Edward W. Hook Scholars in Humanities and Ethics

Edward W. Hook Scholars in Humanities and Ethics
Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities
University of Virginia School of Medicine


photo of Edward W. Hook with books

The Edward W. Hook Scholars Program in Humanities and Ethics* complements UVA’s four-year medical curriculum by providing an informal humanities, bioethics, and arts pathway through all four years of medical education. Each year, the program selects up to four first-year medical students who have demonstrated interest and/or accomplishments in the humanities, bioethics, and/or fine and performing arts and who intend to keep such interest alive and aligned with their medical studies. Hook Scholars become a vibrant part of the life of the Center for Health Humanities and Ethics (CHHE), which provides an organizational framework and mentoring as scholars integrate humanities, bioethics, and arts pursuits into their medical school experience and professional identity formation. See the CHHE website for program features and expectations: https://med.virginia.edu/biomedical-ethics/

Begun in 2012, the Hook Scholars Program has graduated 36 scholars and currently enrolls twelve in the classes of 2021, 2022, and 2023. Scholars’ interests have included music, literature, history, bioethics, creative writing, visual art, film, environmental humanities, and health policy. Graduates have gone on to residencies in medicine, surgery, ob/gyn, family medicine, psychiatry, physical medicine and rehab, interventional radiology, anesthesiology, neurology, pediatrics, and pathology.


* The Hook Scholars Program is named in memory of longtime UVA Department of Medicine chair Edward W. Hook MD (1924-1998). A celebrated clinician, investigator, teacher, and national medical leader, Dr. Hook inspired others to understand disease, doctoring, and health in terms of culture, class, geography, economics, psychology, ethics, the arts, and politics as well as the biological sciences. He sought to train better, more humanistic doctors by helping students and residents develop and deploy core clinical competencies of observation, reflection, moral awareness, and compassion. While chair of Medicine, Dr. Hook was founding chair of UVA’s hospital ethics committee. He led the effort to purchase and place original art works in public areas of University Hospital. He created the medical school’s first faculty position in bioethics (John Fletcher PhD, 1988). When Dr. Hook retired as department chair in 1991, he founded and led the Program of Humanities in Medicine, predecessor to the present Center for Health Humanities
and Ethics.