The inaugural issue of the student-run Medical Humanities Journal of Boston College was released one week ago. It follows the multidisciplinary approach of the Medical Humanities Minor, bringing together issues of illness, health, disabilities, and bioethics in the form of a 96-page journal made up of poems, memoirs, artwork, literary criticism, and short fiction. On a much broader scale, the journal is a manifestation of the intensive, dynamic thinking required of interdisciplinary minors here at BC. It offers an outlet for the expression of these endeavors that can directly reach BC students and faculty.
Medical Humanities represents a crossover between English, philosophy, biology, sociology, economics, and nursing studies. According to editor-in-chief Emilee Herringshaw, A&S ’16, this collection of concentrations offers “a comprehensive perspective on some really significant, delicate, issues that not only affect members of the BC community but also those beyond the Heights.”
Herringshaw, along with Christopher Kabacinski, A&S ’16, spent the summer drafting a proposal for the newly minted journal, which was submitted to the Institute for the Liberal Arts in the fall of 2014, shortly thereafter being approved and given a grant that would fund the first publication. While some believe that it is only after the degree is actually attained that some significant forward action can be taken in a selected field, Kabacinski and Herringshaw both show that students’ understanding of their discipline can be applied to something tangible almost immediately. It would be interesting to see students in other popular interdisciplinary minors—such as American Studies or Faith, Peace, and Justice—work similarly to create platforms that directly reflect the work of their respective minors.
There will not be another Medical Humanities Journal published this year, with its editors citing the long process of developing the first issue as having tied up their mental resources, but the long-term goal is twice-annual publication. The continued relevance of the journal will be important in developing the Medical Humanities concentration and demystifying the study of health care at BC with great writing.
Featured Image by Francisco Ruela / Heights Graphic