The Health Humanities Journal of UNC Chapel Hill will host an Open Mic Night on November 18th at 5:30pm in Graham Memorial, Room 039 to celebrate the launch of its inaugural issue, featuring academic and creative work by UNC undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.
To preview the issue, Editor-in-Chief, Manisha Mishra (UNC ’18), and Faculty Advisor, Dr. Jane Thrailkill, have shared their notes to HHJ readers.
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.
Advisor’s Note to HHJ Inaugural Issue, Fall 2016
I am delighted to be writing a Note from the Advisor for this inaugural issue of the Health Humanities Journal. This wide-ranging, multi-genre periodical was the brainchild of editor-in-chief Manish Mishra, now a junior at UNC.
What you are holding in your hands began in an experimental class last spring: “Intensive Research in Health Humanities” (ENGL 695). Manisha had an idea: with all the activity around humanistic approaches to healthcare at UNC, why not start a journal showcasing some of this work? She decided this would be her capstone project in the class.
In a true interdisciplinary fashion, she first enlisted collaborators and an Editorial Team who reviewed the field, surveyed current publications on campus, developed a mission statement, crafted the business plan, secured funding, spread the word, created an Editorial Team, solicited submissions, did the selecting, editing, designing…and voila! Six months from conception, The Health Humanities Journal has arrived.
To me, this student-run process embodies the expansive, mixed methods, can-do attitude of Health Humanities as is it practiced both in the classroom and around the world. The Health Humanities provides an interdisciplinary space to tactfully explore and help shape the shared (yet wildly diverse) human experiences of illness, disability, caregiving, and mortality. It draws from the sciences widely construed, seeking the clarity afforded by methods of inquiry we have developed in biology, epidemiology, sociology, public health, and engineering. But at the same time, HH enlists the arts and humanities, embracing the complexity that stories, events, institutions, and other products of human making allow us to see. Here we turn to disciplines such as history, English, philosophy, art history, geography, journalism.
Health Humanities names a zone of passionate inquiry. The alleviation of suffering, the kindling of compassion, the widening of care, the reform of institutions – these are aspirations built into this field of study.
Read this good work, and be inspired. And please be in touch if you’d like to learn more about, or contribute to, these exciting endeavors.
All my best,
Jane F. Thrailkill
For more information about the forthcoming inaugural issue of HHJ, visit: www.hhj.web.unc.edu.