Physicians pursuing the humanities: Benefits and barriers

Howard Brody, Julia E. Connelly, Henry S. Perkins, Gail J. Povar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We surveyed selected physician members of the Society for Health and Human Values (SHHV) to study the benefits and problems of combining a medical career with a strong scholarly interest in the humanities. The 19 usable narrative responses characterized major benefits as experiential base and teaching opportunities. Barriers were numerous and fell under the general headings of: lack of time; lack of institutional rewards; lack of money for research and scholarship; lack of support from humanities peers; lack of suport from medical colleagues; personal financial sacrifice; and lack of training. Some respondents offered creative solutions to these problems, including assertive negotiation of a job description, identification of helpful mentors, and various networking and administrative strategies. The survey results, while preliminary, suggest ways in which SHHV can assist clinicians who wish to develop a serious commitment to humanities study and teaching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-169
Number of pages7
JournalThe Journal of Medical Humanities
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy

Cite this

Brody, H., Connelly, J. E., Perkins, H. S., & Povar, G. J. (1994). Physicians pursuing the humanities: Benefits and barriers. The Journal of Medical Humanities, 15(3), 163-169.