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Medical Humanities

The Medical Humanities Program aims to support those who work to create a healthier future for children and women throughout our global community by teaching, promoting and engaging in medical humanities. We provide both educational and professional development activities for anyone at Texas Children’s Hospital who desires to incorporate or enhance the practice of humanism in medicine.

What are Medical Humanities?

Medical Humanities is an interdisciplinary field of medicine that incorporates humanities such as literature, philosophy, ethics, sociology, visual arts and performance arts into medical education and practice.

Who can participate?

Medical Humanities Group events and activities are primarily designed for those at Texas Children’s Hospital who participate in caring for children and women, but anyone is welcome to attend and participate at any event or activity.


Parallel Charting for Pediatric Global Health Residents:

This activity currently on hold due to COVID-19 pandemic-related travel restrictions.

Parallel Charting is a Narrative Medicine practice that encourages clinicians to put into words the profound ways in which the stories of their patients influence the care provided to them.  Historically, Global Health resident experiences have relied on journaling or an exit interview to help trainees process the life-changing experiences inherent in practicing medicine in resource-poor settings and then returning to a busy residency training program.  The goal of this program is to provide trainees with additional skill training and support for processing their experiences and the way those experiences will impact the care they provide in the future. 

Pediatric Residency LEAD Track Narrative Medicine Curriculum:

The LEAD Track consists of a self-selected group of pediatric residents who intend to focus on pediatric advocacy and leadership throughout their career.  This program incorporates Narrative Medicine into their three-year longitudinal curriculum as a way to cultivate empathy and recognize the powerful role storytelling plays in advocacy.  

Pediatric Hospice and Palliative Medicine (HPM) Narrative Medicine Curriculum:

The recognition of the human elements of care, illness and suffering are essential to both the practice of Palliative Care and the practice of Narrative Medicine.  This program incorporates Narrative Medicine and Medical Humanities discussion and skill training into the Pediatric HPM Fellowship Didactic Curriculum.  

Professional Identity Formation for Pediatric Physician Scientist Training and Development Program:

All medical trainees undergo the formation of a professional identity. For physician scientists, this requires formation of a complicated dual professional identity. This narrative medicine-based curriculum facilitates reflection and insight-building for pediatric physician scientists.

Meet the Team

Daniel P. Mahoney, MD
Assistant Professor
Pediatrics – Palliative Care
Director, Medical Humanities Program

If traditional medical training emphasizes the “how” we practice medicine, engaging with the humanities refreshes the “why” we practice medicine. The arts and humanities can teach us how to listen more closely to our patients and to ourselves – and both practices enhance the patient-clinician relationship. It’s an honor and a pleasure to be able to share the things I love – fiction, poetry, music, film, ethics – with other clinicians at Texas Children’s Hospital and across the Texas Medical Center, and in the process hopefully lead others to beautiful insights about the shared experiences of vulnerability and humanity in medicine. If you are interested in learning more about medical humanities or about how to participate in our activities with us, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via email at

Amanda Ruth, MD
Assistant Professor
Pediatrics – Critical Care
Associate Director, Medical Humanities Program

I've always had a deep love for literature. I love how it can transport us to different worlds, or hold a mirror to the one we live in, and sometimes to both simultaneously. More and more, however, I've realized that the true power of literature is the way it allows us to delve into another's story, to catch a glimpse of someone else's lived experience. In our rushed existence and medical practice, we sometimes lose sight of that important connection between physician and patient. I believe that medical humanities is a way to encourage us to pause and reflect on both our own and others' experiences. This in turn enables us to honor our patients with our full attention. I have also had the privilege of engaging in narrative medicine sessions with colleagues and various trainees, and it is both a powerful teaching tool, and an opportunity to appreciate our shared humanity. I am excited to continue expanding our medical humanities program here in the medical center.

Kriti Puri, MD
Assistant Professor
Pediatrics – Cardiology
Medical Humanities Faculty

As one of the pediatric cardiac intensivists and pediatric cardiologists at Texas Children's Hospital, I have the privilege to care for children and families from across the country and the world here to seek better health for their child. Improving outcomes for these patients involves not just the cutting-edge of technology but also empowering them to engage with and truly become a part of their care team. Medical humanities, through literature, music, and art, helps us form those connections with our diverse patients and families as we move forward together to make their child feel better as a whole. I believe that it also provides us the skills and media to interact and connect with each other in the hospital as we operate in a large and multifaceted team towards a common goal for our complex patients. For instance, Dr Amanda Ruth and I co-founded the Books@Heart program in the TCH Heart Center to provide books and reading guidance to infants and their families. This program involves families, providers, therapists, and nurses - and gives parents a semblance of normalcy and control while they are in the hospital in circumstances quite outside their control.

Narrative Medicine Facilitators

  • Marina Ma, MD
  • Claire Crawford, PhD, LMSW, APHSW-C
  • Nancy Glass, MD, MBA
  • Audrea Burns, PhD


Past Events


Contact Us

Texas Medical Center
Texas Children's West Tower, W1990

Follow Us on Social Media

Twitter: TCHMedHum