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URMC / Health Humanities and Bioethics / Education and Teaching / SMD Medical Student Education


SMD Medical Student Education

SMD Undergraduate Medical Education

We teach Health Humanities & Bioethics to all SMD students throughout the curriculum from Phases 1-4.

In addition, the Department supports students who wish to integrate humanities, arts or ethics with the medical school and build community. We offer a number of opportunities, including an enrichment Pathway program in Health Humanities and in Bioethics, and two Interest Groups. Students can apply for a Year-Out Fellowship in Health Humanities, or Summer Research Fellowships in Health Humanities and Schyve Center Summer Fellowships, too. Writers, poets, dancers, artists can share their work in our literary arts journal, Murmur.

HH&BE Selectives

In Phase 1 and 2, we teach required small group Selectives, taught by clinicians, Health Humanities scholars and bioethicists. Instructors apply a biopsychosocial lens to the lives of individual patients, families and communities as a way of "perspective-taking" on the individual patient and family’s experience of illness, using the BPS levels including social, societal cultural, community and environmental perspectives.

Large Group and Smaller Group Activities

Our teaching is integrated into basic science and clinical translation courses to support course content in collaboration with Course Directors.

Individual Sessions in New Meliora in Medicine (MiM)

We are developing new sessions in this longitudinal course across all four years.

Sessions - Required Courses in Phase 3 and 4

We teach in multiple courses and some clerkships.

Pathways Enrichment Programs

Health Humanities & Bioethics Pathways is a longitudinal 4-year enrichment program started by DMH&B in 2002 for students with interests in humanities, fine arts, performing arts, values -based social science, gender, racial, disabilities, religious studies and ethics. Certificates are awarded at graduation with info in Dean’s letter.

Year Out Research Award in Health Humanities

The Health Humanities Year Out Research Award is available to medical students in the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry. The Research Award is administered through the SMD Office of Medical Student Enrichment Programs (OMSEP). These are competitive, paid awards sponsored by the Department of Health Humanities & Bioethics and Office of Medical Education. Information regarding the application process is distributed to UR medical students in the Fall.

For more information about this, please email

Summer Research Award in Health Humanities

The Health Humanities Summer Research Award supports small, well-designed projects that address a question/issue in healthcare using materials and approaches from the humanities discipline, including literature, history, philosophy, ethics, law, religious studies, gender/disabilities/cultural studies, fine arts, or performing arts. Exceptional projects in social sciences, such as anthropology, will also be considered.

For more information about this, please email

Schyve Center Summer Research in Bioethics

The Schyve Center of Bioethics is the result of an endowment from Dr. Paul Schyve. The Center was named in 2015 and will serve as a Center for coordinating, integrating, and enhancing bioethics education throughout the University of Rochester and the region. As per Dr. Schyve’s wishes, the Center will engage and serve the UR community broadly including URMC, SON, and the River Campus. Learn more about this fellowship on the Paul M. Schyve, MD Center for Bioethics website.

Extracurricular Opportunities

Faculty partner with students to support and mentor student-initiated activities:

  • Health Humanities Interest Group
  • Bioethics Interest Group (BIG Thoughts)
  • Corner Society for the History of Medicine
  • Progress Notes - writing group
  • Murmur - literary arts journal
  • Medical Humanities Interest Group
  • The Reflector – annually updated online to be companion for the Dissector
  • Mindfulness Interest Group
  • Science of Compassion in Medicine (SCIM)
  • Eastman Performing Arts in Medicine (EPAM)

Projects & Publications