About the Program

The Ackerman Program seeks to enhance research and teaching across a wide spectrum of fields devoted to the study of the culture of medicine. In recent years, considerable interest has developed in a broad range of humanistic and social science disciplines concerning issues of health, disease, and medicine across time and cultures. The Program responds to this interest by encouraging new and creative scholarship in the humanities and the interpretive social sciences that will benefit health care and medicine in the future.

Some of the topics to be explored include:

  • Historical perspectives on health and disease
  • The social impact of new medical and scientific knowledge on practices and outcomes
  • Humanistic and ethical perspectives on patient-healer relationships
  • Global and cross-cultural perspectives on health and medicine
  • Literary and artistic depictions of medicine and the experience of disease
  • Moral development and medical professionalism
“Our objective here is not merely the revivification of
medicine and the animation of certain aspects of universities, but to make a major contribution to society.”
A. BERNARD ACKERMAN
About Dr. Ackerman

A. Bernard Ackerman, a physician and professor who devoted his career to finding inventive and engaging ways of teaching, has created a new endowment at Harvard for the study of culture and medicine. The A. Bernard Ackerman Endowment for the Culture of Medicine has established a professorship and supports a wide range of activities that encourage collaboration among the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), Harvard Medical School (HMS), and other departments throughout the University. The endowment will help Harvard educate students - both those who will become physicians and those who will someday be patients — about the interdisciplinary dimension of the physician-patient relationship.