Read more about the program's goals and initiatives.

Thoughts about the medical humanities by Program members.

Read more about program faculty, affiliates, and partners.

Find out more about upcoming and past events sponsored by PMH.

PMH sponsors interdisciplinary courses on such topics as aging and old age, suffering, and death. See syllabi of select courses.

Frontpage Post for PMH Blog

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:… Read more

Program for the Medical Humanities

Changes in the availability, delivery, management, and payment of medical care are jarring the moral foundations of medicine. In addition, reproductive and genetic technologies are challenging our notions of what life is and when it begins. The potential of stem cell technology for regenerative medicine is forcing us to consider how old is old (enough). And, new life-extending technologies are fueling our concerns over what constitutes a good old age and death. Because of all this, and more, there is a need for interdisciplinary scholarly reflection, research, and teaching on the goals of medicine and the roles of physicians and other health professionals in the communities and societies of the 21st Century. The Program for the Medical Humanities (PMH) seeks to fill that need.

Many questions about the emerging medical landscape have been considered from the burgeoning fields of medical ethics, health policy and health law. Within its new home in the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, and Society, the Program for the Medical Humanities extends, critiques, and suggests alternatives to these perspectives through the lens of the humanities, anthropology, and the social and behavioral sciences. The frameworks, traditions, and knowledge base of these disciplines provide a rich resource of innovative thinking about the past, present, and future relationship between medicine and society. PMH seeks to promote the integration of these disciplines into the education of physicians, other health care providers, and the community at large.

Specifically, the Program provides:

  • Opportunities for students and faculty to engage in interdisciplinary efforts to address questions and problems facing medicine in a multicultural society.
  • A regional forum for intellectual exchange and interdisciplinary research among scholars in medicine, the humanities, and social and behavioral sciences.
  • A means of engaging practicing health care professionals in this dialogue.
  • Interdisciplinary projects within the community, which increase public awareness of medicine’s ethical and policy dilemmas, and enhance public health.