Lisa Jadwin (English), Program Director

Faculty Advisors: David Baronov (Sociology), Bruce Blaine (Statistics), Edward Freeman (Biology), Rubén Gómez (Modern Languages and Cultures), Mary Loporcaro (Media and Communication),* Barbara Lowe (Philosophy),** Timothy Madigan (Philosophy), Dawn Rager (Psychology), Barbara Rockell (Sociology), Carolyn Vacca (History)

*On leave, Fall 2016
**On leave, Spring 2017

Program Overview

  • Is health care a human right?
  • Should health care providers be entitled to refuse care that they feel is ethically questionable?
  • How ethically sound are cloning, genetic testing, and fertility treatments?
  • When does life begin and end, and should humans intervene in these natural processes?
  • Should human population growth be engineered, controlled, or allowed to flourish unchecked?
  • What roles do the mind and spirit play in disease, recovery, and wellness?
  • What do the world’s great religious traditions have to say about health and healing?

These questions remind us of the extent to which bioethics affects our lives. In our technologically sophisticated times, the pursuit of scientific knowledge for its own sake can sometimes lead to unintended consequences. The humanities and arts provide insight into the human condition, suffering, personhood, and our responsibility to each other and offer a historical perspective on medical practice. Attention to literature and other arts help to develop and nurture skills of observation, analysis, empathy, and self-reflection skills that are essential for humane medical care. The social sciences help us to understand how bioscience and medicine take place within cultural and social contexts and how culture interacts with the individual experience of illness and the way medicine is practiced.

Scientific research and practice has major social implications that bear on humanities disciplines ranging from ethics and history to religious studies and literature. Students electing the health and humanities minor will take a curriculum that includes 19 credit hours, beginning with an introductory course on basic ideas of bioethics, followed by a choice of other relevant courses, and capped with an integrative course involving original research by the student.

The minor is suitable for students in almost any major, especially students going on to further academic work or careers in teaching, research, health care, the life sciences, informatics, law, communications, accounting, and more.

Health and Humanities (Minor)

For More Information

Lisa Jadwin
Program Director
(585) 385-8192

(585) 385-8064