In 2006, Dr. Indira Samarasekera, president of the University of Alberta, congratulated the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry for establishing the AHHM program. She stated: "With foresight and amazing collaboration you have launched the University of Alberta toward precisely the kind of future outlined in our vision for creating a great university." In 2008, the University of Alberta medical school recognized the importance of arts and humanities within the undergraduate program by including a new objective for the school: "Incorporate the humanities into the art of medicine."
The Arts & Humanities in Health & Medicine program provides a focus for current, ongoing activities. New initiatives are also being developed and linkages fostered between faculty, students and others who share an interest in the interfaces that exist between medicine, the arts, humanities, and the social sciences.
The medical/health humanities is an emerging interdisciplinary field that connects medicine, the arts, humanities and the social sciences. It encompasses art and visual culture, drama, music, literature, narrative medicine, health design and communications, as well as health promotion, the history of medicine, medical anthropology, ethics, environment and health, and much more. It is concerned with the human needs and aspects of medicine and health care.
Since the faculty launched the AHHM program, an impressive track record has been established. In addition to a wide array of program offerings, the Canadian Mental Health Association recognized the positive effects of the program on faculty, staff, residents and students with a "Work Award" in April 2008.
To learn more about the AHHM program, check out New Trail, the University of Alberta's alumni magazine (Winter 2012). You can also access an earlier article that appeared in the AHFMR magazine (Fall 2007).