Visiting Scholar Announcements

Meet Dr. Minji LeeMinji Lee

Dr. Minji Lee recently received a PhD Degree in the Department of Religion at Rice University. Her PhD thesis, “Bodies of Medieval Women as Dangerous, Liminal, and Holy: Representations in the Writings of Late Medieval Religious Women” explored how this medieval German nun defended the woman’s sexual/reproductive body” as positive in the images of re-creation and salvation against misogynic medieval and religious culture of her age.

Granted that Dr. Lee is a medievalist interested in the interactions between mysticism and medicine in the Middle Ages, she now turns to the new research project to compare medieval European medical theories and modern Korean folk medicine in order to see how women have been striving to maintain their reproductive health and to bring positive meanings to their own bodies. She also participated in making a Korean independent documentary project “For Vagina’s Sake (2017)” to posit how Western pre-modern medicine “diabolized” women’s menstrual body.

Currently, she is also a volunteer at Reunion Institute to promote public awareness in religion.


UPREET DHALIWALMeet Dr. Upreet Dhaliwal

The UTMB Health Institute for the Medical Humanities is pleased to welcome Upreet Dhaliwal, MS as a Visiting Scholar. Dr. Dhaliwal will be in residence from February 2019 through May 2019.

Dr. Upreet Dhaliwal, formerly Director-Professor of Ophthalmology at the University College of Medical Sciences, University of Delhi, is one of the founding members of the Medical Humanities Group in the Institution.

She is editor of the journal “Research and Humanities in Medical Education (RHiME)” which is an online-only, peer-reviewed, open-access journal, the only journal in Asia that caters specifically to the medical humanities. RHiME can be accessed at www.rhime.in/ojs

An occasional poet, and an avid promoter of medical student-led poetry sessions, Dr Dhaliwal is keen to deepen her involvement with the humanities through the visiting scholar program at the Institute for Medical Humanities. Her work here involves an exploration of the Provider-Patient relationship through the medium of poetry.

  • Meet Dr. Rolf Ahlzen

    February 1, 2011, 00:00 AM by Julia Essex

    Rolf Ahlzen, PhDThe UTMB Health Institute for the Medical Humanities is pleased to welcome Rolf Ahlzen, MD, PhD as a Visiting Scholar. Dr. Ahlzen will be in residence from February 2011 through March 2011.

    Dr. Ahlzen describes himself and his work as follows:

    "My project may be seen as the outflow of a long standing interest in the borderlands between medicine and the humanities. I have long been a member of two communities and I have had one foot solidly anchored in each of them. The one is the academic community of researchers and teachers, in areas more or less clearly related to medicine. The other is the field of medical and health care practitioners, who are more or less (usually the latter) interested in theories and abstractions concerning the philosophical and ethical foundations of their practice. And, somewhat like C.P. Snow's vision of “the two cultures” – they do not really seem to meet each other."

    "My interests are wide ranging and my recent PhD work concerns the potential of literature to contribute to clinical skills. This is the line I would like to pursue during a stay in Galveston. I am intrigued and indeed worried, by the gap that far too often seems to exist between medical practitioners and scholars of medical humanities. Indeed, there are many encouraging exceptions. But why, may we ask, do clinicians so relatively seldom approach and learn from the undoubtedly often very practically relevant research done in medical humanities? And even more so: Why do those engaged in medical humanities so relatively seldom, if ever, try the idea that medicine, clinical medicine in particular, has something to contribute to their understanding of their fields of the humanities? That we are indeed dealing with a reciprocal relationship, where both parties could and should approach each other with humility and openness, prepared to learn from each other?"

    "Some twenty years ago, Leon Kass asked, in the Hastings Centre Review, worrying questions about the booming medical ethics business and its probably relatively small impact on actual clinical conduct. Should we ask the same question to what was, in a sense, a reply to Kass' questions: the medical humanities movement? How do we make a difference? The recent debate in Academic Medicine (2010) illuminates many of the core questions that I would like to raise and pursue. These questions of course concern medical education on all levels, but also the role of humanities in general in an era of consumerism and hard economic winds blowing in most countries' health care systems. "

    "We do need medical humanities. Urgently, more than ever. But we must - without falling into the trap of only accepting one basic kind of proof in this field, the one copied on medical evidence – find ways of reaching right into practice and show that MH makes a difference. This must mean that MH scholars are prepared to learn from practitioners and to be acquainted with their ways of thinking and acting. Medical humanities must be founded on a richer and more truthful understanding of what practical knowledge is.  This is what I plan to discuss, learn and write about during a stay in Galveston."

  • Meet Dr. Ben Rich

    November 1, 2010, 00:00 AM by Julia Essex

    Ben A. Rich, JD, PhDThe UTMB Health Institute for the Medical Humanities is pleased to welcome Ben A. Rich, JD, PhD as a Visiting Scholar. Dr. Rich will be in residence in November 2010.

