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Department of Humanities

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Humanities at Penn State College of Medicine

The mission of the Department of Humanities is to advance humanism in medicine and society.

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When Penn State College of Medicine opened its doors in 1967, the Department of Humanities was one of its founding departments. In fact, it was the first Department of Humanities ever to be included in a college of medicine in the United States.

Faculty members have backgrounds in anthropology, literature, pedagogy, clinical medicine, philosophy, ethics, cultural studies, women’s and gender studies, psychology and nursing.

Collectively, we pursue scholarship to advance knowledge, improve teaching, and contribute to our community on local, national, and international levels.

Bernice Hausman, PhD, is chair of the Department of Humanities at Penn State College of Medicine. She is pictured wearing a professional outfit and scarf.
Bernice Hausman, PhD, Chair, Humanities

Our research topics include graphic medicine; vaccination controversy; child abuse; end-of-life decision making; ethical, legal and social implications of genomic research; nursing and nurse relationships; Alzheimer’s and dementia care and experience; professional identity formation among medical students; and race and social justice, among other topics. We also reach into the health care setting to improve patient and provider experience with programs focusing on compassion and empathy, often using arts and music.

In the wake of protests against the murder of George Floyd in summer 2020, we are rededicating ourselves to antiracist teaching and research. The humanities offer rich disciplinary perspectives on the history of racial injustice in the United States, ongoing discriminatory practices faced by people of color in health care and the joyful and painful artistic expressions of exploited peoples. Together, we commit to challenging racist structures in medicine and society.

The Department of Humanities is all around you. Join us as we work to advance humanism in medicine and society.

Bernice L. Hausman, PhD
Humanities Department Chair
Penn State College of Medicine

Contact us to find out more

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Faculty and staff of the Penn State College of Medicine Department of Humanities are pictured outdoors in 2019.
Faculty and staff of the Department of Humanities, November 2019

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