Today@Sam Article

Symposium To Explore Interdisciplinary Studies In Medicine

March 8, 2016
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

The Sam Houston State University College of Humanities and Social Sciences will introduce faculty research topics related to medicine, humanities and social sciences during a one-day roundtable symposium on March 18.

The interdisciplinary event will include two roundtable sessions, a plenary address and a free lunch from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Austin Hall. All activities are free and open to interested students, faculty and staff.

The Medicine-Humanities-Social Sciences Symposium invites select SHSU faculty and staff to share the work that they are doing in their fields and discuss how that work contributes especially to regional and community health care and research initiatives, according to Paul Child, professor of English and symposium program chair.

Roundtable topics will include the binge-drinking epidemic among college students, the application of Geographic Information System technologies to regional health care issues, health communications and AIDS awareness, health care initiatives in Texas Asian-American communities, nursing education, and representations of medicine and epidemics in film and literature.

“Too often researchers and health care professionals see themselves as working in discrete fields; in fact, the work that produces the most important results is always interdisciplinary,” Child said.

“In diagnosing a patient’s illness, a physician might not only rely upon her clinical methods but also apply the methods of a literary critic by listening to the kind of language that the patient uses in reporting his symptoms and looking for an intelligible plot in the patient’s narrative,” he said. “An epidemiologist might consider political and economic issues in trying to understand and control the outbreak of a global pandemic. Community public health officials may consult chemists, biologists, civil engineers, and city planners in ensuring clean drinking water or in developing contingency plans for medical emergencies.”

The first roundtable discussion, from 10:30-11:45 a.m., will include Jack Hill, director for collaborations in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs; Amanda Scarbrough, assistant professor of health services and promotion; Furjen Deng, professor of sociology; Lee Miller, director for the Center for Community Engagement; Yue Xie, director of the master’s degree in health care quality and safety program; and Ruth Massingill, associate professor of mass communication. It will be moderated by Don Albert, professor of geography and geology.

Each roundtable participant will speak for five to seven minutes on his or her research topic or health care initiative, followed by a question and discussion period.

Following a free lunch for all attendees, Elena Marks, president and chief executive officer of the Episcopal Health Foundation, as well as non-resident health policy scholar at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, will discuss community-centered health homes as the event’s plenary speaker.

“Elena Marks' address fits neatly into the larger discussion of local and regional health care initiatives,” Child said.

The day will wrap up with a second roundtable discussion, from 2:45-4 p.m., which will include Cindy Chen, assistant professor of communication studies; Anne Stiles, professor and director of the SHSU School of Nursing; Jason Payton, assistant professor of English; Montse Feu, assistant professor of foreign languages; Debra Andrist, professor of foreign languages; and Ervin Malakaj, assistant professor of foreign languages. It will be moderated by Carroll Nardone, associate professor of English. 

For more information, contact Child at or 936.294.1412.


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