Med Humanities 27:93-98 doi:10.1136/mh.27.2.93

‘Developing the medical humanities’–report of a research colloquium, and collected abstracts of papers

  1. Martyn Evans,
  2. David Greaves
  1. University of Wales Swansea, Swansea

      A research colloquium, sponsored jointly by the University of Wales and the Nuffield Trust, took place at Gregynog Hall, Powys, during early May 2001. The purpose of the meeting was to provide the opportunity for an intensive exploration of how the medical humanities could, as a recently emerging field of inquiry, best be developed into a worthwhile area of university-based teaching and research. The invited participants, primarily from United Kingdom universities but with a significant delegation of academics from Finland as well as individual thinkers from outside the university system, met to consider practical, methodological and theoretical or philosophical questions about the nature, scope and prospects of medical humanities as an academic undertaking.

      This was the second meeting of this kind, the first having led directly to the publication of the first post-introductory volume of papers from the current medical humanities movement1 and, indirectly, to the founding of this journal.

      In this year's meeting, most research contributions concerned educational matters including whether there could be a “core curriculum” for medical humanities and whether medical humanities should be considered as belonging to the core of medical education.

      Other questions included the nature of the relationship between humanities, healthy communities and the social goods supporting wellbeing; the problem of detached bureaucratic regulation of practice, and how it and its fixation with numerical measurement may best be understood and dealt with, and the nature and explanatory possibilities of the relationship between the metaphors used by patients and practitioners in the clinical consultation.

      Abstracts of these presentations follow.

      The Medical Humanities as part of the ‘core’ curriculum

      Jane Macnaughton

      The General Medical Council's (GMC) 1993 guidance document, Tomorrow's Doctors, set out the principle that the undergraduate medical curriculum should include material that was either of “core” relevance to the creation of a generic doctor, or that would be of …