Education in the Humanities is vital to students who aspire to enter medical and caring professions, as it provides insight into the human condition and promotes essential skills in critical thinking, communication, empathy, self-reflection, and shared responsibility. In response to this need, the University of Puerto Rico’s Río Piedras Campus has partnered with its Medical Sciences Campus to develop the two-year NEH funded project, Humanities and the Healing Arts: Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. This project:
-creates a multidisciplinary learning environment for 15 professors in diverse fields—ten from the Humanities at the Río Piedras Campus and five from the Medical Sciences Campus—to discuss a set of scholarly readings related to the human condition and the art of healing;
-stimulates dialogue between professors in the Humanities and Medical Sciences;
-hosts public lectures from seven guest speakers followed by week-long faculty development seminars;
-mobilizes interdisciplinary teams to design curricular materials that incorporate the contexts of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean into the field of Medical Humanities;
-and creates seven new interdisciplinary undergraduate courses that students of any major can take as free electives or as part of a 15 credit (5 course) curricular sequence.
The project conducts outreach via an online discussion platform and makes digital video recordings of guest lectures available publicly through the University of Puerto Rico library system. By generating an intercampus network of communication and collaboration between the Humanities and Sciences that reflects a growing trend in medical studies curriculum worldwide, the project is anticipated to have an enduring impact. It is also expected to make a unique contribution to the international field of Medical Humanities by including an emphasis on the artistic production and medical history of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.