Health Humanities Journal
New to the Carolina community this Fall semester, the Health Humanities Journal of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will assist in initiating and engaging discussion among the undergraduate and graduate communities about the up-and-coming Health and Medical Humanities fields.
The purpose of this journal is to inspire, encourage, and facilitate interdisciplinary thinking and collaborative work while developing and embodying a variety of ideas that relate to health, illness, caregiving, and medicine. Sponsored by HHIVE, Honors Carolina, and the Department of Social Medicine (UNC School of Medicine), the journal will serve as an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to publish narratives, poetry, research, academic papers, editorials, photography, artwork, etc.
“In examining disease, we gain wisdom about anatomy and physiology and biology. In examining the person with disease, we gain wisdom about life.” – Oliver Sacks
Editor’s Note to HHJ Inaugural Issue, Fall 2016
No matter how hard one tries to separate the person from the disease or the disease from the person, one simply cannot. The two are deeply intertwined. How one analyzes and interprets the “contents” of the human body is dependent on the approach they choose to use. While Medicine solely examines the body as a biological machine that needs to be fine-tuned and maintained, the Health Humanities views the body as a medium that fosters the cultivations of experiences and stories.
As one of the fastest growing interdisciplinary fields, the Health Humanities brings forth multiple perspectives and modes of analysis for medicine through a humanistic perspective. Rather than merely focusing on the what behind ideas and concepts, the Health Humanities also focuses on the why and how, thus allowing researchers and professionals to go far beyond the biomedical disease and analyze the factors that compromise and affect the human health and condition. It’s about going beyond the numbers, beyond the technical terminology, beyond the processes. This emerging field helps to give meaning to experiences of health and disability, voices to patients, history to procedures and practices, and empathy to actions.
Whether it is grieving the loss of a loved one, coming to terms with a diagnosis, examining the relationship between a doctor and a patient, or analyzing the sociocultural effects of a medical phenomenon, this inaugural issue of The Health Humanities Journal is poignant. Our authors come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines and yet they all still find the relevance and importance of the Health Humanities in their respective fields and, furthermore, in their lives. As you read and sift through the pages of this journal, I urge you to contemplate each word, to take in the raw emotion, and to embrace the range of topics covered. Hopefully some of these pieces will resonate with you as they did with me and the rest of the Editorial Team.
Lastly, I would like to express my sincerest and deepest gratitude to our sponsors and faculty advisor Dr. Jane Thrailkill for providing the resources and support system of turning this idea into a reality, to the Editorial Team for their hard work and dedication throughout the ambiguous process of creating a new journal, to our authors for their absolutely beautiful and thoughtful contributions, and to you, our readers, for your support by just simply holding this journal. And lastly, I would like to thank my grandmother who was my inspiration and motivation for all of this – I hope this brings a smile to your face.
To learn more about our journal, the Editorial Team, and/or how to submit original work, please visit: www.hhj.web.unc.edu.