Medical Humanities Program connects art to medicine

Miguel Robles

The Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies’ theme for the 2016-2017 school year is Health, Medicine and the Humanities.

The aim of the program is to inform those who attend their specialized events about the ways in which the arts and humanities can contribute to a better understanding how the issues of illness and healing are
experienced, according to the Institute’s website. 

The Institute plans to focus on the representation of practices across different cultures throughout history.

There is also an increase in the use of literature, visual arts, philosophy and theatre in the education of health professionals to illustrate the history and experience of human illnesses and treatments, according to the institute's website.

The program hopes to attract a wide variety of not only students but health practitioners, scholars and other members of Central Texas communities through various events planned throughout the year.

Rita Charon, a professor at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, will be featured in the program’s first three events of the semester.

Charon founded a program similar to TILTS at Columbia that integrates storytelling into the care of patients, and she will be helping to implement UT’s program. 

The first event will be Charon’s participation in the public forum “What is a Caring Society?” along with sociology professor Sheldon Ekland-Olson and Simone Talma Flowers, executive director of Interfaith Action of Central Texas, on Sept. 19 in the Quadrangle Room in the Texas Union building at 7 p.m.