Special Section: Bioethics Education

Medical Humanities: An E-Module at the University of Manchester


The importance of humanities in the medical curriculum is increasingly recognized. For example, in the United Kingdom, The General Medical Council (GMC), which is an independent body established under the Medical Act 1858 and responsible, among other things, for fostering good medical practice and promoting high standards of medical education, in its publication Tomorrow’s Doctors, encouraged inclusion of humanities in the medical curriculum. Literature, arts, poetry, and philosophy are thought to foster the doctors’ ability to “communicate with patients, to penetrate more deeply into the patient’s wider narrative, and to seek more diverse ways of promoting well being and reducing the impact of illness or disability.”

Simona Giordano, Ph.D., is Senior Lecturer of Bioethics at the Center for Social Ethics and Policy/Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation at the University of Manchester and director of the ethics and law curriculum in the Medical School at the University of Manchester, England. She is the author of Exercise and Eating Disorders, an Ethical and Legal Analysis (Routledge, 2010).


I thank Dr. Caroline Boggies for the support given to this enterprise. My gratitude to Professor Margaret Brazier for having read and commented on this paper. A special thanks to the 30 students who have volunteered to take this course and who have contributed to make it so interesting for me.