The short essays that follow are informal reflections of Fellows of the UC Berkeley Program for the Medical Humanities. The Program is an interdisciplinary conversation among scholars and medical professionals about how and where medicine, medical education and the public may benefit from the humanities, arts, and social sciences. Some of those benefits are obvious: historical work such as that done by one of our founding Fellows, Tom Laqueur, on the history of the body and the history of sexuality, contextualizes contemporary, often culture-bound, notions about both, and encourages revision and reframing in policy-making and clinical care.
Guy Micco’s abiding interest in the interface of medicine and the humanities led him, along with Tom, to bring together this gathering. He is a clinician-educator, a general internist turned hospice-palliative care physician who wants to help himself and other health care professional students and practitioners learn more about aging and dying through interdisciplinary and intergenerational conversations.