New course explores the history and culture of disease and healing

HOUSTON – Are slavery and human trafficking, the global war on drugs, sexuality in the context of post-war time, and medical museums, topics you usually think of when selecting your public health courses?

If not, then think again!

This semester, these topics and others are part of a new course titled, “The History and Culture of Disease and Healing.” This three-credit course is offered by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health in collaboration with Rice University and University of Houston.

You will attend seminars once a week in a historically inspiring setting at the John P. McGovern Museum of Health and Medical Science (The Health Museum), and classes on one additional day the UTHealth School of Public Health RAS Building.

“There is increasing emphasis on bringing more of the humanities into the education of health professionals, in a way that is appealing to all the health disciplines. This course seeks to do just that,” says George Delclos, M.D., professor at the School of Public Health and one of the course instructors.

human trafficking - woman with a barcode on the back of her neck“It is novel in several ways. It chips away at barriers by bringing together schools of public health, humanities and history, across the three major universities in Houston,” he says. “It cuts across different levels of higher education by being open to both undergraduate and graduate students, and by inviting registered students and the community alike. And then we take it out of the traditional classroom and into a museum, where culture and history are much more palpable.”

Topics include the following, and more.

  • Slavery, human trafficking  and social justice
  • Unintended consequences of the U.S. global war on drugs: public health concerns and efforts to control HIV/AIDS
  • Sexuality and the contours of life after war
  • Body curation: the eerie culture/s of medical museums

Body Worlds cadaver playing basketball

Speakers will be from all of the collaborating institutions as well as invited physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacists and other public health professionals. School of Public Health Students can register for the course number PH 5098 for the fall 2016 semester. Students from the other schools and institutions will also be a part of the course. Networking and innovative learning will be part of the experience. See the course flyer here for details and further information.

Continuing education (CME, CNE, CPE, CEUs) units are available at no cost for physicians, nurses,  pharmacists, social workers, and other public health professionals who attend the Tuesday seminar series at The Health Museum. Continuing Education activities are sponsored by UTHealth School of Public Health's Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

For questions, feel free to contact one of the School of Public Health’s course instructors:

Trudy Krause, Ph.D.
George Delclos, M.D.
Mary Ann Smith, Ph.D.
Sheryl McCurdy, Ph.D.

Written by Shannon LaDuke