Humanities Institute

About Health Humanities

The emerging trans-disciplinary field of Health Humanities explores and promotes relationships among the arts and humanities on the one hand and health and health care on the other. The substance, methods and passions of the humanities have the potential to transform health care for all by enhancing human connections, deepening the capacity for empathy, and improving our understanding of the cultural and social contexts in which health, illness, and care occur. At the same time, focusing on health and health care can reinvigorate and reveal new relevance for humanities scholarship and teaching in a society increasingly dominated by STEM fields.

Our Health Humanities initiatives have convened researchers, educators, and students from colleges and schools across campus to explore the crucial significance of stories and storytelling, to investigate how humanities training can advance inquiries into health disparities, and to address the roles played by racism and ableism, among other forms of discrimination, in health care. We have also sought to foster partnerships among researchers, practitioners, artists, and community organizations. 

The Humanities Institute aims to establish a community of humanities scholars and medical professionals committed to defining the future of the Health Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin. To this end, HI has collaborated with Dell Medical School, the Steve Hicks School of Social Work, the College of Natural Sciences, the department of Public Health, the UT Environmental Clinic, the College of Communication, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Nursing, the Bridging Disciplines Program in the College of Undergraduate Studies, Planet Texas 2050, and other departments, colleges, and researchers on interdisciplinary events, workshops, and programs. For more information on these collaborations, please visit our Health Humanities Events page and our related programs pages.

Health Humanities Programs & Initiatives


Health Humanities Research Seminar

Communities of Care Initiative


2018 Health & Humanities Pop-Up Institute

2016-2018 Faculty Fellows Seminar

Visiting Artist & Storytelling Series 

Narrative Medicine: Close Reading, Expressive Writing Elective



Health & Humanities Pop-Up Institute Symposium

Dr. Jonathan MetzlJonathan Metzl delivered his keynote lecture, "Structural Competency, 5 Years On: Tracking a New Medical Approach to Stigma and Inequality" at the culminating Symposium for May 2018's Pop-Up Institute. Dr. Metzl is the Frederick B. Rentschler II Professor of Sociology and Psychiatry, and the Director of the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society, at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Health, Well-Being, Healing

Alondra Nelson delivered the keynote lecture "The Social Life of DNA"  during the the Humanities Institute Spring 2018 Distinguished Visting Lectures in "Health, Well-Being, Healing." Nelson is a professor of sociology and the inaugral Dean of Science at Columbia University. 

Looking for more upcoming Health Humanities events and lectures? Check the Health Humanities Events Page

Related Programs

Distinguished Visiting Lecture Series 2016-2018

Cline Visiting Centennial Professorship 2016-2017


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  • Humanities Institute

    University of Texas at Austin
    Office Address: SAC 4.138
    Mailcode F1900
    Austin, Texas 78712