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Evolution in Health and Medical Humanities education: a proposal for accreditation
  1. Sarah L Berry1,
  2. Anna-leila Williams2,
  3. Erin Gentry Lamb3,
  4. Craig M Klugman4
  1. 1 Independent Scholar Program, New London, Connecticut, USA
  2. 2 Medical Sciences, Quinnipiac University Frank H Netter MD School of Medicine, Hamden, Connecticut, USA
  3. 3 School of Medicine, Department of Bioethics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  4. 4 Health Sciences, DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Craig M Klugman, Health Sciences, DePaul University, Chicago, IL 60614, USA; cklugman{at}


The growth of Health and Medical Humanities baccalaureate and master’s degrees in recent decades makes the present moment ideal for initiating field-defining conversations among health humanities constituents about the boundaries of this transdisciplinary field. Focusing on accreditation at the programme level rather than the individual level, we explore four models with different advantages for Health and Medical Humanities: a certification for practice; a network (umbrella organisation); a programme of merit (POM) model; and consultancy. We conclude that for a young field like health humanities that is transdisciplinary, does not have an established canon and does not lead to entry to a specific professional path (ie, gatekeeping), the POM model is the best fit. In contrast to a full accreditation model, POM credentialling leaves room for creativity, expansiveness, and diversity of approaches and will not restrict programmes from calling themselves health humanities programmes; POM enhances visibility rather than decides who can teach in the field and what they must teach. To implement this model, we suggest the creation of a semi-independent Health and Medical Humanities Program Accreditation Commission (HMHPAC) that would be administered by the Health Humanities Consortium. The HMHPAC should have three goals: ensure that health humanities educational programmes are of the highest quality, assist programmes in acquiring the resources they need from their institutions and help programmes attract potential students.

  • Education
  • Medical humanities
  • health care education
  • inter-professional education

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article.

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Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article.

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  • Contributors All authors were equally involved with conceiving of the concept, writing the text, editing the text, and giving final approval. EGL wrote the beginning, ending and led proof-reading. SLB looked at the comparative programmes and wrote the comparison of models section. A-W wrote the background. CK wrote the accreditation recommendation for implementation section. CK is the guarantor for this paper; he takes full responsibility for the work and/or the conduct of the study, had access to the data, and controlled the decision to publish.

  • 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.

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