This website aims to present Medical Humanities links and resources relevant to every specialty and healthcare profession, in a concise, approachable manner.  Resources are designed for browsing randomly or by topic or specialism, and to slot easily into niches in a curriculum or training programme. We also hope that they can be useful more widely, to patients, the public, and others with an interest in medical or healthcare humanities.


While Medical Humanities are represented in the early years of most undergraduate medical degrees, they are rarely signposted during clinical training or postgraduate curricula. The position is similar in most other healthcare curricula. We wondered whether that could be supported by a cross-Scotland initiative, presenting resources in a short, engaging manner, so that students might encounter them by chance or as interesting asides in curricula.

Key aspirations for Medical Humanities include that they may

  • Promote and validate compassion in students and practitioners
  • Illustrate and raise importance of things that are often better illustrated in real life than as the subject of formal teaching:
    • ethical issues
    • patient-centred communication and behaviour
    • resource issues
  • Help foster resilience in students and practitioners

The project followed a meeting convened in February 2017 by Kenneth Calman and John Gillies. That was attended by representatives mainly from medical schools, but all immediately realised the broader relevance and importance of the initiative to other professions. John and several others were also involved in the creation and distribution of Tools of the Trade, a book of short poems that is presented at graduation to all new doctors from Scottish medical schools.


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Medical Humanities or Healthcare Humanities?

We don’t see any important difference between these terms. All the work is ‘medical’ and in 2017 we went with the more established term. Everything here is for everyone.

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