Medical Humanities

Attention Students

Students intending to graduate with a Minor in Medical Humanities and Bioethics or a Certificate in Medical Humanities must notify the program directors, Dr. Steven Gellman or Dr. Eli Shupe, at their earliest convenience, and prior to their final semester at UTA. This is now University administrative policy.

Minor in Medical Humanities and Bioethics

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Medical Humanities Certificate Program

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Medical Humanities Background at UTA

An initiative toward Medical Humanities learning at UTA began on February 28, 2018 with a power point presentation to the Liberal Arts Deans by Dr. Steven Gellman. The concept for this Medical Humanities program was part of a renewed nation-wide focus toward improving Healthcare in America by returning the humanistic element to medicine. The effort fit very nicely with the UTA President’s strategic initiative of promoting education in Health and the Human Condition.

Introduction to Medical Humanities

The first Introduction to Medical Humanities class was taught during the Fall 2018 semester and was enthusiastically received by the students. The class was repeated in the spring and fall semesters since then. A variety of interests, including pre-med, pre-nursing, pre-legal, research, kinesiology and disability studies were represented. Administrative foresight by the College of Liberal Arts was instrumental in establishing a Certificate Program in Medical Humanities in November 2018. Two students were awarded with the Certificate at May 2019 graduation; one is now in dental school and the other in medical school.

Issues in American Healthcare thru Film

A second Medical Humanities class, Issues in American Healthcare thru Film, was added in the Summer 2019 and then repeated in Fall 2019. It was co-listed in the College of Liberal Arts and was also the capstone course for the Health Science Minor in the College of Science. There was wide appeal for the course, from a variety of colleges on campus.

Clinical Medicine and the Human Experience

A third course, Clinical Medicine and the Human Experience, is now in development for the Medical Humanities Certificate Program and will be taught in Fall 2020 through the College of Science. The course will be a tour of the medical specialties from the patient experience perspective. For instance, in discussing a heart attack/MI, we will focus on the patient’s experience having a myocardial infarction, rather than the latest medical treatment for a MI.

Diagnosis of Human Disease

A fourth course, Diagnosis of Human Disease, is also under development. This will be a survey of the numerous diagnostic modalities available to a medical practitioner. It will include tools such as those in the physical exam, laboratory, radiology, sonography, EKG and EEG.

An exciting part of Medical Humanities learning at UTA has been administrative interest in continued growth of the program. A new faculty addition to the program, Dr. Eli Shupe, joined the Philosophy Department faculty in fall 2020. Departmental discussions included the development of a Medical Humanities Minor at UTA. A long-term vision for the program at UTA might include a Medical Humanities Major or an Institute for Medical Humanities. Currently, a Medical Humanities grant request is in progress.

Starting with the student driven creation of the first department of Medical Humanities at Penn State over 50 years ago, students have always appreciated the importance of the humanistic element in healthcare. Medical Humanities informational open houses for students at UTA have been well attended. Currently, organizational efforts are underway in the formation of a student run Medical Humanities organization: Mavericks for Medical Humanities.

Dr. Steven Gellman has been very active in the Medical Humanities program at UTA. His background as a Board Certified Family doctor for over 30 years has provided valuable experience in understanding the doctor-patient relationship and related healthcare concerns. Thru his years of practice, he has learned that patient care is both an art and science. His interest in the art and humanities contributed to his earning a MFA degree in photography. He has seen the need for creativity in medicine when designing individualized treatment plans for patients. His talk at the 2019 Mayo Clinic Medical Humanities conference emphasized including creativity as part of Medical Humanities learning. At the core, Dr. Gellman considers his contribution to Medical Humanities learning a very personal opportunity to give back and to the medical profession and ultimately improve patient healthcare.

Dr. Eli Shupe is a graduate of Rutgers University, where she earned her PhD in Philosophy. Her research focuses on interdisciplinary issues in cognitive science and biomedical ethics. Since joining University of Texas at Arlington in 2020, she has worked with local hospices to integrate experiential learning opportunities into the Medical Humanities and Bioethics curriculum at UTA. Dr. Shupe is also the Founder and Director of Make Philosophy, an open pedagogy project that seeks to make complex philosophical ideas understandable and engaging to learned of all ages.

Please address any questions, suggestions or contributions to Dr. Steven Gellman or Dr. Eli Shupe.

Steven Gellman, M.D. The University of Texas Medical Center in Houston (1979), M.F.A The Academy of Art University (2017)

Associate Professor of Practice

M.D., M.F.A.

steven gellman

Currently Teaching: Medical Humanities, Issues in American Healthcare thru Film, Clinical Medicine and the Human Experience, The Art of Diagnosing Disease in Humans, Independent Study in Medical Humanities, and Internship in Medical Humanities

Eli Shupe, Ph.D. Rutgers University (2020)

Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Eli Shupe smiling while wearing a dress blouse, glasses, and a pearl necklace.

Currently Teaching: Topics In Humanities, Biomedical Ethics, Topics In Bioethics

Michael McShane, Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor of Medical Humanities

Michael McShane

Currently Teaching: HUMA 3300 Explores the ethical, historical, literary, philosophical, and religious dimensions of medicine or health. Includes instruction in art, cultural studies, economics, ethics, history, literature, medical anthropology, philosophy, religion and spiritual thought, science and technology, visual art, and writing.

MMH Meeting 23

Medical Humanities Student Activities

This organization is open to all students who are interested. We will often have guest speakers and/or discussion based general body meetings pertaining to how ethics, art, and social sciences overlap with the Medical Field.