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Courses, content, and a student essay in medical humanities
  1. V J Grant1,
  2. A Jackson2,
  3. T Suk3
  1. 1Health Psychology, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland 1 New Zealand
  2. 2University of Waikato and Medical Humanities Programme, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, Univesity of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
  3. 3T Suk was a second-year medical student in 2000 when she wrote her essay, “Two Patients in Two Rooms with Two Choices and Two Ends”.
  1. Correspondence to:
 V J Grant, Health Psychology, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1, New Zealand;


Two principled decisions underlay the introduction of the new compulsory medical humanities course. First, it was decided, all lecturers must be trained in the discipline; second, the course content must be relevant to medicine. This paper gives details of the content of eight selective courses. There is also an example of an essay by one of the students, Tiffany Suk. Entitled “Two patients in two rooms with two choices and two ends”, it is a brief analysis and critique of Sylvia Plath's poems Tulips and Contusion. It shows how the student took what she had learned from her course in health psychology to further illuminate the poems. The essay is followed by comments from the lecturer, Anna Jackson, giving the context for the essay and her assessment of it.

  • Medical humanities
  • medical curriculum

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