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Medical themes in a literature classroom: An alternate perspective on Medical Humanities pedagogy in India

Gayathri Prabhu

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2018.060


This article examines the transferability of conversations in literary studies to a more sensitive, holistic, ethically informed, medical education. The article begins with a discussion of a class assignment on medical humanities in a literature course. The assignment enabled an immersive engagement with medical discourse by diverse students through different modes – through textual analysis, direct, and reflective encounters with communities of patients, caregivers, health professionals. The effort was to suggest that literature and medicine be studied as continuous shared strategies of reading and narrating lived experiences of health and illness. The insights of such learning should ideally be integral to the curriculum of medical students in India. Though the Medical Council of India’s mandate for the humanities is inadequately sketched out, it nevertheless provides an opportunity to demand a larger citizenship and broader base of social sensitivity and knowledge for medical humanities.

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