New Editor for Medical Humanities

The Daily Dose is delighted to announce that our founder, Brandy Schillace PhD, is the new editor of Medical Humanities!

Dr Schillace is Senior Research Associate and Public Engagement Fellow for the Dittrick Museum of Medical History, College of Arts and Sciences, at Case Western Reserve University, US. For ten years, she managed the medical anthropology journal, Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry, and edited its first medical humanities special issue. Her recent books include the co-edited collection UNNATURAL REPRODUCTIONS, on “monstrous” birth across time and genre (Cambria), DEATH’S SUMMER COAT, exploring cultural approaches to death and dying (E&T UK, Pegasus US), and CLOCKWORK FUTURES, a social history of technology and the “steampunk” aesthetics of invention (Pegasus, US). An accomplished medical humanities scholar, speaker and author, she continues to serve as chief editor of the medical humanities and review blog MedHum | DailyDose along with this new role and her work in museums. Dr Schillace will take over as editor from Deborah Bowman from 1 July 2017.

We as a staff are excited to share this release with BMJ Blogs Medical Humanities–which offers, with the print journal, an inclusive space for discussing the arts and humanities as they relate to health and illness. Anna McFarlane, an affiliate of the Medical Humanities Research Centre at the University of Glasgow, recently accepted the role of BMJ Medical Humanities blog curator. Medical Humanities is an official journal of the Institute of Medical Ethics that reflects the whole field of medical humanities. It features articles on various aspects of the delivery of healthcare and the formulation of public health policy.  

Dr Brandy Schillace says: “I am passionate about the intersections of medicine and humanities, and have always been impressed by the BMJ family of journals’ combination of clinical relevance and intellectual curiosity. I am excited to lead the journal and build on the accomplishments of the outgoing editor Deborah Bowman in this important and evolving area.”   

Dr Wing May Kong, Chair of Trustees, IME, says :”The Institute of Medical Ethics is delighted to welcome Dr Brandy Schillace as the new Editor-in-Chief for Medical Humanities. We see medical humanities as an exciting and hugely important academic discipline and look forward to watching MH continue to grow and flourish under Brandy’s leadership whilst building on the excellent work done by her predecessor, Professor Deborah Bowman.”

Allison Lang, Publishing Director at BMJ, says: “We are delighted to appoint Dr Brandy Schillace, a well respected medical humanities scholar, who shares our vision for advancing the academic and international reputation of the journal, and increasing its relevance to healthcare professionals and others.  Brandy also brings a wealth of media experience and we look forward to working with her to bring rich and stimulating content to the journal.”

For further information, please contact BMJ’s media relations team: / +44 (0)20 7383 6529 / +44 (0)20 7383 6920

About the journal

Medical Humanities is a leading international journal that reflects the whole field of medical humanities. It features articles on the delivery of healthcare and the formulation of public health policy relevant to healthcare professionals, humanities and arts scholars, social scientists and policy-makers, medical educators, and patients. It is one of the 60 specialist journals published by BMJ. For more information, visit:

About BMJ

BMJ is a healthcare knowledge provider that aims to advance healthcare worldwide by sharing knowledge and expertise to improve experiences, outcomes and value. For a full list of BMJ products and services, please visit

About The Institute of Medical Ethics

The Institute of Medical Ethics (IME) is a charitable organisation dedicated to improving education and debate in medical ethics. Our mission is “promoting and supporting the impartial study and understanding of medical ethics and its integration into clinical practice through education, research, and publication”. We are currently involved in organising conferences, providing grants to students interested in medical ethics and in a project to support and develop medical ethics and law teaching in UK medical schools.

Book Review: Hot Milk

twitterlogoBRReview by Sarah E. Parker.

I have more of an ear for the language of symptoms and side effects, because that is my mother’s language. Perhaps it is my mother tongue. (135)

Neither a god nor my father is the major plot in my own life. I am anti the major plots. (143).

