Hot Topics: Medical Humanities

Blog Posts (5)

November 6, 2018

Docsplaining: Health Humanities Are Not the Canary in the Dangerous Coal Mine

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

Doc• splain (/’däk splān) verb. Informal. (of an MD) explaining (something) to someone, typically a PhD, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing

At the 2018 Meeting of the American Society for Bioethics & Humanities, we were treated to two excellent plenary sessions: Jonathan Metzl on gun violence and Despina Kakoudaki on Frankenstein.…

June 27, 2018

Who gets to tell our stories?: Health narratives and privilege

by Keisha Ray, Ph.D.

“Nothing about us without us.”– J.I. Charlton, adopted by disability rights advocates

Recently I sat in a room of scholars who teach health humanities in medical schools and undergraduate institutions across the United States and Canada.…

February 7, 2018

What's the Story with Addiction?

by Katie Grogan, DMH, MA

Taylor Wilson was a 21-year-old woman, described by her parents as a bookworm and aspiring librarian.…

January 12, 2018

New Graphic Medicine at AJOB

by Eric S. Swirsky, JD, MA

It is my privilege to introduce the health humanities community to the work of biomedical visualization students at the University of Illinois at Chicago, whose work will be featured as cover art in forthcoming issues of AJOB.  …

November 27, 2017

New Raymond Chandler Story Eloquently Criticizes Patients as Dollars

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

This year has been a challenging one in the debate over what a U.S. health care system should look like.…

Published Articles (4)

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 18 Issue 10 - Oct 2018

Shrinking Poor White Life Spans: Class, Race, and Health Justice Erika Blacksher

AJOB Primary Research: Volume 8 Issue 1 - Mar 2018

A paradigm for understanding trust and mistrust in medical research: The Community VOICES study M. Smirnoff, I. Wilets, D. F. Ragin, R. Adams, J. Holohan, R. Rhodes, G. Winkel, E. M. Ricci, C. Clesca & L. D. Richardson

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 17 Issue 9 - Sep 2017

Now is the Time for a Postracial Medicine: Biomedical Research, the National Institutes of Health, and the Perpetuation of Scientific Racism Javier Perez-Rodriguez & Alejandro de la Fuente

American Journal of Bioethics: Volume 16 Issue 10 - Oct 2016

Healing Without Waging War: Beyond Military Metaphors in Medicine and HIV Cure Research Jing-Bao Nie, Adam Gilbertson, Malcolm de Roubaix, Ciara Staunton, Anton van Niekerk, Joseph D. Tucker & Stuart Rennie

News (15)

December 3, 2018 2:12 pm

Medical Detectives: The Last Hope for Families Coping With Rare Diseases (KQED Science)

All over the country, specialized strike teams of doctors are giving hope to families who are desperately searching for a diagnosis.

The medical sleuths have cracked more than a third of the 382 patient cases they’re pursuing, according to a recent paper in the New England Journal of Medicine.

September 10, 2018 6:00 am

Statement on Protecting the Integrity of U.S. Biomedical Research (

We have long understood, however, that the robustness of the biomedical research enterprise is under constant threat by risks to the security of intellectual property and the integrity of peer review.  This knowledge has shaped our existing policies and practices, but these risks are increasing.

July 12, 2018 9:38 am

What are “predatory” academic journals? (The Economist)

In recent years, however, this practice of appraising researchers by counting their publications has become problematic. This is because an astonishing number of journals that bill themselves as “peer-reviewed” do not, in fact, take the trouble to be so. A tally of journals that an American analytics firm, Cabells, believes to falsely claim to peer-review submissions, amounted, on a recent day, to 8,699—more than double the number of a year ago. A blacklist compiled by other experts is even longer.

March 28, 2018 9:00 am

How Genetics Is Changing Our Understanding of ‘Race’ (The New York Times)

In 1942, the anthropologist Ashley Montagu published “Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race,” an influential book that argued that race is a social concept with no genetic basis. A classic example often cited is the inconsistent definition of “black.” In the United States, historically, a person is “black” if he has any sub-Saharan African ancestry; in Brazil, a person is not “black” if he is known to have any European ancestry. If “black” refers to different people in different contexts, how can there be any genetic basis to it?

March 27, 2018 9:00 am

Former FDA commissioners say right-to-try bills could endanger ‘vulnerable patients’ (Washington Post)

Four former heads of the Food and Drug Administration have issued a joint statement opposing “right to try” legislation that is designed to permit desperately sick patients to get experimental treatments without the approval of the agency.

January 10, 2018 9:00 am

Does gender matter? (Nature)

The suggestion that women are not advancing in science because of innate inability is being taken seriously by some high-profile academics.

September 29, 2017 9:00 am

How to teach children about gender equality (CNN)

Parents can help teach their kids about gender equality by never using gender as an excuse for behavior, experts say.

September 19, 2017 9:00 am

Pregnant women should not be categorised as a ‘vulnerable population’ in biomedical research studies: ending a vicious cycle of ‘vulnerability’ (Journal Of Medical Ethics)

A new study published in Journal of Medical Ethics by van der Zande et al1 further highlights why classifying pregnant women as a ‘vulnerable population’ in the context of research is deeply problematic. Because the designation of ‘vulnerable’ is otherwise applied to populations whose decision-making capacity about research participation is somehow compromised—such as children and adults of limited cognitive ability—many of us have been arguing for some time that using this designation for pregnant women is inappropriate and disrespectful.

July 25, 2017 9:00 am

US defense agencies grapple with gene drives (Nature)

The JASONs, a group of elite scientists that advises the US government on national security, has weighed in on issues ranging from cyber security to renewing America’s nuclear arsenal. But at a meeting in June, the secretive group took stock of a new threat: gene drives, a genetic-engineering technology that can swiftly spread modifications through entire populations and could help vanquish malaria-spreading mosquitoes.

June 14, 2017 9:00 am

Heaven over hospital: Dying girl, age 5, makes a choice (CNN)

Julianna Snow is dying of an incurable disease. She’s stable at the moment, but any germ that comes her way, even just the common cold virus, could kill her. She’s told her parents that the next time this happens, she wants to die at home instead of going to the hospital for treatment. If Julianna were an adult, there would be no debate about her case: She would get to decide when to say “enough” to medical care and be allowed to die. But Julianna is 5 years old. Should her parents have let her know how grave her situation is? Should they have asked her about her end-of-life wishes? And now that those wishes are known, should her parents heed them?

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