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Electives - Humanities and Ethics in Medicine

Independent Research in Humanities/Arts

Elective Number: 3509 (arranged)

Course Supervisor/Coordinator: Dr. Marcia Childress, 5361 Barringer, 434.924.5974,woolf@virginia.edu

Prerequisite: Several months in advance of starting a project, students interested in independent research must meet with Dr. Childress to discuss their project concept, objectives, possible mentor(s), resource needs, and timetable. At least one month in advance of beginning the rotation, students must obtain Dr. Childress's approval of a brief, written project proposal (and, if appropriate, a preliminary bibliography); the approved proposal is also sent to the Electives Director. Students who do their research in another country must complete the university's International requirements (ISO application, on-line tracking, appointment with Student Health, etc.). Students whose research will involve human subjects should discuss this with Dr. Childress; they will be responsible for securing appropriate institutional review board approval prior to beginning their studies.

Duration: Maximum 8 weeks, Minimum 2 weeks

Available: Rotations 1-9 & 12-14 (NOT available R10, Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break or Rotation 11a)

Report to: TBA

Time to Report: TBA

Place to Report: TBA

Attendance: Attendance at elective activities is mandatory.

  • Anyone who is ill or has a personal or family emergency must contact Student Affairs and the Attending on Service.
  • Students are allowed to take off up to 1 day per week to interview between November 1 and February 1.
    • Specific days missed must be approved by the Attending on Service.

Number of students per rotation: open

Course Description: This elective opportunity allows students to pursue focused, in-depth humanities-based research or undertake substantial creative writing or arts projects that explore the human dimensions of illness and health, the process of becoming a doctor, or connections between the humanities/ arts and medicine. Projects usually involve some scholarly background preparation to situate the student's work within a discipline and tradition. Projects often model for students a way to integrate a vocational interests in the humanities and arts into a busy practice life.

Learning objectives: Students will be able to:

  • Design and propose in writing an individual project in the humanities or arts that can be completed within a short period of time (e.g. 2 - 8 weeks)
  • Conduct sustained, in-depth research in a scholarly discipline other than medicine for purposes of establishing background and context in relation to an individual project OR practice intensively a creative art or craft for purposes of presentation.
  • Prepare a substantial, lengthy analytical paper, with appropriate scholarly documentation, or a portfolio of creative work, with appropriate explanatory discussion.
  • Present research findings and analyses OR present/perform creative work
  • Reflect on connections between their humanities/arts pursuit and their medical practice
  • Reflect on their own professional formation, including integration of humanities study or arts practice into their professional identity.

Research may be arranged in a variety of areas. In recent years, students have undertaken projects in humanities or arts scholarship (history, music, literature, anthropology, art history, gender studies, cross-cultural studies); writing (original poetry or short fiction, drama, memoir and analytical expository writing); visual and fine arts (printmaking, drawing, photography); other fine or performing arts (music composition and performance); design/preparation of educational materials; and qualitative research on aspects of medicine, medical practice and medical education.

Students work under the supervision of one or more faculty mentors from appropriate humanities, arts and medical disciplines within the university or community. Each student completes a major project and, when possible, presents the findings or created work to faculty or other. Student maintain a journal throughout the rotation. Students also attend Medical Center Hour.

This description is a general overview. The supervisor(s) will establish the schedule and particular requirements at the time the student's project proposal is approved.