New USM Minors Look at Well being and Properly-being from Interdisciplinary Views

Fri, July 16, 2021 – 4:17 pm | By: Ivonne Kawas Prado

After a global pandemic; As we prioritize the need to rethink health, wellbeing, disease and medical care, areas of study at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) can help us broaden our perspectives and gain insights into the humanistic and social aspects of life.

USM’s Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies and Professional Development (ISPD) is introducing two new minor subjects to introduce students to various approaches in the Health, Wellbeing, and Medicine degree programs, including: Health and medical humanities and Social sciences and medicine. The minors will be available from autumn 2021.

“In recent years, medical schools have increasingly recognized the value of the humanities and social sciences. But in 2021, after experiencing a global pandemic, we will all be able to appreciate interdisciplinary perspectives on health, disease and medicine, “said Dr. Ann Marie Kinnell, Director of the ISPD.

“The new minor subjects leverage the interdisciplinary potential of USM given the number of faculty members whose creative, research and teaching activities already have an interdisciplinary approach to health and medicine,” she added.

Such interdisciplinary minor subjects are now available at several institutions across the country, including Vanderbilt University, Furman University, Northern Kentucky University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Indiana University, East Tennessee State University, Marquette University, and the University of Miami.

In the basic course, the minor subjects enable all students to gain an insight into their own and others’ experiences with illness, disability and medical treatment; pre-professional health, nursing, and public health students prepare for their careers and strengthen their applications for medical schools and other graduate programs; Humanities and social sciences majors develop interdisciplinary skills for careers that include writing, charitable fundraising and communication, and government and nonprofit development.

Health and medical humanities

The new Minor Health and Medical Humanities examines health, disease and medical care from a social and cultural perspective by studying English, history, philosophy, sociology and the arts.

“This new minor is a great preparation for those interested in the health professions, but will also interest any students who want to understand humanistic notions of health and embodiment and think about how medicine interferes with our embodied lives,” said Dr. Emily Stanback, Health and Medical Humanities Minor Coordinator and Associate Professor of English.

Some of the course offerings have students:

  • Discuss bioethical issues in contemporary medicine;
  • Explore the literature on disability, mental illness, and death, and learn the history of medical practice and ethics.
  • Addressing systemic health problems and how race, class, disability, gender and sexuality can affect medical access and care;
  • Understand the elements of effective communication between clinicians and patients and how the narrative shapes the doctor-patient relationship; and
  • Study the arts in therapeutic settings and learn how creative expression can contribute to individual and collective wellbeing.

The minor includes 18 hours of compulsory and elective subjects. Interested students are encouraged to contact the program coordinator, Dr.% 20Stanback.

Learn more about the Minor Health and Medical Humanities.

Social sciences and medicine

The new social sciences and medicine minor allows students to delve deeper into the complex social aspects of medicine and how it affects health care and its recipients.

“Students in this minor will learn to identify and analyze the social, behavioral and cultural factors that influence how people from different backgrounds perceive and experience health and disease,” said Dr. Mehdi Barati, coordinator of the social sciences and medicine minor and assistant professor of economics. “You get the opportunity to look at health and illness from an integrated, social science perspective.”

Some of the course offerings have students:

  • Understand the cultural implications of healthcare experiences;
  • Be equipped to enter and navigate the healthcare system;
  • Understand the social context of health in our society; and
  • Understand how economic and social forces affect health outcomes.

The minor includes 18 hours of compulsory and elective subjects. Interested students are encouraged to contact the program coordinator, Dr.% 20Barati.

Find out more about the social sciences and medicine minor.

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