Mission and History


The Medical Humanities Research Institute will transform how researchers, health professionals, and policymakers think about and practice health and care. Through our work, patient voices will play a central role in defining what counts as a good outcome and what is considered as high quality care. We aim to ensure that health equity will be a norm in health care and health technology design, and no patient will ever experience inferior care due to the color of their skin or any other aspect of their identity. Our work will contribute to making health care more creative, and helping health professionals feel a renewed sense of meaning in their work. In ten years, the next generation of medical leaders will expect all of these changes to be manifest in any medical school or hospital where they train.


Launched in 2023, the Medical Humanities Research Institute builds on the success of our undergraduate program in Medical Humanities, the work of faculty across campus, and our ongoing collaborations with Texas Medical Center institutions. Since its inception in 2016, Medical Humanities at Rice has been a regional hub for interdisciplinary research in humanistic approaches to medicine, illness, and health. It is built on strong networks across 16 Rice University departments, collaborations with approximately 60 faculty and staff in TMC institutions, and engagement with several community organizations. The program hosts a 50-member Health Humanities Research Group, the multidisciplinary Medical Futures Lab, a facilitated acceptance program to UT McGovern Medical School for Rice humanities majors, and a 4+1 Master’s Rice-UT Public Health Scholars Program.