SIU School of Medicine

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Department of Medical Humanities

The Mission of the Department of Medical Humanities is to ensure critical dialog about health, health care and the human condition.

The Department of Medical Humanities at Southern Illinois University offers a curriculum designed to provide medical students with a core knowledge in the humanities, emphasizing application of the content and methodologies of humanities disciplines to the practice of medicine. These humanities disciplines include: ethics, health policy, medical history, medical jurisprudence, psychosocial care, and religious studies.




Christine Todd, MD and Carolyn Pointer, JD will be attending the 2016 "Beyond Flexner" Conference in Miami during September, 2016. The SIU Medical School has been a part of this national movement since September of 2011, when a site visit team chose the medical school to become a participant because of its "stated commitment to local and regional care, deliberate recruitment of underrepresented minorities and students from rural backgrounds...and its focus on primary care education." From the 2016 Beyond Flexner informational website:

The broad themes of social mission include social determinants of health, community engagement, disparity reduction, diversity promotion and value-based health care. Interprofessional education and practice are essential components of a transformed health system.


Bethany Spielman and Carolyn Pointer, Medical Humanities, co-authored an article that was published in the Summer 2016 issue of The Journal of Clinical Ethics titled Gender and Race in the Timing of Requests for Ethics Consultations: A Single-Center Study” by Bethany Spielman, Christine Gorka, Keith Miller, Carolyn A. Pointer, and Barbara Hinze.



Coming October 20, 2016!

LeighTurner, PhD, MA, University of Minnesota, Center for Bioethics is this year's Ryan Bioethicist-in-Residence.  Dr. Turner's presentation on medical tourism will be held on Thursday, October 20, 2016, at 9:00 am in the South Auditorium at SIU's School of Medicine. Dr. Turner is being presented at the School of Medicine in conjunction with the School of Law at SIU in Carbondale.


In November, Gary Cumberland, MD, will be featured as the Pearson Museum guest lecturer. Dr. Cumberland, an SIU School of Medicine alum, worked for 25 years as a forensic pathologist, publishing a book on the subject: My Life With Death: Memoirs of a Journeyman Medical Examiiner. This year's Pearson Lecture looks to be as interesting and engaging as usual. Be watching here for more complete information.


TED Talk: Living, Dying and the Problem with Hope

Published on Jan 11, 2016

Dr. Leslie Blackhall, Head of Palliative Care at the University of Virginia, believes that accepting dying as a part of life allows us to achieve a fuller and richer life with the days that we live.


Food Insecurity

Sound & Query features an interview with Penny White, from the Department of Medical Humanities, about the problem of food insecurity and what can be done locally to help.

download (Duration: 19:56 min, 27.4 MB)


MD-JD Program at SIU's Medical School / Legal School

Dr. Christine Todd interviews Dr. Charles Ellington about the program that confers a medical degree and a legal degree upon the student:

Charles Ellington, MD


Law and Medicine

Carolyn Pointer, JD

Carolyn Pointer, JD, Assistant Professor in Medical Humanites, discusses the importance of law and medicine working together for medical students as well as for the community.

download (Duration: 21.03 min - begins @ .51)

Patient Safety

Stacy Sattovia, MD

Stacy Sattovia, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, discusses patient safety with Christine Todd, MD.

download (Duration: 32.05 min)