Electives for Fourth-Year Medical Students

Students in their fourth year are encouraged to round out their medical education at UVA with study of the medical humanities and biomedical ethics. Humanities and ethics study can help students to (1) cultivate skills of critical and reflective thought; (2) reflect on ethics, values, traditions, spiritual concerns, and professional life; (3) explore the many dimensions and contexts of human experience; and (4) attend to their own formation as professionals. Skills acquired and refined through study of the humanities and ethics contribute to humanistic qualities and professional competencies that medical schools and residency programs routinely assess, including communication and narrative skills, compassion, self-reflection, ethics and professionalism, respect for others, cultural understanding, and understanding of medicine in society.

Humanities and ethics electives are offered throughout fourth year. Most are four-week courses. A student may take up to eight weeks total of humanities and bioethics course work toward graduation. Courses are offered only if there is an enrollment of at least four students.

UVA’s medical humanities electives address core competencies as follows:

Narrative Medicine and Professionalism

Literature and Medicine
Images of Medicine in Film, Literature, and Visual Arts
Inter professional Seminars in Ethics & Professional Life

Biomedical Ethics

Ethics in Healthcare Systems
Medicine, Law, and Ethics
Reflection and Spirituality

Religious Traditions and Medicine

Mindful Practice/Mindful Life
Suffering, Medicine, and Faith

Cultural Competence

Culture and Medicine
Elementary Medical Spanish – Language & Culture
Intermediate Medical Spanish – Language & Culture

Medicine and Society

History of Medicine
Public Health in Fiction and Film
Ethics, Society, and Human Biology

All competencies

The Calls of Medicine
Independent Research in Humanities

For detailed descriptions, see http://www.med-ed.virginia.edu/handbook/electives/humanities/index.cfm