DALLAS TWP. — Almost 23 months to the day after announcing plans for the only Medical and Health Humanities bachelor’s degree program in Pennsylvania, Misericordia University touted a federal grant just shy of six figures awarded to boost the program, which is finishing its first full year.
The university nabbed a $99,985 “Connections Implementation” grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. A media release says the money will help revise the curriculum “to address urgent global health issues through expanded experiential learning opportunities.”
Misericordia announced the new degree program May 10, 2016, along with two other health care programs: a “patient navigator ” specialization in the bachelor of health science degree, and a bachelor of science degree in diagnostic sonography, better known as ultrasound.
At the time, assistant English Professor Amanda Caleb described the Medical and Health Humanities bachelor’s degree as an “interdisciplinary and inter-professional program that focuses on the human, and on human dignity, with regards to health and illness.” Caleb, who became the program director, said the idea would be to look “at health and illness through social, cultural, spiritual, philosophical and historical context.”
The program began last fall. Students can get a bachelor of arts in Medical and Health Humanities, in Pre-law Medical and Health Humanities, and in Pre-Doctor of Physical Therapy Medical and Health Humanities. They can also take a 15-credit minor in humanities or health and social science degrees.
The grant will help the university revise three existing courses and add eight new ones, including Health Disparities; Environmental Health; Race, Gender and Health; Health and Human Rights; Global Health Populations; Modern Epidemics and Pandemics; Introduction to Medical Geography; and Introduction to U.S. Health Policy.
The grant “will support a revised curriculum that challenges students to understand how the Humanities inform and shape concepts of health and illness, and to apply their academic knowledge to practice in a meaningful and lasting manner,’’ Caleb said in the release.