MD Program

Contact the Humanities Distinction Track

1216 MERF
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2600

Lauris Kaldjian, MD, PhD
Co-director (Ethics/Humanities)
Phone: (319) 335-6706

Jason T. Lewis, MFA
Co-director (Writing/Humanities)
Phone: (319) 335-8051

Fax: (319) 335-8643

  • Humanities Distinction Track

    Requirements and Graduation Criteria

    Progress Reports

    Each student in the HDT will submit Progress Reports on March 1 of the M2 year, March 1 of the M3 year, and October 1 of the M4 year. Students who are not satisfying the HDT requirements will be notified and, if subsequent satisfactory progress is not demonstrated, will not be allowed to continue to participate in the HDT.

    Oral Presentation

    Each student will make a final oral presentation to the HDT Council in April of the M4 year.

    Criteria for Graduating with Distinction in Humanities

    • Successful Collaboration with a Faculty Mentor over the Course of the HDT.
    • Pursuit of Research, Scholarly, or Creative Endeavors in Ethics, Writing, or the Humanities.
      Depending on the focus of activity, this may be facilitated and documented by completion of the following types of activities (the specification and number of which must be approved by the HDT Council):
      • a CCOM Summer Research Fellowship (for ethics projects involving empirical data collection
      • a year-long fellowship or on-line degree program (e.g., in bioethics)
      • a portfolio of creative works
      • an M4 elective rotation (independently arranged)
    • Participation in Research, Scholarly, and/or Creative Activities.
      HDT students must participate in at least one elective activity during the M2 and M4 years (participation in the M1 and M3 years is optional). Examples of such activities include:
      • Examined Life (Writing in Medicine) Elective (M1 and M2 students) and/or The Observer Speaks Elective (M4 students).
      • Bioethics and Humanities Seminar Elective: a 1 credit hour student-led advanced journal club held twice a month in the fall semester.
      • Other equivalent possibilities (requiring approximately 15 hours of contact time per year):
        • Serving as a reader (peer reviewer) for the Examined Life Journal.
        • Students can also arrange for other elective opportunities, based on project and need. These projects or electives must be approved by mentor and co-directors.
    • Preparation of a Final Research, Scholarly, or Creative Work (or works).
      Depending on the nature of the student’s pursuits, these works may constitute a single manuscript (e.g., research or scholarly paper) or a collection of creative works (e.g., a portfolio of an appropriate number of poems or short stories). In any case, the final work must be at least a draft version of a product that is expected to be of sufficient quality to be submitted for publication in an appropriate venue.
    • Summative Reflection.
      Each student will submit a summative written reflection by March 31 of the M4 year. This personal narrative must be 800-1500 words and will describe the student’s insights gained through the course of their work and participation in the HDT and how these insights are expected to influence their practice as a physician and career choices.
    • Oral Presentation of the Final Research, Scholarly, or Creative Work.
      Each student will make a final oral presentation to the HDT Council in April of the M4 year. This will give the student an opportunity to engage the Council members in dialogue and open reflection on the insights they have gained through the course of their work and participation in the HDT.
    • Graduation Nomination Letter from Mentor.
      The Council must receive a Graduation Nomination Letter from each student’s mentor describing the student’s accomplishments through the course of the HDT.
    • Final Approval by the HDT Council.
      At the end of each student’s participation in the HDT, the HDT Council will evaluate each student’s final work product, oral presentation, and Graduation Nomination Letter to determine whether the student has qualified for graduation with Distinction in Humanities.

     Financial Support

    Financial support for independent research, scholarly, or creative activities must be arranged by each student according to resources to which they can gain access.

    Special Circumstances

    Any students who have already been satisfying the requirements of the HDT but have not applied to the HDT on schedule may seek the HDT Council's approval for consideration of late entry into the HDT. Such applications will be treated individually upon the basis of their particular merits.

    Participation in Multiple Tracks

    Participation in the HDT may be combined with participation in other distinction tracks at the CCOM, so long as the necessary requirements for all tracks are satisfied.