Deborah Levy’s Hot Milk (Bloomsbury, 2016), shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize, is a deliciously sensual novel that reads more like a sustained poem than a typical narrative. The protagonist is Sofia Papastergiadis, a 25-year-old woman who has abandoned her PhD in anthropology to take care of her ailing mother, Rose.

[Editor’s note: the following paragraph contains spoilers for plot elements. Some readers may wish to skip to the third paragraph and read to the end.] Continue reading “Book Review: Hot Milk”

Book Review: Self-Medication and Society

twitterlogoBRReview by David Kilgannon.

That familiar ache in your lower back makes you reach for the ibuprofen, while the watery eyes of allergies compels you to keep antihistamines nearby. In these small and normal (even boring) everyday actions an individual is actually engaging in the complex practice of self-medication. It has become part of our daily lives, as the influence of the pharmacy has played an increasing role in public health across the twentieth, and into the twenty-first, century. Yet, as Sylvie Fainzang demonstrates in her new book, Self-Medication and Society: Mirages of Autonomy (Routledge, 2016), an analysis of the underlying dynamics that shape the self-medication process is long overdue.

30557248Fainzang is a French medical anthropologist, who has demonstrated a long-standing interest in the involvement of non-medical actors within the medical sphere, having previously published books on the medical practices of the Bissa people of Burkina Faso (L’intérieur des choses: maladie, divination et reproduction sociale chez les Bisa du Burkina, 1986), the role of medicines in wider society (Médicaments et société. Le patient, le médecin et l’ordonnance, 2001) as well as popular efforts against alcoholism (Curar-se do álcool: antropologia de uma luta contra o alcoolismo, 2007). These studies have demonstrated the influence of groups of patients operating on the fringe of medical orthodoxy. In Self-Medication and Society, Fainzang examines a more nebulous grouping of such patients: those who have eschewed ‘traditional’ approaches towards disease in favor of a personalized treatment carried out without medical supervision. Continue reading “Book Review: Self-Medication and Society”

#SmallActs Toward Climate Justice

During this week leading up to the March for Science in Washington D.C.  we at MedHum | Daily Dose want to reaffirm the importance of rigorous, ongoing scientific research that informs and is informed by social justice action locally, nationally, and globally. In the past year, environmental catastrophes within the United States, such as the Flint water crisis and Dakota Access Pipeline, have highlighted the need for a movement toward environmental sustainability that centers the experiences and leadership of historically and currently marginalized populations who are often most vulnerable to the effects of pollution and climate change.

Below are a few links for those interested in further reading and opportunities for action. We encourage you to take five minutes, fifteen minutes, an hour, half a day — whatever you can spare — to learn something new about the ongoing struggle, and contribute where you can.

Learn about the work of the Indigenous Environmental Network and consider making a donation to support their ongoing efforts. In November 2016, WNYC’s On the Media spoke with IEN organizer Kandi Mossett about the Dakota Access Pipeline protest, and the episode is very much worth listening to.

We encourage you to read and sign the Indigenous Science March for Science Letter of Support, whether as a member of an indigenous community or as an ally.

The NAACP has an Environmental & Climate Justice program that you can learn about and contribute to here.

Learn about the role investigative journalism played in bringing national attention to the Flint, Michigan water crisis. Then read the Michigan Civil Rights Commission report on the water crisis as a manifestation of systemic racism.

If you are interested in joining a public protest over the next two weeks, but are not in the Washington, D.C. area, check out the March for Science (April 22) and People’s Climate March (April 29) websites for local opportunities to make your support for climate justice visible in the streets.

And finally, consider setting up an automatic monthly donation, if it is in your budget, to a climate justice organization — in addition to IEN and NAACP there is and the Union of Concerned Scientists both of which are working toward an equitable, sustainable future.

If you have other suggestions for where MedHum readers might learn more or contribute their time, money, or expertise, please share links below.