Biomedical humanities program launches at Campbell

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The College of Arts and Sciences is offering a new major to students at Campbell University: a Bachelor of Science in biomedical humanities. The program has been in the planning stages for several years, and after much hard work, students have begun declaring the BHUM major for the first time this academic year.

The biomedical humanities program is designed to prepare students for careers rooted in the sciences, including but not limited to medicine, pharmacy and public health, while equipping students to participate in these fields in a way that is attentive to the complexities of the human experience. Students combine biomedical training and coursework in the basic sciences with the rigor of a classical humanities degree. Students can major simply in biomedical humanities (BS), or take a pre-med or pre-law track.

“The biomedical humanities is an innovative and interdisciplinary field,” says Ryan Newson, assistant professor of theology and ethics. “It is the perfect major for students wishing to explore questions raised by the sciences using the methodologies of various humanities disciplines, learning skills of ethical discernment, rhetorical expertise and compassionate engagement in their respective fields.”

Biomedical humanities programs are a new and growing part of universities and medical schools across the country. Their goal is to equip students to explore questions of human nature, the experience of being a patient, the experience of death and dying and complex bioethical issues in a manner that is critical and sensitive to the complexities of these issues.

“The biomedical humanities major is a perfect blend of numerous disciplines of critical importance to Campbell and its mission: the arts, sciences, humanities, and faith,” said Provost Mark Hammond. “Graduates from the program will be uniquely prepared for lives of service and purpose through a better understanding of how faith and inquiry intersect to inform and inspire.”

Ann Ortiz, associate professor of Spanish, agreed. “Having a strong foundation in the humanities develops a sense of wholeness, compassion and insight that are essential to the practice of integrative medicine,” she said.

“What makes Campbell’s program unique is our ability to add an open, robust and critical theological perspective to these conversations,” Newson said. “This is a benefit of our being a university that affirms that truth is revelatory and transcendent as well as empirical and rational.”

The program has several students entering into the program and is attracting interest among incoming students. For more information about the Biomedical Humanities program, visit the program page.