• 23 April 2013

    GCPH Seminar Series 9 Lecture 6 - Prof. Jane Macnaughton

    Location: The Teacher Building , 14 St Enoch Square, Glasgow, G1 4DB
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    Professor Jane Macnaughton
    Professor of Medical Humanities, and Co-Director, Centre for Medical Humanities, Durham University

    Since 2008, the Centre for Medical Humanities at Durham University has been engaged in a Wellcome Trust funded programme of work entitled ‘Medicine and Human Flourishing’. One important aim of this programme is to demonstrate that medical humanities has potential as a research field not just to impact on the education of health professionals, but critically to engage with major challenges in medical science and public health. The overarching critique represented by the medical humanities is that the powerful gravitational pull and success of medicine over the past century has led health to be viewed almost entirely from the perspective of medical science. Therefore health research, policy and practice tends to be informed by the methods, protocols and training approaches of biomedicine ignoring wider sources of understanding of what makes human lives go well. Those sources include the humanities, which are concerned with the nature of embodied existence, the importance of inter-subjectivity, the value of aesthetic experience, and the mysteries of spiritual feeling in human lives. These themes resonate strongly with the notion of the ‘fifth wave’ in public health, and this lecture explored this relationship and connected ideas of balance, change and emergence.

    * The fifth wave perspective suggests that since the 18th century enlightenment there have been three main waves of ideas (reason, materialism and modernism). There have been four main waves of public health intervention associated with these (municipalism, the refinement of the scientific approach, the welfare state and risk theory of disease). The fifth wave suggests that the effect of these is diminishing and that a new fifth wave is needed. 

    Jane Macnaughton is Professor of Medical Humanities at Durham University in the UK and co-director of the University’s Centre for Medical Humanities (CMH).  She became Deputy Head of the School of Medicine and Health in 2009.  She has published in the fields of medical education, medical humanities, literature and medicine, history of medicine and health care environments.  Recently her work has turned to engagement in critical public health especially in the field of smoking research. Jane’s current clinical work is in gynaecology and she is an Honorary Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University Hospital of North Durham.  She is married to a medical anthropologist and has two sons and a dog.

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