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Evolution in Health and Medical Humanities education: a proposal for accreditation


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

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