Skip to content

Heart & Mind for Medicine

I attended the #UPKnowledgeFest last April 17-19. It was a gathering of knowledge heroes from the University of the Philippines.


The theme for the conference was “Utak at Puso Para Sa Bayan.” That literally means Brain and Heart for Our Country. I listened to artists and scientists talk about their craft and how each can enrich the other. I was particularly impressed by Dr. Butch Dalisay’s speech on Why the Arts Should Matter.

I talked with hopeful MD-PhD students of the UP College of Medicine, reveling in their youthful energy. I was happy that they were able to attend this event.


There was not a distinct medical humanities course in the curriculum when I was a medical student. I don’t think these students have one now as well.

My room mate for this conference was Charmain Carreon, a poet from UP Cebu. I had interesting conversations with her about patient narratives – having discussed that recently at #hcsmph and at a #HealthXPH tweet chat.  Hopefully, I can come up with a proposal for a medical humanities course soon. I also reached out to Prof. Luna Sicat-Cleto. I promised to contact her again once I had something to share. I also broached my idea to Dr. Noel Pingoy, oncologist/hematologist who won the 2002 Palanca Award 3rd Prize for his essay, Becoming a Hematologist. I talked to Dr. Joti Tabula, one of my straight interns in medicine who recently finished his internal medicine residency. Joti is a Poetry fellow for IYAS National Writers’ Workshop. I really think WE CAN DO THIS!

But tomorrow at #HealthXPH tweet chat Saturday May 27 9 pm Manila time, I want to explore medical humanities more. I love the Baylor Medical Humanities tagline –


Still from the Baylor Medical Humanities website –

The Medical Humanities provide an interdisciplinary and interprofessional approach to investigating and understanding the profound effects of illness and disease on patients, health professionals, and the social worlds in which they live and work. In contrast to the medical sciences, the medical humanities – which include narrative medicine, history of medicine, culture studies, science and technology studies, medical anthropology, ethics, economics, philosophy and the arts (literature, film, visual art) – focus more on meaning making than measurement.

On my Facebook feed, friends sometimes post pearls of wisdom, share links to interesting art or films relevant to healthcare. Tomorrow I invite you to do the same. Share a piece of literature, film or work of art you would like to include in a medical humanities course.

T1 What piece of literature can you recommend for discussion in a medical humanities course. Why?

T2. Why film/movie can you recommend for discussion in a medical humanities course. Why?

T3. What work of art can you recommend for discussion in a medical humanities course. Why?

See you at #HealthXPH!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.