Whither medical humanities? Navjeevan Singh reflects on the importance of including the humanities in the medical curriculum in India

Dr Satendra Singh, Assistant Professor of Physiology at the University College of Medical Sciences at the University of Delhi, writes: The current issue of the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics contains an essay “Whither Medical Humanities?” by Prof Navjeevan Singh, Coordinator, Medical Education Unit and founder Medical Humanities Group. It’s been 3 years since we started this endeavor and the article covers in depth our experiences and challenges.

Abstract: Understanding the Medical Humanities (MH) and their role in medical education is in its infancy in India. Students are initiated into professional (medical) education too early in life, usually at the expense of a basic grounding in the humanities, resulting in warped intellectual growth. The author, arguing against the wholesale import of foreign systems, advocates free inquiry by medical educators to evolve a humanities programme for medical students derived from our own cultural context. This essay describes the early experiences of efforts to make a beginning at the University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi. The author reviews the various strategies used and the challenges of introducing the subject to the current generation of medical students.

Read the full essay here.

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