June 18, 2024

Wittenberg awarded funds for health humanities project

Along with working to offer the certificate program, the funds will help give access to humanities-based teaching and learning, and empower students and community members to impact their hometowns in ethical and equitable ways.

“Our team is so excited to have received this grant as it affirms the centrality of the humanities to our psychological and physical well-being—how it helps us understand what it means to be human and to be a human who cares for themselves and others,” said Cynthia Richards, Veler Endowed Chair in English and who serves as the project director.

Richards is joined by co-leaders Alejandra Gimenez-Berger, associate professor of art history, and Kimberly Creasap, director of Susan Hirt Hagen Center for Civic & Urban Engagement and adjunct professor of sociology.

Health Humanities is a steadily growing, cross-disciplinary field that draws on the humanities and arts to investigate aspects of lived human experience related to health and medicine.

The certificate, which is pending approval by faculty and board of directors, will support professionals in the health care field. The funding will also support a rotating Health Humanities Fellowship for faculty “to help the university build capacity for continued work in the field and establish clear pathways to experiential learning opportunities with local community partners” including the Rocking Horse Center, the Clark County Combined Health District, the Springfield Promise Neighborhood and the Springfield Museum of Art.

A Community Advisory Group will also be developed to advise on curriculum content and community partnerships and outreach, as well as the creation of a minor in Health Humanities.

The minor is expected to be offered in the fall of 2024 with the certificate program by summer of 2025. Topics under consideration for both programs include narrative medicine, empathy, cross-cultural medicine, historical concepts of health and care, and skills such as critical thinking, ethical problem solving, intellectual curiosity, narrative analysis, writing, responsive discussion and reflection.

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