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Bringing academics, clinicians, caregivers and students together to address grand social challenges in areas of health and healthcare.
Health and the practices of medicine are crucial areas where STEM fields cannot fully address contemporary challenges without being grounded in and continually engaged with the humanities, and yet these realms of inquiry often remain separate and siloed, both on university campuses and between educational and healthcare institutions. The ASU Health Humanities Initiative seeks to transcend these disciplinary and institutional boundaries by bringing academics, clinicians, caregivers and students together to address grand social challenges in areas of health and healthcare.
With focused programming that explores strategies for promoting, sustaining, and reimagining health and resilience in individuals and communities, the initiative grew from the mission of the Institute for Humanities Research to promote transdisciplinary, publicly-engaged collaborations and projects that advance the common good. Leveraging ASU's developing partnership with Mayo Clinic in Arizona, the initiative sponsors collaborative programming and has helped to make possible the launch of the new ASU Health Humanities Certificate in 2018-19. This kind of collaboration is unique, and has begun to establish ASU as an innovative institution in this growing interdisciplinary field. What has happened as ASU researchers and Mayo Clinic faculty and staff have come together to discuss research in areas such as history of medicine, literary and other media representations of health and illness, and bioethics, is a deep cultural shift: a move toward recognizing and re-envisioning the role of empathy, cultural and structural competency, mindfulness, and ethical judgement in all approaches to the challenges of health.
A growing body of evidence suggests that patient outcomes, wellness, and quality of life in medical communities are all enhanced by programs that integrate the humanities and arts into medical training and patient care. Programs that promote humanistic approaches to healthcare also benefit the wider communities that medical facilities serve by contextualizing health as a basic human need. This series of presentations and discussions will bring the Arizona State University (ASU) research and Mayo Clinic healthcare delivery communities together to develop future collaborations between the Center for Humanities in Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Arizona and the Institute for Humanities Research (IHR) at ASU.