WUN Health Humanities initiative: towards the development of the patient-centred and compassionate Health Professional through education

This program draws on experience of scholars and practitioners in the World Universities Network from the broad discipline of Health Humanities including those from culturally diverse settings. The focus is to develop and validate an evaluation framework to report on the effect of health humanities teaching in undergraduate health professional education courses delivered across through WUN universities. Health Humanities, which explores health and medicine from the perspectives of literature, narrative, history, philosophy, and the creative arts, are widely recognised to encourage humanistic healthcare practice. The aim of Health Humanities education is to help students and young professionals to develop empathy for their patients, to achieve better communication with patients and with each other, to enhance critical thinking and improve observation skills and judgment under uncertainty. The Health Humanities can also assist in developing constructive and creative solutions to complex health problems. However, the quality of research into the effect of Health Humanities is highly variable, and evaluating such programs remains a challenge. This initiative will provide a basis for future global development of Health Humanities by providing an integrated evaluation framework through a scoping review of existing literature which will be applied to various training programs. These initiatives will be discussed at workshops before, during and after the annual medical education conference AMEE.

Anna Harris is part of the research team for Maastricht University. Other affiliated universities include the University of Western Australia, University of Alberta, University of Cape Town, University of Sydney and Maastricht University. For Maastricht University, Anna Harris is part of the team.