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The authors of this edition’s Education and debate paper were inspired to develop an optional literature and medicine course for undergraduate medical students after hearing a talk by colleagues from Birmingham: one group of passionate educators acting as role models for another.1 Whether through conferences, peer reviewed publications, or word of mouth, medical humanities educators are sharing with each other ideas, resources, and lessons learnt, and this generosity and enthusiasm is to be encouraged.
Equally important, however, is the need to ensure that the pedagogical principles underlying the development, delivery, and evaluation of these courses are sound, and that the theoretical, conceptual work of medical humanities research supports the choice of both the learning objectives and the teaching process. Given the proliferation of arts and humanities based courses for health care professionals in the UK it is perhaps timely to review the sorts of questions such research might entail. The ideas that follow are offered in the hope of stimulating debate about what constitutes the medical humanities research agenda; the interrelationship between the research and teaching agenda; how medical educators can actively engage with those already undertaking this research, and how …
Education and debate is edited by Deborah Kirklin and Richard Meakin. Contributions should be sent to either of the editors at: The Centre for Medical Humanities, Department of Primary Care and Population Studies, Royal Free & University College Medical School, Archway Campus, 4th Floor, Holborn Union Building, Highgate Hill, London N19 3UA, UK;;