SOM announces new Department of Medical Humanities and Social Sciences

Stuart Munro, M.D.
Stuart Munro, M.D.

The School of Medicine has created the Department of Medical Humanities and Social Sciences that will be chaired by Stuart Munro, M.D., clinical professor in psychiatry. The new department centralizes a variety of courses programs from the School into one cohesive unit.

It made the most sense at this time for the School to combine the various courses that deal with the social aspects of medicine into one academic department which shared a common theme, according to Paul Cuddy, Pharm.D., professor and senior associate dean of academic affairs. The department will also house the International Medicine Program and the Sirridge Office of Medical Humanities and Bioethics.

“I am excited to be part of this new department. It is another way the School continues to emphasize the importance of the social aspects of medicine,” Munro said. “It is on the cutting edge for a medical school to create a humanities and social sciences department.”

The International Medicine Program, led by Munro, supports students’ efforts to explore study abroad opportunities and requests to study at the School from students at our affiliate international universities

In addition, the department will provide oversight for several courses in the medical curriculum which address the social aspects of medicine: Fundamentals of Medical Practice I-IV, Hospital Team Experience, CUES (Communication, Understanding, Education and Self-awareness), Behavioral Sciences in Medicine, and Patient-Physician-Society I and II.

The Sirridge Office will continue to be led by Lynda Payne, Ph.D., Sirridge Missouri Endowed Professor in Medical Humanities and Bioethics. It was established in 1992 to expand opportunities to provide humanities courses for students in UMKC’s six-year BA/MD program.

After an external search, Munro was selected and began as chair March 1. He continues to serve as the academic chair of the psychiatry department until the current search for a new chair is complete.

“Dr. Munro was the right choice for this department,” Cuddy said. “Through his years of service, he has taken an active role teaching in many of the courses and programs which will become part of the new medical humanities and social sciences department. His experience in these areas will be a great help in overseeing the new department.”

Munro has served in a variety of roles at the School since 1986, including psychiatry chair, behavioral sciences course director, advisory board member for the Sirridge Office, assistant Dean for Years 1 & 2, International Medicine Program director, and interim dean. He also received the Elmer F. Pierson Good Teaching Award for the School of Medicine in 2012.

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