An Interdisciplinary Conference
Stanford University 2000-2001

Directors: Audrey Shafer & Larry Zaroff
Coordinator: Sara Auld

History and Philosophy of Science, Tim Lenoir
Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, Barbara Koenig
Stanford Anesthesia Department

Funded by generous gifts by:
The Bernard Osher Foundation
Karetsky Foundation
Susan and Jim Breyer

Students - Spring Quarter: You may enroll in History and Philosophy of Science 169: Medical Humanities Workshop for 1 unit, pass/no pass only. Attendance at 6 of the 8 spring sessions is required.

Physicians - Please note our new offer of CME credit:

ACCREDITATION STATEMENT The Stanford University School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to sponsor continuing medical education for physicians. The Stanford University School of Medicine takes responsibility for the content, quality, and scientific integrity of this CME activity.

The Stanford University School of Medicine designates this educational activity for up to 1 hour (each session) in category 1 credit towards the AMA Physician's Recognition Award. Each physician should claim only those hours of credit that he/she actually spent in the educational activity.

The transition to market-based medicine in the United States has brought with it a new series of problems and questions about the practice of medicine. Issues such as dealing with the dying patient, appreciating the complexity of the provider-patient relationship, and understanding the subtle yet powerful role of gender in the physician-patient interaction have all too often gotten lost in the struggle to control costs.

In September 1999, we introduced a nine-month workshop series in the Medical Humanities. We are pleased to continue again this year exploring these and related issues in a dialogue between health care workers and those active in the humanities. Interested Bay Area physicians and health care workers are invited to participate in the series with faculty and graduate students and others in the community.

Meetings will be on Monday evenings at 7pm in the
Lane History Building, room 307
Stanford University, unless otherwise announced.


There is a natural association between medicine and the humanities, one that has been insufficiently explored, and only occasionally put to use in contemporary medical practice. In spite of the mutual advantages of an alliance between medicine and humanistic disciplines such as literature, history, and philosophy, one seldom encounters an interdisciplinary program of this type. Much can be learned about how patients confront death from The Death of Ivan Ilych, much can be discovered about the reaction to epidemic disease from Defoe and Camus. Reading Randy Shilts's And The Band Played On demonstrates in ways not encountered on hospital wards how words can be a matter of life or death. Discovering how philosophers from centuries gone by view the responsibilities of the powerful when dealing with the powerless can shed tremendous new light on the ethical responsibility of physicians in an age of limited resources. Exploring European history can reveal how the British Parliament's refusal to provide money for relief of victims of the bubonic plague during the seventeenth century puts an entirely new perspective on Shilts' description of the government's initial response to AIDS when it was labeled the "gay plague."


Central to the workshop will be a speaker from the humanities or medicine, graduate student or faculty--on issues of history, literature, philosophy, linguistics, anthropology, and biomedical ethics that relate to medical practice and research and that deserve an interdisciplinary approach. Following this presentation will be a commentary by a participant from the related field. The following is a preliminary announcement of this year's program.

Words can be a matter of life or death.
"...the bruised heart was pierced through the ear" (Othello).

OCT 9, 2000 BARTON BERNSTEIN (History Department, Stanford University)

Reconsidering the Ill-Fated US Swine Flu Vaccination Program of 1976--The Pandemic That Never Happened.

OCT 16, 2000 FREDERIC LUSKIN (Medicine Department, Stanford University)

Effect of Spiritual and Religious Practices on Cardiovascular Disease.
Commentator: Ed Lowenstein (Anesthesia, Harvard University)

OCT 23 ELLEN MEASE (Visiting Associate Professor, Dept of Drama, Stanford University)

Three Endgames: Philoctetes, Ghosts and Endgame. Three dramatic perspectives on life's wounds and attendant illness, and the prospects for cure, care, and closure.
Commentator: Ehren Fordyce (Assistant Professor, Dept of Drama, Stanford University)

OCT 30 MICHAEL MARMOR (Professor, Ophthalmology, Stanford University)

Art and Eye Disease: Limits and Lessons of the Medical Retrospectoscope.
Commentator: Nancy Anderson (Stanford University)

NOV 6 PETER WHITMER (Clinical Psychologist)

When One Twin Dies.

NOV 13 KEITH WAILOO (Professor, History of Science and Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Dying in the City of the Blues: Sickle Cell Anemia and the Politics of Race and Health in the 20th Century South.
Commentator: Peter Greenberg (Professor, Hematology, Stanford University)

DEC 4 GERALD FRIEDLAND (Professor, Emeritus, Radiology, Stanford University)

Medicine's Ten Greatest Discoveries.

DEC 11 ANNA SPUDICH (Independent Scholar)

Ayurveda, The Practices Beyond The Potions: An Ayurvedic Scholar and a Tribal Healer in Kerala.

JAN 22, 2001 JOHN STEVENSON (Associate Professor and Department Chair, English, University of Colorado at Boulder)

Some Versions of Medicine and the Medical Profession in the Novels of Henry Fielding and Samuel Richardson.

FEB 5 LES FRIEDMAN (Lecturer, Communications and Medicine & Radio/Television/Film, Northwestern University)

Monsters, Medicine and Morals: The Strange Case of Dr. Frankenstein.


"A Poetry Reading at the Medical Center"
12:15pm Fairchild Auditorium
Stanford University School of Medicine

Also funded by Helen and Peter Bing

FEB 26 RICHARD SELZER (Surgery, Yale University)

The Doctor as Writer.
Commentator: Mahala Yates Stripling (Texas Christian University)

Also, an informal talk at the Medical School at noon, room M108.

MAR 5 EMANUEL M. PAPPER (Professor, Anesthesiology, University of Miami)

The Evolution of Societal Attitudes Towards Pain and Suffering: Their Influence on the Development of Anesthesia.

MAR 12 LILLIAN FURST (Medicine and Humanities, University of North Carolina)

Commentator: Edith Gelles (Senior Scholar, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Stanford University)


Voices in the Gallery. (Joan and Dannie Abse) with
A Strong Dose of Myself. (Dannie Abse)

APR 16 CAROLINE WELLBERY (Assistant Professor, Family Medicine, Georgetown University)

After Mid-Life and Suffering Redux: Two Essays.

APR 23 JONATHAN BERGER (Associate Professor, Music, Stanford University)

Modeling the Musical Experience.

MAY 7 ARNOLD WEINSTEIN (Professor, Comparative Literature, Brown University)

The Narrative of Exposure: Confluences of Literature and Medicine.

MAY 14 THOMAS P. HUGHES ( Emeritus Professor of the History of Technology, University of Pennsylvania, Distinguished Visiting Professor at MIT)

Networks of Power.

MAY 21 LARRY ALTMAN (MD and writer for the Science Department of the New York Times)

Who Goes First? The Story of Self-Experimentation.

JUN 4 MAUD GLEASON (Lecturer, Classics, Stanford University)

'How to Slam a Colleague:' by Galen of Pergamum.

JUN 11 PETER E. DANS (Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins)

Women Doctors in the Movies: Where are they?

* note: schedule to be expanded and revised - check back here regularly

Questions about the workshop? Contact the organizer, Dr. Larry Zaroff, site designed and maintained by Rosemary Rogers Contact Rosemary to add your name to the email mailing list.