Development of a Medical Humanities Program at Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine, Nova Scotia, Canada, 1992-2003

Acad Med. 2003 Oct;78(10):1020-3. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200310000-00016.


The Medical Humanities Program at Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine in Nova Scotia, Canada, was initiated in 1992 to incorporate the medical humanities into the learning and experiences of medical students. The goal of the program was to gain acceptance as an integral part of the medical school. The program assumed a broad concept of the medical humanities that includes medical history, literature, music, art, multiculturalism, philosophy, epistemology, theology, anthropology, professionalism, history of alternative therapies, writing, storytelling, health law, international medicine, and ethics. Phase I of the program has provided the same elective and research opportunities in the medical humanities that are available to the students in clinical and basic sciences, and has encouraged and legitimized the involvement of the humanities in the life and learning of the medical student through a wide array of programs and activities. Phase II will focus on further incorporation of the humanities into the curriculum. Phase III will be the development of a graduate program in medical humanities to train more faculty who will incorporate the humanities into their teaching and into the development of education programs.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / organization & administration*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / trends
  • Humanities / education*
  • Nova Scotia
  • Schools, Medical