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.



March 2, 2015: Year 4 Medical Humanities Clerkship begins (3/2-3/13/2015). Please contact Phillip V. Davis, PhD, Curriculum Director, Year 4 or Jo Powers, Medical Humanities Curriculum Coordinator, with questions about the upcoming clerkship.


Medical Humanities Year 4 Clerkship welcomes Dr. Starla Fitch, SIU Class of '87 on 3/2. Dr. Fitch will speak to the Class of '15 about Work/Life Balance for Physicians. Dr. Fitch is a board certified ophthalmologist who completed a fellowship in oculoplastic surgery at Eye Plastic Surgery Associates in Dallas after an internship at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston. . She also has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southwestern Louisiana and a master of science degree from Texas A & M University.

Dr. Fitch created, an online community for doctors and doctors-in-training, nurses and other health care professionals and patients who want to bring back humanity to health care.


On March 3, the clerkship will host the Visiting Professor for Health Policy, Kemia Sarraf, MD, MPH. Dr. Sarraf will speak to the Year 4 students on Community Engagement: Innovative Preventive Medicine. Dr. Sarraf is the Coalition Founder and President of genHkids.Based in Springfield, genHkids "is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization founded in October 2008 to address serious child health issues in Sangamon County, specifically shortcomings in areas of child nurition, physical activity and health education."


Friday, March 6, Thaddeus M. Pope, PhD, MA, JD, BA joins us as the John and Marsha Ryan Bioethicist in Residence Distinguished Visiting Lecturer. Dr. Pope will speak to the students on the subject of Medical Futility-Policy Implications. Dr. Pope holds the position of Director of the Health Law Institute and Associate Professor of Law, both at Hamline University, Saint Paul, MN.


As the LeBlang Distinguished Lecturer, Wendy Parmet, JD's topic is: Reflections on a Panic Foretold: Ebola in the US on Tuesday, 3/10. She is the George J. and Kathleen Waters Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Law and is a Professor of Law at Northeaster University. Parmet directs the Northeastern University School of Law JD/MPH Program (with Tufts Univ. School of Medicine) as well as the Program on Health Policy and Law. She co-authored Ethical Health Care (Prentice Hall, 2005), Debates on U.S. Health Care (Sage Press, 2012) and author of Populations, Public Health, and the Law (Georgetown University Press, 2009).