Humanities teaching was introduced at Stony Brook University School of Medicine by Edmund Pellegrino, the first dean of the Medical School and founder of the Health Sciences Center. Since 1990, "Medicine in Society" has been a substantial presence throughout the curriculum, introducing students to the perspectives of a wide range of humanities disciplines as they apply to health care, and continuing as a sustained presence throughout the four years of training. Medicine in Society serves as a reminder that medicine is a human and communal endeavor, situated in sociocultural contexts, reliant on human values, and articulated most often through narratives. The authors describe the structure and function of the Medicine in Society curriculum and the Institute for Medicine in Contemporary Society, summarize their evaluation of the program, and outline their plans for meeting current and future challenges.
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