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Following an initiative taken by the Nuffield Trust, an ad hoc steering committee consisting of the authors of this paper was convened under the auspices of the Trust in order to bring about the establishment of an academic Association for the Medical Humanities in the United Kingdom and Ireland (see page 63). (1)
The present paper seeks to do two things: (A) to propose the founding of an academic Association for Medical Humanities, as a representative focus for medical humanities research and teaching in medical schools and universities in the United Kingdom and Ireland; and (B) to propose for discussion a conception of the nature, identity and scope of medical humanities as a field of study.
(A) An Association for Medical Humanities
1. Several universities and associated medical schools in the British Isles have introduced, or are preparing to introduce, the medical humanities as a field of academic teaching and/or research.
2. The medical humanities needs a national, specific, academic association, comparable to those enjoyed by most if not all academic disciplines, to enable those engaged in the field to identify and discuss matters of common interest and to share their experiences regarding teaching and research.
3. The Association for Medical Humanities is proposed as a voluntary academic association to play such a role.
4. The Association for Medical Humanities should facilitate the …