James Madison University’s newest minor, Medical Humanities, allows students of any major to learn more about health issues through a humanistic perspective. The minor’s coordinator, Dr. Michael J. Klein, has answered a few burning questions about the minor…
1. What (in your words) is the Medical Humanities minor?
MJK: The cross-disciplinary minor in medical humanities provides students with a humanistic perspective of issues of the body, health and illness. This perspective compliments the traditional viewpoint provided by science and medicine.
- What made JMU want to add this minor?
MJK: There were two reasons. First, medical schools now want their applicants to have more exposure to the humanities. Second, it provides students in the humanities a means of investigating the creation of medical knowledge.
- What majors can go along with this minor?
MJK: Any. This cross-disciplinary minor is appropriate for any undergraduate interested in issues of health and illness.
- How many credits would a student need to complete for the minor?
- What types of classes will students be taking?
MJK: Students will select from among almost two dozen courses, primarily from the humanities, but also from ISAT and health sciences.
- What do you hope students take away from the minor?
MJK: There are two primary goals of the minor: think critically about ways in which conceptions of illness, health and the human body are shaped through disciplinary perspectives; and, articulate the ways in which race, ethnicity, sexuality and gender are socially constructed.
- Why do you feel this minor is important?
MJK: This is an important way for students to critically engage issues that will affect them throughout their lives.
- How will this minor help students in their future careers?
MJ: If the student plans a career in medicine, nursing, dentistry or a related field, then s/he will have an expanded view of the way culture conceptualizes and disseminates issues of the body. But even if the student will be seeking a career in another field, s/he will engage with ideas and concepts that have intrigued humans for thousands of years and continue to shape the way we view ourselves.
- Anything else you would like The Daily Duke to know?
MJ: We are rolling out the minor in stages, with only 25 students being accepted for the 2017-18 academic year. An additional 25 students will be allowed to enroll the following year, with a cap of 50 students total at any one time. Students interested in signing up for the minor should contact the minor’s coordinator, Dr. Michael J. Klein, at email@example.com to schedule an appointment.