Health Humanities and its Satisfactions

Johanna Shapiro, Ph.D.

It is always a mixed blessing to revisit old work. On occasion, you are struck by how smart you used to be. More commonly, you regret turns of phrase, perhaps a lack of nuance or subtlety of argument, even entire conceptualizations. In the case of “Medical Humanities and Its Discontents,” the article is an accurate reflection of the authors’ personal intersections with medical humanities at the time of its publication. However, upon rereading, I’m struck by its pessimism. Even its recommendations fall more within the realm of wish fulfillment than actuality. Fortunately, in the past 5 years, from my perspective the field has taken great strides toward addressing our earlier concerns and implementing our idealistic vision. Given the chance, I would modify the article in several ways.

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