News archive 2008
£2m to set up Medical Humanities Centre24 Jul 2008, PR 160/08
King’s College London has been successful in winning one of two highly prestigious awards to support the best research in medical humanities, the Wellcome Trust has announced today.
Over five years, King’s will receive around £2 million, and Durham University £1.8 million. The grants will each be used to establish a centre of excellence in the emerging field of medical humanities.
Drawing on research areas in philosophy, literature and the arts as well as medicine, nursing and psychiatry, King’s will extend its existing research programmes in medical humanities and help to develop the field internationally.
Brian Hurwitz, Professor of Medicine and the Arts and lead on the King’s project, and his colleagues at the newly emerging Centre for Health Sciences and the Humanities will undertake a series of multidisciplinary studies under the umbrella ‘The Boundaries of Illness’ – looking at personal and cultural representations of health and illness and the boundaries between them. They will explore people’s experiences of health and their responses to illness.
Professor Hurwitz comments: ‘This award from the Wellcome Trust will significantly boost already existing cross College research initiatives in the medical humanities.’
The King’s Medical Humanities Centre will intensively develop collaborations across new academic interfaces; between Nursing, Film Studies and English, Medicine and Art History, Philosophy, Medicine and Psychology, Literature and Medicine, and between History and Psychiatry.
When the Centre becomes operational in 2009 it will:
• provide excellent research opportunities for postdoctoral researchers and PhD students
• develop a new King’s College London MSc in Medical Humanities
• establish a seminar programme covering all of the Centre’s research strands which will be open to everyone at King’s and its Academic Health Sciences Centre’s partners
• create a research collaboration with Columbia University’s Narrative Medicine programme based in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York
• provide a Visiting Fellows scheme, to enable distinguished medical humanities scholars to come to King’s to teach and undertake research.
Professor Hurwitz explains: ‘The Centre’s research will be diverse, but will share some academic foci in common, including exploration of what the Humanities contribute to understanding the subjective, inner experience of illness and study of the personal and cultural representations of health and illness and the boundaries between them.’
The King’s College London co-applicants for this award are:
Brian Hurwitz, Professor of Medicine and the Arts, School of Humanities, and Health & Social Care Division, School of Medicine;
Neil Vickers, Senior Lecturer in Literature and Medicine, School of Humanities;
Derek Bolton, Professor of Philosophy and Psychopathology, Institute of Psychiatry;
Edgar Jones, Professor of the History of Medicine and Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry;
Mary McCabe, Professor of Ancient Philosophy, School of Humanities;
David Papineau, Professor of Philosophy of Natural Science, School of Humanities;
Anne Marie Rafferty, Professor of Nursing and Dean of the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery;
Ludmilla Jordanova, Professor of Modern History, School of Humanities.
Professor Martyn Evans and colleagues at the Centre for Arts and Humanities in Health and Medicine at Durham University will examine ‘Medicine and Human Flourishing’ – a programme of research aimed at understanding the human side of medicine, exploring in particular the relationship of health and medicine to wider notions of well-being. They will examine the place of creativity and the arts in contributing to healthy lives.
Clare Matterson, the Wellcome Trust’s Director of Medicine, Society and History, said: ‘These are the first major grants that the Wellcome Trust has supported in Medical Humanities. We supported this area because of its potential to help us to reflect upon and critically evaluate how people experience medical practice, illness and health offering the potential to inform medical practice.
‘With this considerable level of funding, the successful groups can increase capacity in this area, develop future generations of researchers and build on their existing UK and international collaborations, making the UK a world-leader not only in biomedical science, but also in research examining the varied experiences and understandings of medicine in our society.’
Frontispiece of: William Cheselden. Osteographia, or, The anatomy of the human bones. London: [printed by William Bowyer?], 1733. From the historical library collection of St Thomas's Hospital Medical School, one of the collections now held at the Foyle Special Collections Library.
Notes to editors
King’s College London
King’s College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (Times Higher 2007) and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King's has 19,300 students from more than 130 countries, and 5,000 employees. King's has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. The College is in the top group of UK universities for research earnings and has an annual income of approximately £400 million. An investment of £500 million has been made in the redevelopment of its estate.
King’s has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, social sciences, the health sciences, natural sciences and engineering, and has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe and is home to five Medical Research Council Centres – more than any other university.
King’s College London and Guy's and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are working together to create the UK's largest Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC). The AHSC will bring together the widest range of clinical and research expertise in the UK – strengths that will be used to drive improvements in care for patients, allowing them to benefit from breakthroughs in medical science and receive leading edge treatment at the earliest possible opportunity. For further information visit: http://www.londonsahsc.org
The Wellcome Trust is the largest charity in the UK. It funds innovative biomedical research, in the UK and internationally, spending around £600 million each year to support the brightest scientists with the best ideas. The Wellcome Trust supports public debate about biomedical research and its impact on health and wellbeing. www.wellcome.ac.uk
Melanie Gardner, Senior Public Relations Officer, Public Relations Department, King’s College London. Tel: 020 7848 3073; email firstname.lastname@example.org
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