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Editor’s note: new in 2019
  1. Brandy Schillace
  1. BMJ Medical Humanities Journal, BMA House, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Brandy Schillace, Editor in Chief, Medical Humanities Journal, BMA House, London, UK; bls10{at}

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Welcome to the 45th volume of Medical Humanities! In the 2019 issues, we look forward to several new and exciting developments. In January, we (re)launched the Medical Humanities Podcast, which will now appear monthly, and we are pleased to present the first instalment of the Research Forum (RF).

In this issue, following the original articles, you will see Research Forum: Being Well Together by Guest Editors Neil Pemberton and Robert Kirk. This RF examines the myriad ways humans have formed partnerships with non-human species to improve health across time and place. Like our June and December special issues, the RF will offer themed content, but with an important change of focus. We intend this section to foster rolling dialogue between and among our readers and authors, allowing for real-time responses in the form of online commentaries and blog posts. To that end, the RF will appear in each 2019 issue, three articles at a time. For March, Kirk and Pemberton provide us with an introduction, followed by two further papers—one by Justyna Wlodarczyk called ‘When Pigs Fly’ (about animal companions) and another by Pemberton, ‘Co-Creating Guide Dog Partnerships’ in the 1930s. We encourage you to engage with these articles and also to respond, either through commentaries submitted to the journal system or by contacting me directly about blog pieces. We look forward to offering a themed RF in our subsequent volumes as well.

These forum pieces are joined by this issue’s original research articles, including several addressing popular fiction, such as Dr Rebecca Beirne’s ‘Extraordinary Minds Impossible Choices: Mental Health, Special Skills and Television’, Anna Obergfell Kirkman’s article addressing The Fault in our Stars, and Lisa Jane Mullen’s neurological reading of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Meanwhile, Ricardo Ayala looks at 20 years of ‘Management of Care’ in Chile, and Adam Komorowski takes a further view of history in ‘A Politics of the Senses: the political role of the Kings Evil in Richard Wiseman’s Several Chirurgicall Treatises’. Several pieces in this issue also address care and practice, from Sarah Atkinson’s ‘Vulnerability as Practice in Diagnosing Multiple Conditions’ to Iliya Gutin’s ‘Essential(ist) Medicine: Promoting Social Explanations for Racial Variation in Biomedical Research’ and Jane Palmer’s ‘Participatory Zeitgeist: An explanatory model of change in an era of coproduction and codesign in healthcare improvement’. We are pleased to offer both the breadth and the depth that our standard issue (with Research Forum) provides, and hope you will enjoy reading as much as we have enjoyed producing them.

Finally, our 2019 volume looks forward to two special issues, one in June on biopolitics and psychosomatics, and another in December that will consider the varied medical and cultural aspects of hearing impairment. We continue to invite and welcome works from our international colleagues and look forward to your submissions of individual papers and also of special themed issues and forums. Thank you for joining us.


  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.