Welcome | Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

       Center for Ethics, Humanities & Spirituality


When illness strikes, patients reach inside for sources of strength and explanation to sustain them through their crisis. These core sources may come from cultural, social, and spiritual values and beliefs and experiences which give meaning to life and create the patient's identity. Discerning these sources of meaning and identity, and the capability to connect with them in establishing a relationship are essential components of the clinician's task. We believe that ethics, humanities and spirituality can be used as a force to positively influence the work of healthcare professionals to the benefits of our community and our world. Our focus is to humanize the practice of healthcare and address the challenges of the impersonal forces of bio-medicine by studying and teaching ways in which compassionate care may be delivered in an ethically-sound, spiritually sensitive, and culturally appropriate manner.

Our Values

Respect: We believe it is vital to respect the humanity and dignity of each person; every human is multi-faceted, complex and unique and that contained within each individual are multitudes of possibility. When the humanity of one person is undermined it diminishes us all, when it is upheld it elevates us all.
Duty: We believe the professional should exhibit a sense of duty towards patients, towards the professional of healthcare, and towards oneself while upholding the highest ethical aspirations of humanistic practice. Professionalism supports respect for a diverse workforce and patient population.
Excellence: We work to create a shared, sustainable and intellectually open environment where innovative thinking can inspire a commitment to lifelong learning and resilience in the face of challenge. We are committed to the professional development of all stakeholders as a way to design solutions to a changing healthcare environment. We respect and celebrate excellence and encourage its expression in ourselves and in those we serve.
Integrity: We believe that in order to live a life of meaning and purpose one must be honest not just with others but also with oneself. We must constantly ask ourselves if our behavior and actions reflect who we really are so that we remain true to ourselves.
Compassion: We believe compassion is an integral dimension of patient care and an expression of our common humanity. The cultivation of compassion is necessary as an aid to healing for patients, their families, and caregivers.


Class of 2018

Medical Humanities

The Medical Humanities encompass the human dimensions of medicine and serve to remind healthcare providers that medicine is an art as well as a science. The medical humanities are the ideal mechanism to promote the Oslerian ideals of the art and science of medicine. The Center seeks to enrich the life of the entire HSC campuses through engagement with humanistic values and educational opportunities.

Medical Humanities Certificate Program:

This program offers students the opportunity to enrich their medical education through participation in elective courses, lecture series, volunteer opportunities, writing workshops, and directed research programs. This program encompasses all four years of medical school and confers a special honor and dean's recognition upon graduation.

The Certificate Program is designed to foster a deep scholarly understanding of and personal appreciation for the role of humanistic medicine over a four year course of medical education. Our goal is to create a space to reflect on the character, compassion, and values which define medicine as a calling and each individual as a member of the profession of medicine, and allow students to participate in elective courses, seminar series, cultural events, and community activities that promote a humanistic professional identity formation.

Students may participate in Summer Research and have the opportunity to present their work at national conferences such where they gain experience and feedback from scholars from around the country.

Collaboration with Texas Tech Law School:

Dr. Erwin is a speaker at the TTU Law School where she brings her expertise in Health Law and Ethics to an interdisciplinary audience.  Medical students in the Medical Humanities Certificate Program are invited to interact with lawyers interested in healthcare, biosecurity, and public health law

Medical Humanities and Ethics:

All of our classes are available to students and faculty at the Health Sciences Center.  Students in good academic standing may earn credit towards a Certificate through the application process described on this page. 

The Center also provides required content in medical ethics to all students in years MS1 through MS4. 

For more information contact:

Madison V. Hood

(806) 743 - 2136