Howard University's campus in northwest D.C. (Courtesy photo)
**FILE** Howard University's campus in northwest D.C. (Courtesy photo)

The Mellon Foundation has awarded a 3.5-year, $3 million grant to support a collaboration between Howard and Georgetown universities to establish a center for medical humanities.

To be known as the Georgetown-Howard Center for Medical Humanities and Health Justice, it will focus on lowering health disparities in the District by leveraging methods of critical inquiry key to the humanities. Medical humanities are an interdisciplinary field that shifts the focus of health to a broader social, cultural, and historical context utilizing such areas of discipline as history, literary studies, philosophy, bioethics, cultural studies, religion, psychology, medical anthropology, and visual and performing arts.

“This grant allows us to establish a critical foundation on which to build our work,” said Dana A. Williams, dean of Howard University’s Graduate School and professor of African American literature. “The center is organized around three broad areas of impact.”

The first area will deal with the emerging field of critical medical humanities which focuses on the critique of the biomedical sciences by elevating engagement with the humanities and social sciences. Second, the center will examine the curricular changes that move away from a Eurocentric-focused understanding of medicine by recentering local, global and comparative networks of thoughts and scholarship to non-Western views on health.

The third area will stress a team-like approach to examining health issues instead of a singular humanities inquiry. The grant facilitates the work of the center through research labs, a degree program, and a fellowship.

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