New grant will help internationalize the medical humanities program

UTSA’s Medical Humanities program was launched in 2016. The program offers an interdisciplinary approach to medicine and healthcare. Sheriff Tekin, associate professor of philosophy, has served as the program’s director since 2021 and is working to further build the program through new programs and partnerships.

Notable is the $182,000 Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program grant the program received this year from the US Department of Education. Tekin explained that the grant will help internationalize the program and help students engage in overseas programs and field studies, giving them international exposure. The curriculum of the program will also be varied.

The grant will also help establish the Vocalize San Antonio program, through which students can intern as medical interpreters at clinics throughout San Antonio and South Texas.

This opportunity is one of several that program students are encouraged to participate in Additionally, the program also offers internship opportunities for students to gain experience in the medical field

“They get course credit, but their internship involves going to the hospital and actually doing something or working as a scribe or as a medical interpreter … so that [students] Have experience with patients but face time with patients” said Tekin.

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Techin also helped grow the Medical Humanities Club, which connects students and faculty outside the classroom.

I want to spend as much time as possible with the students and I want the faculty to have a lot of interaction with the students outside of class because, at an institution like UTSA, our students do very well with really close mentorship from the faculty who knows the system and who knows how to navigate the system. Yes,” Tekin said.

In addition, under Tekin, the program has also established a partnership The University of Oxford’s Collaborating Center for Health and Social Care provides students with greater exposure to the discipline. Tekin also noted that a partnership is underway with a university in Belgium as the latter is about to start its medical humanities program.

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In addition to these opportunities, students take classes in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities in subjects such as ethics and philosophy of science. Students also take language classes — a skill Tekin described as important in the context of making health care more accessible.

In the context of healthcare, we are dealing with [vulnerable] People,” Tekin said. “The interesting element of that relationship to me is building trust between patients and caregivers [or] Health care professionals. With this in mind, [we want students] There is a scientifically rigorous training to be a good provider, however [we also want them to be] able to get [the] Patient beliefs [and] Connect with them emotionally.”

Medical humanities As medical school students weave their way through the rigorous training, UTSA offers this interdisciplinary approach to its undergraduate students, which Tekin describes as a “huge plus” for students in the program.

As mentioned earlier, the program aims to train students holistically, exposing them to the more human aspects of healthcare. Currently, the program offers students three concentrations: A pre-medicine track, a health career track and a pre-advanced practice provider track. Students enrolled in the program have flexibility as they can choose the path that best suits their needs. Tekin has also taken the initiative to add a minor in medical humanities.

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Students graduating from this program pursue a variety of career paths, including medical school and graduate school, as well as business and law.

“I think the degree is very flexible and students have many options … as we place more graduates in good places [graduate] The program … gets word of mouth around,” Tekin said.

I think there’s a big push at least … in the humanities area to make the study of philosophy or history or language more relevant to everyday life, and I think health care provides those opportunities,” Tekin added.

More information about UTSA’s Medical Humanities program can be found here


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