    Dr. Rich is the School of Medicine Alumni Association Endowed Chair of Bioethics at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine. Prior to becoming an academic bioethicist he was an attorney specializing in health care and higher education law in North Carolina and then Colorado.

    Dr. Rich's academic work has been primarily in the area of end of life care, with a special focus on advance care planning, decisions to withhold and withdraw life-sustaining interventions, and the ethical, legal, and policy issues in pain management and palliative care. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Pain Foundation and the Council on Ethics of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

    The working title for his sabbatical leave project, on which he will be working while at UTMB is “Suffering, Healing, and Palliative Options of Last Resort: The Clinician's Responsibility To Patients at the End of Life.” Of special interest and concern to Professor Rich in this project are contemporary controversies over the nature of human suffering in the context of advanced terminal illness, and the circumstances under which patients should be provided access to palliative sedation or, where legal, a lethal prescription. Among the related questions which he plans to explore through engagement with UTMB faculty, graduate, and professional students are: 

    • Is “existential suffering” a legitimately distinct category of human suffering that can be diagnosed and that calls for its own distinct approach to palliative interventions, or is all human suffering by its very nature existential?

    • Are there legitimate and realistic restorative goals that dying patients should be admonished to and supported in pursuing, and how should clinicians respond when patients decline to pursue or fail to achieve such restorative goals?

    • What is the role and significance of meaning and dignity in the context of terminal illness and the process of dying?

    • Is a patient's concept of a medical fate worse than death one which palliative care professionals ought to embrace and accommodate?

    • What are the proper roles for causation and intent in ascertaining the ethical valence of acts or omissions in the care of the terminally ill or imminently dying patient?

    • What is the relevance of the proximity of death to the availability of palliative options?
  • Meet Dr. Graeme Harper

    October 1, 2010, 00:00 AM by Julia Essex

    Graeme Harper, PhDThe UTMB Health Institute for the Medical Humanities is pleased to welcome Graeme Harper, PhD as a Visiting Scholar. Dr. Harper will be in residence from October 2010 through December 2010.

    Dr. Harper is a Professor of Creative Writing and Honorary Research Professor in the Creative Arts, in Wales and England respectively. He has been foundation Chair of the National Institute for Excellence in the Creative Industries, and was Director of Research in the College of Arts and Humanities at Bangor University, UK, from 2007-2010. Most recently he has been Research Fellow in MARBL at Emory University and prior to that Paschal P. Vacca Distinguished Chair of Liberal Arts at the University of Montevallo, Alabama.

    Dr. Harper is currently undertaking his “creative habitats” project, an investigation of the creation of personal and cultural domains that support human creativity and “creative benefaction”, while also completing his new novel, Medicine (Parlor, 2011). Both of these he will be developing at UTMB. His previous work includes such works as Signs of Life: Cinema and Medicine (2005), edited with A.Moor and, as Brooke Biaz, Moon Dance (2010), a novel about birth and the space race. He holds doctorates from the University of East Anglia, UK, and the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine.

  • Meet Dr. Charles McClelland

    September 1, 2010, 00:00 AM by Julia Essex

    Charles McClelland, PhDThe UTMB Health Institute for the Medical Humanities is pleased to welcome Charles McClelland, PhD as a Visiting Scholar. Dr. McClelland will be in residence from September 2010 through April 2011.

    Dr. McClelland comes to the Institute as a continuation of his extensive research interests. Since becoming Professor Emeritus (History) at the University of New Mexico (UNM), during the last decade he served as a Fellow of the Fulbright program and then of the German Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation in Berlin. He has also been a Fellow of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the (Princeton) Institute for Advanced Study. He was a cofounder of the German Studies Association of the United States, Director of European Studies at UNM and President of the American Association of University Professors in New Mexico for many years, among other professional activities.

    Having grown up in Galveston, Dr. McClelland went on to earn his bachelor's degree from Princeton and his doctorate from Yale before teaching history at Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, UNM and the (Humboldt) University of Berlin. He speaks and reads 12 modern languages and has traveled extensively in Latin America and Europe

    .Published by major American and European academic presses and journals, Dr. McClelland's numerous books and articles have often pursued questions about the sociology of knowledge: how do scientists, scholars and other modern professional leaders know what they claim they know? Much of his work has focused on the rise of “professional” and “expert” knowledge in modern European and North American societies. His books include the (now classic) study of the rise of the modern German university system (a leading model for America), as well as a unique study of the professionalization struggles of German and other European artists in the past two centuries. His contribution to the massive bicentennial history of the University of Berlin is appearing along with five companion volumes during 2010-11.;

    Dr. McClelland will bring his experience with European universities, medical schools and museums to bear as a member of the task force designing a medical-history museum in UTMB's original (1891) Ashbel Smith Building, “Old Red.” He will also lead an advanced seminar (Spring 2011) on the comparative history of medical professionalization and ethics in the Institute for the Medical Humanities. He is looking forward to interacting with members of the IMH faculty and with graduate students and his fellow visiting scholars.

