The second medical humanities course for the Medical Humanities Certificate, issues in American healthcare through film, will debut this summer.

Currently, there is only one required course for the certificate, intro to medical humanities, according to the certificate’s course plan. Students take courses from different departments to complete the certificate.

Sonja Watson, College of Liberal Arts associate dean of academic affairs, said the course is being offered as a medical humanities elective to expand the course offerings for the certificate.

Watson said they decided to choose American healthcare as the focus of the course for its relevance.

“The topic of American healthcare is timely and affects everyone,” she said.

Public health junior Saira Sundrani said she took medical humanities professor Steven Gellman’s intro to medical humanities course in the fall and plans to take issues in American healthcare through film as well.

“I’m looking forward to gaining more perspective,” she said. “Things aren’t always black and white like people in society try to make them to be. Everyone has a story.”

Gellman said each class will feature a film showcasing a topic in healthcare, followed by class-led discussion.

At the end of the course, students will need to hone their creative skills to produce a short film created on a personal device that relates to a current health issue, he said.

Gellman said in today’s modern age, students may be more interested in watching films and videos rather than reading a book.

He said most of the films will tackle different healthcare-related issues such as nutrition, surrogacy and fertility, gender and identity, death and dying, medical ethics, and doctor-patient relationships.

One of the films planned for the course is FIXED, a documentary exploring the implications of emerging human enhancement technologies.

He said they will also show Super Size Me, a documentary examining the fast food industry’s — specifically McDonald’s — influence on health.

Gellman said he encourages any undergraduate students interested in film or the health field to take the course.

He said his approach to the course is to make it lively, fun and engaging.

“If I just stood in front of a class and made lectures, that would be boring,” he said. “When they become engaged and active in the program, I think it’s a better experience for everybody.”


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