Health, Humanities, and Society
"To be a good physician you have to have a curiosity about the human condition."
Modern medicine is much more than a collection of technical skills or a body of specialized knowledge. Patients and health care providers exist within institutional structures, economic and political spheres, and systems of cultural practices that all shape how health, illness, and healing are experienced. The Health, Humanities, and Society (HHS) minor approaches medicine and healthcare from all of these perspectives. Many students in the program are preparing for medical school or the health professions; others are simply interested in this crucial aspect of our world.
Students in the HHS minor will:
- Study matters of health, medicine, or sickness from multiple disciplinary approaches, learning how medicine is always simultaneously technical, scientific, humanistic, and social.
- Learn the deeper social and humanistic factors underpinnings of health, in both a local and a global context.
- Work with faculty spanning the humanities, arts, and social sciences.
- Consider perspectives that will better prepare them for admission to medical school, for careers in health care, or for entering graduate school.
- Understand the institutional structure of the US healthcare system in comparative perspective.
- Gain an appreciation for the crucial importance of story to the healing process.
- Analyze the political economy of modern biomedical sciences.
- Acquire a historical perspective for understanding contemporary practices and institutions.
- Enjoy opportunities to work with health providers in the community.
Whether you are a current student, a prospective student, a faculty member, or just passing through, we invite you to explore what this program has to offer, including the lectures and conferences, classes, and professionalization opportunities—including summer fellowships, mentorship opportunities, and support for research positions, lab placements, and internships.
Structure of the Minor
The minor consists of 15 credit hours. It has two required core courses and three electives, which can be taken from a broad swath of programs/departments or from a more cohesive thematic concentration (such as Health and Equity; Inequality, Justice, and Race; Gender and Health; Medicine and the Arts; History of Biomedical Sciences; Global Health, etc.). Students also have the opportunity to complete a semester-long capstone project in HHS that satisfies the University Writing Requirement.
There are no prerequisites for the minor and it is open to all interested Notre Dame students.
If you are interested in HHS, please contact the Faculty Director Vania Smith-Oka or Director of Undergraduate Studies Anna Geltzer.