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Medical Humanities and Health Studies

At West Virginia University, we aspire to educate students to be prepared for a future where West Virginians will navigate the opportunities and challenges of 21st century health care. A minor in medical humanities and health studies will give you an understanding of the social and cultural contexts of health, illness and medical care and how the perspectives of the humanities and social sciences can help you think beyond health and medicine as just pure science. 

Through interdisciplinary study in subjects like communication studies, English, gerontology, philosophy, psychology, social work, sociology and women’s and gender studies, the minor promotes awareness of the shared interests and connections among the various disciplines related to health and medicine. It is an opportunity for anyone seeking to expand their knowledge of health care issues and work in health professions. 

How will I focus my studies?

As someone interested in the social and cultural contexts of health care, this minor will help you organize your coursework into a more coherent focus and allow you to: 

  / Identify and differentiate humanities and social science perspectives on health and medicine 

  / Analyze cultural products of health and medicine using research methods from multiple     disciplines 

  / Use research tools and composition skills appropriate to multiple disciplines 

  / Explain the significance of humanities and social science perspectives on health and medicine

Josef Heller

The following quote from doctor Eric Cassell defines why senior Josef Heller aspires to become a doctor: “Medicine is not a science. It’s a caring profession that uses science.” That approach to patient care motivated him to add the medical humanities and health studies as his fourth minor. “While the difficulty of the biochemistry program is helping me prepare for the nature of courses taught in medical school and is providing me with a necessary science background, the medical humanities and health studies minor is emphasizing from an early stage that the true purpose of health care is to treat people. The human aspect of patient care cannot be overlooked. I am confident that the things I am learning from this minor will improve my ability to connect with patients in the future and provide them with the highest quality care I can give.”

Learn more at the Medical Humanities and Health Studies site