Activities and Requirements

Weekly Seminar in the M1 and M2 Years

The heart of the Humanities Pathways is a weekly 90-minute seminar in the M1 and M2 years (we will not meet during the week of major exams, and M2s will be excused once they start studying for Step 1 exams). Expect that, on average, you will be spending about 2-3 additional hours per week engaged in preparation and attendance at seminars and classes in the M1 and M2 years. As with all of the Pathways, attendance and engaged and active participation at core seminars or designated learning activities must be ≥75%.

Seminars will be conducted by a variety of faculty and guest facilitators and each Pathway student will design and lead their own session in the M2 year. Sample seminar topics have included:

  • Narrative medicine with Susan Stagno
  • Docent-led tour of a special exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art
  • History of medicine with Jonathan Sadowsky
  • Anthropological critique of medical education with Julia Knopes
  • Reflective writing with Katherine Burke
  • Art therapy and music therapy with therapists from Cleveland Clinic’s Arts & Medicine Institute
  • Film and medicine with Todd Otteson
  • Sessions with guest Poets addressing addiction (Kate Daniels) and perinatal mental health (Alice Sarti)
  • Exploring artifacts at the Dittrick Medical History Center with Director Amanda Mahoney

Additional Humanities-Relevant Coursework

Ideally in the M1 or M2 years, students will take a free course from among CWRU’s rich offerings in a humanities, arts, or social sciences area, broadly defined (for example, history, literature, religion, philosophy, art, music, theater, anthropology, sociology, public health, etc.). Upon completion of the course, students will need to submit a brief reflection to the Pathway director in which they relate what they learned in the course to medicine, broadly conceived. Students may opt instead to take a 1.5 credit Seminar in Medical/Health Humanities in the M1 or M2 year which will require them to participate in, and reflect on, health humanities programming and events of their choosing across the academic year.

Scholarly or Creative Project

By the time they graduate, students in the Pathway will complete a substantive scholarly or creative project of their choosing, under the guidance of a faculty advisor, which will result in a shareable end product. The project may take many forms. For example, it might involve some form of health/medical humanities-relevant formal research shared via a conference presentation or formal publication; the development of curriculum for the Pathway, medical school, or residency, which might be tested on current Pathway students; or a creative venture involving writing, art, music, etc. shared via performance or publication. The final project should be the result of well-planned, purposeful work, which may involve the student’s fourth year research block if desired.

Funded Extracurricular Opportunities

While participation in the weekly seminar is not required past the M2 year, all students in the Pathway are welcome to attend at any time. There will additionally be free opportunities to participate in special events and opportunities, such as such as programming at the Cleveland Museum of Art or the Dittrick Museum of Medical History, performances by the Cleveland Orchestra or at Playhouse Square, and intimate gatherings with guest speakers brought in for large public events. If the budget allows, there may also be some support available to facilitate student participation in national and international health humanities-relevant conferences.

End-of-Year Celebration and Evaluation

At the end of each year, the Pathway will celebrate the M4s as they move on to their residencies, and all students will complete an end-of-year reflective evaluation.