Center for Health Humanities & Ethics

The UVA Center for Health Humanities and Ethics

Statement on Structural Injustices in the COVID-19 Era

Over two decades ago, during another pandemic, Dr. Paul Farmer, in Infections and Inequalities, declared that “critical perspectives on emerging infections must ask how large-scale social forces come to have their effects on unequally positioned individuals in increasingly interconnected populations.” Sadly, his call remains equally, and perhaps even more, salient in the COVID-19 era, throughout the United States and the world. For COVID-19 is not just revealing of societal inequities but a parasite to our host of persistent structural injustices across socioeconomic, racial, and political contexts. In our current environment, the many wounds of vulnerable and marginalized populations have not only been reopened but also deepened. Such wounds cannot be managed with superficial treatments. Ongoing structural injustice in a society calls for clear-eyed, concerted, and extended commitment to structural transformation.

The faculty and staff of the UVA Center for Health Humanities and Ethics stand fast in our responsibility to challenge these structural injustices, and to promote justice and healing in their stead. We recognize that while these injustices are often clearly, even painfully apparent, the path to their resolution is yet largely uncharted and will require persistent questioning, action, reflexive listening and open dialogue, and re-action. Guided by our core values of community and civic engagement, moral imagination, and interdisciplinary and interprofessional inquiry, we commit ourselves to this work of healing, using critical health humanities and healthcare ethics, teaching, and practice. In so doing, we invite others to join us, and welcome collaborations across our university and throughout diverse communities in our state, nation, and world. Together, we will work to enact changes toward creating the thriving, brave, and compassionate world in which every person is valued, treated with fairness and kindness, and assured of equal opportunity.

Mission Statement

The UVA Center for Health Humanities & Ethics  is a diverse interprofessional community of scholars, teachers, and practitioners whose interests in the human dimensions of illness, health, and health care bridge clinical and social sciences, arts and humanities, ethics and law, philosophy and religion.

Our mission is to demonstrate the complementary nature of our disciplines while furthering their productive integration and application in the classroom and clinic, at the bedside, and in the community.

The center offers ethics and humanities education for medical students, residents, and faculty in many different formats and venues.  In addition, center faculty teach graduate and undergraduate courses in biomedical ethics and humanities across a number of UVA schools and programs.  


COVID-19 Ethics Resources

This portion of our website provides relevant articles from the literature regarding ethical issues that have or may arise during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will keep it updated, and welcome any suggested additions that you might have.
Learn More

photo of the Center for health humanities and ethics report on Center Activities for January 2020

January 2020 report on Center Activities

The Center's 2020 report on Center Activities can be found here.
Learn more


Health Care Ethics and Moral Distress Consultation Intensive Training and Refresher Course

This intensive 4-day training program is designed for practicing health care professionals who wish to develop healthcare ethics and moral distress consultation knowledge and skills, and as a refresher/preparation course for consultants pursuing Healthcare Ethics Consultation Certification (HEC-C) from the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH). The training will emphasize the four content domains for certification determined by the ASBH.
Read more

Support Our Mission

Help us in our continuing efforts to demonstrate the complementary nature of our disciplines while furthering their productive integration and application in the classroom and clinic, at the bedside, and in the community.