Medical Humanities Scholars Track

The Academy for Medicine and the Humanities invites students at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) to propose ideas for projects in the medical arts and humanities that would be eligible for summer funding. Projects should relate to the student’s previous experience and future professional or academic goals. Examples of successful projects include:

  • Developing curricula (e.g., creation of an Academy / Nexus course)
  • Conducting research (e.g., in medical humanities education)
  • Developing creative projects with a grounding in clinical experience and a clear objective that serves medicine
  • Producing publishable articles, intended for an academic or popular audience

The program director, consulting with other faculty, approves all projects, including the topic and clinical experience. Once the project is approved, the director assigns the student at least one mentor; some projects require separate mentors for the clinical and for the artistic or academic aspects.

Students must select a clinical mentor from the ISMMS faculty. Non-clinical mentors must have a demonstrated record of expertise in their area of study. All mentors who are not ISMMS faculty members must submit a letter of commitment to the mentor role and in support of the project.

We strongly encourage you to produce a paper, journal article, presentation, public policy intervention, or program evaluation, and to submit work for presentation at external scientific meetings and/ or for publication in peer-reviewed journals. In some cases, external dissemination of your work will qualify for Distinction in Research.

Participating in the Medical Humanities Scholars Track allows you to fulfill their research graduation requirement by submitting a first-author abstract approved by the mentor and track advisor for Medical Student Research Day and presenting the project as a poster or an oral talk. We anticipate that students who continue to work on their summer projects during Flex Time in the fall of Year 2 will be able to fulfill the graduation requirement at Research Day in the spring of Year 2.

To gain approval, projects must fit the following criteria:

1. You must acquire or contribute new knowledge related to clinical or academic medicine derived from one or several sources, including:

a. Direct patient contact
b. Contact with individuals or groups outside traditional medical settings
c. Academic research (e.g., history of medicine; medicine and literature, medical anthropology or sociology)

2. You must have a background in their selected methodology (e.g., a student wishing to conduct an ethnographic study would need undergraduate training in anthropology or other relevant experience)

3. The project must be ethical (i.e., not exploitative of patients) and in keeping with your role and level of training

4. The project needs a clearly defined research question/hypothesis, focus, topic of exploration/goal, and must be feasible within the time available (two months for a summer project)

5. You must be willing to present the proposal at a peer working group meeting and, if the project is accepted, attend follow-up meetings over the summer, and participate the following year in a peer advisory role

Students participating in the Medical Humanities Scholars Track benefit from working with one or more faculty mentors and the track advisor, and from the overall community of fellow arts and humanities scholars.

Mentors meet with their student mentees at least twice during the summer period and, optimally, on a weekly basis. Mentors write a progress report in the middle of the summer and a final report at the end of the project period. They must be qualified and willing to provide ongoing critical feedback and to help their students prepare the projects for publication or other formal dissemination to the public. You should report any problems with logistics, attendance, or professionalism to the track advisor immediately.