A newsletter from the Division of Medical Humanities at NYU Langone Health
July 23, 2021

Empathy in patient care: from ‘Clinical Empathy’ to ‘Empathic Concern’

This review article by Clarissa Guidi & Chiara Traversa attempts to to bring clarity to the diverse and widely debated definitions and conceptions of empathy within the medical field.

Medicine and Society: Stepping Stones

The latest Medicine & Society collection in the New England Journal of Medicine features essays about the path to physicianhood, from medical school through residency training.

A mirror in fiction: drawing parallelisms between Camus’s La Peste and COVID-19

Through a close reading and analysis of Albert Camus' La Peste (The Plague), author César Pérez Romero uses passages from the novel to explore the commonalities between the book's fictional plague and our own experiences with COVID-19.

The Pulse of Life

The pulse is a vital sign of life. Medicine past and present has measured the rhythmic pulsation that can be felt at various points on the body for signs of illness, love and stress. From birth to death, your pulse confirms that you’re alive. The Wellcome Collection explores the pulse in pictures and text.

Highlights from Projects and People in
Humanities and Ethics at NYU Langone Health

New Annotation: Sebastian Galbo on Imagining Vesalius: An Ekphrastic, Scholarly and Literary Celebration of the 1543 De Humani Corporis Fabrica of Andreas Vesalius by Richard Ratzan

“[The author] brings together scholars and creative writers to celebrate the legacy of the sixteenth-century Flemish physician and anatomist, Andreas Vesalius and his landmark text, De Humani Corporis.

Reading Foucault’s The Birth of the Clinic in 2021: Does the Gaze Still Dominate its Masters?

"For Foucault," writes J. Russell Teagarden, "modern times begin with the 'birth of the clinic,' and he links medical experience to 'medical perception.'...The gaze determines the extent of medical knowledge." Given the advances since the book was written, Teagarden considers whether the gaze still dominates in 2021.

Support the Literature, Arts, and Medicine
Database and Magazine

As someone who is interested in Medical Humanities, we hope you will join us in support of the Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database and Magazine. One of the core components of NYU Langone’s Division of Medical Humanities, LitMed is an open access collection of more than 3,000 annotations of works of literature, art, and performing arts that provide insight into the human condition. Please make a gift today. Learn more.

The Burns Archive Photo of the Week

Artificial Blood Substitute, circa 1938

The Holy Grail of therapeutic blood replacement is an artificial blood substitute that would be equivalent to whole blood, containing all of its characteristics and properties. If such a substance were developed, one use could be in hemodialysis to filter the blood. This photograph captures one attempt in the endeavor to produce artificial blood. Dr. Gottdenker of Vienna is shown promoting his formula. Unfortunately, his substitute was a failure. As with many efforts to advance medical science, premature announcements are common, serving to raise hopes and to promote the researcher. To this day, the creation of a complete blood substitute remains elusive. If one were found, it would solve a multitude of medical, surgical, and trauma conditions. The amazing advance of medicine in the past century, particularly in genetic engineering, gives hope that a blood substitute will one day be developed.

With thanks to The Burns Archive for providing historic medical photographs and commentary for this weekly feature


Quick Links

Calls for Submission & Other Opportunities

Call for Medical Humanities Submissions for International Journal of Disease Reversal and Prevention (IJDRP)

SEEKING: Original, previously unpublished poetry, reflective essays, personal vignettes, book reviews, and visual art that pertains to the practice of health promotion, disease reversal, and/or disease prevention.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: July 25th, 2021 (Publication date September 2021)

MORE INFORMATION/AUTHOR GUIDELINES: www.ijdrp.orgMedical Humanities

CONTACT: For additional information, please contact Casey Means, MD, Section Editor, at



Events & Conferences



A comedy show dedicated to the illnesses and injuries we endure in our lifetime.

All That Remains: The Moth at Green-Wood Cemetery


SheNYC Arts: Plague Doctor!


Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health

Dr. Leana Wen + Brooke Baldwin

Doctors Without Boundaries


Shakespeare’s Developing Sense of Empathy


Historical Nonfiction: Research-Based Writing With Hadley Meares

4-week workshop
Section B: Meets Wednesdays beginning August 18
Section C: Meets Sundays beginning September 19

Bibliotherapy & Marginalized Identity: Borders, Boundaries, Crossing Lines


The Art of Death With Tessa Fontaine

This five-part seminar explores notions of death and dying around the world, drawing from biology, history, and beyond. Each 1.5 hour session takes place on consecutive Mondays beginning September 13.

Making Art About Death

A six-week online class with artist and educator Jill Littlewood
Dates: Sundays, September 26, October 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31 

ASBH’s 23rd Annual Conference

Program Theme: Bioethics and Humanities at the Crossroads
Virtual Meeting
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