Brief History of The School of Medicine Program in Medical Humanities and Arts

In the late 1990s, I thought I might have come to the end of my career at UCI. I’d worked for 20 years as a behavioral health specialist in Family Medicine, had earned tenure, had published many papers, taught many residents, served as interim chair of my department, and as co-director of a large required patient-doctor course. I’d accomplished what I’d set out to do, but could see no place I wanted to go. I was seriously thinking of leaving the university. My husband asked me if, before I left, there was anything more I wanted to do, as I might not have the chance to work in an academic setting again. I said, “I’d like to teach a course on literature and medicine.” He told me I should do it, so I filled out all the multitudinous elective forms CEP required, and in the fall of 1999 taught the first Patient Stories/Doctor Stories elective in the School of Medicine. It enrolled 3 students, two of whom rarely showed up, so for many sessions it was just Aparche Yang and me. Aparche seemed to enjoy the experience reasonably well, but I loved it!