History

During the 1990s the Nuffield Trust funded a Council for Medical Humanities, bringing together a diverse range of individuals interested in the emerging field. This translated over the course of 2001-2 to a full-blown academic society, the Association for Medical Humanities. The AMH, the oldest such association, marked its first year with a major conference held at Durham in 2003. Since then, apart from 2007, the Association has held successive academic conferences at Swansea 2004; Truro 2005; London King’s College 2006; Glasgow 2008; Durham 2009; Truro 2010; Leicester 2011; Cork 2012; Aberdeen 2013; Southampton 2014; Dartington 2015; London, University of Greenwich (2016), Keele (2017) and Sofia (2018).

From its early days a mutually-nurturing relationship between the Association and the equally youthful journal Medical Humanities led to a formal affiliation between the two, during the course of which both have shown an increasing range and sophistication as evidenced both in Association conference themes and in Journal contents. Full membership of the Association continues to bring with it subscription rights to the journal.

The Association has always enjoyed an international membership and has welcomed delegates from all five continents to its meetings. It is independent of direct affiliation to any academic institution but annual conferences are held in collaboration with a local University. The next annual conference will take place in Plymouth at the end of June.

Recently, the AMH has linked with Birkbeck School of Arts to host some one-day seminars in London. The Association is also providing financial support to fledgling medical humanities societies in UK medical schools.

Some Past Presidents and Founding Members

Prof Alan Bleakley

Conference Convenor, Dartington 2015

Alan is Emeritus Professor of Medical Education and Medical Humanities Plymouth University Peninsula School of Medicine, and Visiting Scholar The Wilson Centre University of Toronto. He first studied Zoology and Physiology and Biochemistry, then Psychology and Education – also training as a psychotherapist and gaining his DPhil from Sussex University. He has worked clinically as a psychotherapist and has become a leading figure in medical education and medical humanities internationally.