed methods designs available and discuss the process of research as it relates to each of these designs. Throughout the course, we will cover the components of rigorous mixed methods.