A Humanistic Approach to Medicine

What is the good we seek in the practice of medicine? How is this practice both an art and a science? What is the meaning of life, suffering, flourishing, and death? What does it mean to care for a person? What is the truth that grounds our scientific inquiry? How is science related to other approaches to truth?  

We live in a world in which scientific knowledge is growing alongside deepening doubts about that knowledge, in a world of complex medical treatments and growing concerns about medical ethics and the wholistic treatment of patients. Medical Humanities introduces students to an exploration of the human good and of shared truth. Students are shaped by the integrated pursuit of goodness and truth. Through this, they are prepared to treat patients as a whole person. Grounded in Augustinian values, our Medical Humanities cohort shapes students so that they can live out the Villanova mission and “apply their knowledge and skills… to better the human condition” for their patients and for the world.

All Medical Humanities students begin their course of studies following the Examined Life Sequence of the Good and the True. Students in CLAS continue into the “Beautiful” (fulfilling the sophomore writing requirement), and HON Ethics 2050; College of Nursing students continue into PHI 2115 for Clinical Ethics for Medical Professionals. Those students who choose to pursue a Medical Humanities Minor take the Junior Tutorial The Good Doctor-PHI 2117.

Medical Humanities aims to shape students for careers as nurses, doctors, public health administrators, and those working in fields based in scientific research. Those who are interested can deepen their exploration with a Medical Humanities Minor, which is a particularly fruitful course of studies for those planning to attend medical school. These schools increasingly seek applicants with a broad humanistic approach to medical care and who are adept at thinking through emerging questions in medical ethics. 

Villanova University
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800 Lancaster Ave.
Villanova, PA 19085

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