  • Meet Dr. Michael Collins

    June 1, 2010, 00:00 AM by Julia Essex

    Michael Collins, PhDThe UTMB Health Institute for the Medical Humanities is pleased to welcome Michael Collins, PhD as a Visiting Scholar. Dr. Collins will be in residence from June 2010 through August 2010.

    Dr. Collins is currently an Associate Professor of English at Texas A & M University.

    While at the Institute, Dr. Collins will be working on two books. The first (under contract with the University of South Carolina Press) explores the challenge to American conceptions of deviance and criminality posed by the work of the late Etheridge Knight, an African American poet who published his first book while serving an eight-year prison sentence. The subject of the second book is the “God Point,” which Collins defines as the limit of human cognition--the limit of the human capacity to separate information from noise. (Noise in turn is defined to include misinformation). The authors Collins focuses on in the second book are those who depict the ways and means of misinformation and other noise production--and the ways and means of progress away from noise toward the “God Point.” Essays that are the basis for the two books have appeared in PMLA, Modern Philology, and other journals.

  • Meet Dr. Mahala Yates Stripling

    May 1, 2010, 00:00 AM by Julia Essex

    Mahala Yates Stripling, PhDThe UTMB Health Institute for the Medical Humanities is pleased to welcome Mahala Yates Stripling, PhD as a Visiting Scholar. Dr. Stripling will be in residence in May 2010.

    Dr. Stripling is an independent scholar with a background in rhetoric who is writing Imagine a Man: the Surgeon Storyteller, a literary biography of Richard Selzer, M.D. She has finished Part I, “Reinventing his Life,” and while in residence at The Institute for the Medical Humanities will do extensive research in the Selzer Archive, Truman G. Blocker, Jr., History of Medicine Collections, Moody Medical Library, for Part II, “Living by his Wits Alone.” Her work examines the life and writings of one of the finest writers of short prose in English. First as a surgeon, he confronted the vast expanse of illness and disease; then as a writer, beginning full-time in 1985, he flowered in an entirely new way, describing the profound humanity of his patients in fictional stories. He is giving the evolving canon of literature and medicine a new language for our time. Stripling is the author of Bioethics and Medical Issues in Literature, Greenwood Press, 2005.

  • Meet Dr. Jerome Crowder

    January 1, 2010, 00:00 AM by Julia Essex

    Jerome Crowder, PhDThe UTMB Health Institute for the Medical Humanities is pleased to welcome Jerome Crowder, PhD as a Visiting Scholar. Dr. Crowder will be in residence from January 2010 through August 2010.

    Dr.Crowder comes to the Institute for Medical Humanities as an Assistant Research Professor in Anthropology and Assistant Dean for Technology and Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. He has been a Principal Investigator with the Abramson Center for the Future of Health as well as Associate Director of Visual Studies at the University of Houston. He is trained as a medical anthropologist (PhD Anthropology, Pitt 1998) and has ongoing research projects in east Houston, studying the use of technology in underserved communities, as well as in La Paz, Bolivia, investigating the processes of migration and urbanization on health decision making strategies. While at the Institute Crowder will complete several articles that are “in the works” regarding medical and visual anthropology in Perú and Bolivia as well as continue writing his book on using technology in qualitative inquiry. He offered a class over the summer on this theme while in residence.

  • Meet Dr. Sabine Arnaud

    January 1, 2010, 00:00 AM by Julia Essex

    Sabine Arnaud, PhDThe UTMB Institute for the Medical Humanities is pleased to welcome Sabine Arnaud, PhD as a Visiting Scholar. Dr. Arnaud will be in residence from January 2010 through May 2010.

    Dr. Arnaud is a tenure-track Assistant Professor of French Studies at Texas A&M University. Her research focuses on the production and diffusion of medical knowledge between 1670 and 1820 and intertwines methodologies of literary criticism, history of medicine, and epistemology. Her interest in tracing the circulation of medical categories has been informed by an academic background in Aesthetics, Philosophy, Comparative Literature, and History and Civilizations.

    While in residence at The Institute for the Medical Humanities, she is working on a monograph entitled "Narratives and Politics of a Diagnosis: The Construction and Circulation of the Category of Hysteria in France and England 1730-1820." This work examines how perceptions of hysteria are displaced and recalled across literary, medical and political texts a century before the advent of psychoanalysis. It analyzes the use of imaginings and writing techniques in the production and the diffusion of knowledge. The monograph will further an approach developed while editing and writing the introduction for La Philosophie des Vapeurs, released by Mercure de France, and preparing articles published by journals including Gesnerus, Annales, and Dix-Huitième Siècle.