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MD with Scholarly Concentrations in Humanistic Studies

Program Director:
Stephen Post

The Center fosters and encourages the humane practice of medicine through its sponsorship of the MD with Scholarly Concentrations in Humanistic Studies program. An MD with Scholarly Concentrations in Humanistic Studies is offered to students who, in addition to the regular requirements of the MD degree, have successfully completed a research program focusing on medical humanities and medical humanism. The program fosters interest and scholarship in the traditional humanities — including but not limited to ethics, philosophy, jurisprudence, literature, theology and fine arts as they apply to medicine and the healing arts — and also to encourage systematic study of the virtues historically associated with the healing professions: compassion, integrity, equanimity, altruism, beneficence, justice, et. al. Former participants have written on health policy, history of medicine, medical ethics and jurisprudence, social factors in disease prevention, images of doctoring in the media, non–traditional healing, et al. Others have created literary and other works of art. Projects may include empirical research, historical or conceptual analysis, creative writing, film or other methods deemed appropriate.

Projects are done under the mentorship of two full–time faculty member of Stony Brook School of Medicine (ideally one of them an MD or DO) who play a role in the project from beginning to end. Students find and solicit mentors based on common interests and past experience. Mentors help the young scholar craft a competitive. Students who have been accepted into the program commit six months of their stay in medical school to the project beginning with two months during the summer between first and second year. Mentors help guide the student through completion of the project as appropriate based on the individual project. Participants typically spend an additional four months in their senior year completing their project, though may use elective time in third year as well. Students sometimes take blocks of time in third or fourth year, but when appropriate sometimes work on their projects "on top of" other academic activities. The student then presents the product of his or her work at a poster session or as otherwise appropriate on Research Day in the Fourth Year (usually the first Wednesday in May) which the mentor attends. Oral presentations are chosen on merit. If approved by the Committee, the student’s degree will be granted “with Recognition in Humanistic Studies.”

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Past Recipients


Jonathan Element
Sources-of-Care Preferences Among Emergency Department Patients

Kate E. Wallis
Current Caesarian-Section Rates: A Socio-Historical Perspective

Rebecca MacDonell-Yilmaz Recipient of the Award for Excellence in Humanistic Studies
In Search of Grace: A Journey through Medical School


Eric Goodman
Tell Me Teacher, Can Medical Professionalism Be Taught?

Sara Kalkhoran
AIDS Education in an Islamic Nation: Content Analysis of Farsi-language AIDS-Education Materials in Iran


Emy Kuriakose
The Patient Doctor: a Collection of Short Stories on patient-Physician Interaction, the Circumstances that Bring Them Together, and Their Impact on Each Other's Lives

Arya Soman
To Paint the Soul: the Discovery of the Brain

Dennis Daniel & Benjamin Yam
The Body Online: Medical Student Perceptions of the Physical Cadaveric Dissection Experience and its Importance to Medical Education