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News from the Department

Beckman appointed medical humanities program director

| September 22, 2016

Emily Beckman

The IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI has named Professor Emily Beckman as director of the Medical Humanities and Health Studies (MHHS) Program.

Beckman is an assistant clinical professor of medical humanities and health studies and also serves in the role of adjunct assistant professor with the Department of Medicine in the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Medical humanities and health studies focuses on educating students and the public about the broader role of health and medicine in today’s world. Humanities courses raise questions of how human beings deal with health, medical intervention, illness and death. Social science courses provide insight into the social, economic and cultural contexts of health, illness and health care.

“Professor Beckman has done a great deal to grow our Medical Humanities and Health Studies program, develop curriculum, recruit and advise students, and champion the degree across units on campus,” said Kristy Horn Sheeler, associate dean for academic programs in the School of Liberal Arts. “She is the perfect person to lead the program into the future and I am delighted she has accepted the position as our next director.”

In recent years Beckman has worked to raise the profile of medical humanities at IUPUI and nationally. An example of Beckman's work and the way in which medical humanities connects health and well-being with humanities is a recent collaborative project, "Voices from Central State.” Made up of a series of events, “Voices from Central State” brings together experts in medical humanities, museum studies, and history to investigate mental health and mental illness. Driving this project is a series of writings by patients at Indiana’s flagship mental institution, Central State Hospital (1848-1994), which provide a rare opportunity to explore and assess patient experiences of mental health care. The series kicked off on August 26 and continues Sept. 26 with artist Nanny Vonnegut presenting her grandmother Riah Cox’s memoir, “I Remember Jones,” written about Cox's hospitalization at Central State in the 1940s.

“With a growing interdisciplinary Medical Humanities and Health Studies major, and a new graduate certificate in Medical Humanities, the MHHS Program, in partnership with the largest medical school in the country, is positioned to become a leader in Medical Humanities education, research and scholarship,” says Beckman.

Beckman replaces Professor William Schneider, the program's founding director, who will continue to teach in and serve MHHS as a member of the faculty.