Certificate in Health Humanities

The health humanities provide insight into the human condition, suffering, personhood, and our responsibility to each other. They also offer an historical perspective on healthcare. Attention to literature and the arts helps to develop and nurture skills of observation, analysis, empathy, and self-reflection—skills that are essential for humane healthcare. The social sciences increase understanding of how the biosciences and healthcare take place within cultural and social contexts and how culture interacts with the individual experience of illness.

The University’s Certificate in Health Humanities (CHH) is designed for students interested in examining the sociocultural context and historical foundations of medicine and healthcare. The certificate focuses on understanding sociocultural, historical, and philosophical dimensions of health, disease, and disability. It will teach students to use diverse methods of the arts, humanities, and social sciences to explore questions animating medicine, healthcare, and embodied experience.

Students are encouraged to tailor their course of study to their particular interests and goals by taking a thematic cluster of electives, while core courses and a capstone seminar will ensure that they develop depth of understanding in the methods and content of health humanities. Themes students may pursue within the CHH might include bioethics, cross-cultural perspectives on health and healthcare, embodiment and disability, gendered bodies, perspectives on death, religion and health, or visual and literary representations of illness.

Students will consult with the Certificate in Health Humanities advisor to discuss development of the thematic cluster of electives. Inquiries about the CHH may be directed to bioethics@pitt.edu or to the CHH advisor, Jeff Aziz, in the Department of English, which is hosting the certificate.