Medical Humanities podcast

BMJ Group

Medical Humanities is a leading international journal that reflects the whole field of medical humanities. Medical Humanities aims to encourage a high academic standard for this evolving and developing subject and to enhance professional and public discussion. It features original articles relevant to the delivery of healthcare, the formulation of public health policy, the experience of being ill and of caring for those who are ill, as well as case conferences, educational case studies, book, film, and art reviews, editorials, correspondence, news and notes. To ensure international relevance Medical Humanities has Editorial Board members from all around the world. * The purpose of this podcast is to educate and to inform. The content of this podcast does not constitute medical advice and it is not intended to function as a substitute for a healthcare practitioner’s judgement, patient care or treatment. The views expressed by contributors are those of the speakers. BMJ does not endorse any views or recommendations discussed or expressed on this podcast. Listeners should also be aware that professionals in the field may have different opinions. By listening to this podcast, listeners agree not to use its content as the basis for their own medical treatment or for the medical treatment of others.

All Episodes

Join us on this episode of the Medical Humanities Podcast as Brandy Schillace speaks with Eric Garcia, author of WE’RE NOT BROKEN: Changing the Autism Conversation (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, August 3, 2021). Eric Garcia is a journalist based in Washington, D.C. Read the related blog post (with the transcription of the whole podcast) here:

Nov 3

29 min 55 sec

In this podcast, Kristina Lindström and Kristian Petri (Swedish film makers) reflect on their documentary film 'The most beautiful boy in the world' (2021) and their professional relationship with the film's protagonist, Björn Andrésen. Björn came to international fame at the age of 15 when Italian director Luchino Visconti cast him as Tadzio, the young boy in his film 'Death in Venice' (1971). Kristina and Kristian comment on the long-term impact of childhood trauma on the mental well-being of Swedish artists such as Björn Andrésen and Astrid Lindgren. They comment on the need for clear rules of engagement and professional boundaries between artists and executive managers to avoid physical and psychological exploitation of those artists. Related blog post with transcript: Other related links:

Oct 19

28 min 3 sec

This podcast features Clare Barker, Associate Professor in English Literature, University of Leeds, and guest editor of our Medical Humanities June Special Issue for 2021: Global Genetic Fictions. Read more on the Medical Humanities website: Read the transcript of this podcast in the Medical Humanities blog (

Sep 1

21 min 8 sec

An outlook at how disabled lives have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and, in particular, by the current vaccine roll-out. Alice Wong, a disabled activist, and Alyssa Burgart, an anesthesiologist and ethicist at Stanford University, tell Medical Humanities' Editor-in-Chief, Brandy Schillace, how disabled lives have been overlooked in this crisis, as the very systems and designs of medicine cater to the able-bodied. Read the transcript on the Medical Humanities blog ( You can subscribe to the Medical Humanities podcast on any of the main platforms to get the latest episodes. If you enjoy the show, please consider leaving us a review or a comment on the Medical Humanities Podcast iTunes page ( Thank you.

Aug 11

26 min 48 sec

Medical Humanities' Editor-in-Chief, Brandy Schillace, talks to Dr. Eleanor Janega, a medieval historian, about comparisons between COVID-19 and the Black Death. Read the blog post, which includes the transcript of the podcast, here:

Jul 15

27 min 37 sec

Editor-in-Chief of Medical Humanities, Brandy Schillace, speaks to Brian Sims, an openly gay LGBTQ activist, Pennsylvania State Representative, and civil rights attorney about the power of representation, and what minority groups offer to better governance. Read the related blog with this podcast's transcript:

Jun 8

22 min 42 sec

Sarah Gavron talks to our film and media correspondent, Khalid Ali, about her passion for telling stories about marginalised women from diverse backgrounds in her films. Read the blog post, which includes the transcript of the podcast, here:

May 26

19 min 36 sec

David Perry is a freelance journalist covering politics, history, education, and disability rights with bylines at CNN, NYT, Atlantic, Guardian and many more. He and his food-scientist wife live in the Twin Cities with their children, one of whom has Down syndrome, and Perry also plays in an Irish rock band. Today on the podcast, David talks about access and education under COVID-19. What does it mean to really provide free and fair education to all? Read the related blog post, which includes the transcript of this podcast:

May 11

19 min 6 sec

Editor-in-Chief of Medical Humanities, Brandy Schillace, speaks to Arabella Proffer, an artist whose work combines the history of medicine with biomorphic abstraction about life, art, and cancer. Read the related blog post, which includes the transcript of this podcast:

Apr 21

21 min 34 sec

In this podcast, Editor-in-Chief of Medical Humanities, Brandy Schillace, speaks to Natalie Kerres, designer of SCALED and a recent graduate of Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art. SCALED is wearable technology designed for sports, medicine, and disability. Read the transcript of this podcast in the Medical Humanities blog:

Apr 6

19 min 4 sec

Rita Colwell is one of the top scientists in America: the groundbreaking microbiologist who discovered how cholera survives between epidemics and the former head of the National Science Foundation. She joins us for International Women’s Day, discussing the trials and successes of being a woman in science and her new book A Lab of One’s Own. Read the related blog post with the transcript of this podcast: Subscribe to the Medical Humanities in all podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify.

Mar 3

30 min 21 sec

In this podcast, Brandy Schillace, Medical Humanities Editor-in-Chief, interviews Dr. Oni Blackstock, physician and Director of Health Justice Dr. Blackstock speaks about the influence of her mother, the fight against health inequality, and her own struggles as a Black woman physician for social justice. Read the related blog post:

Feb 24

18 min 45 sec

Dr. Josh Mugele, a disaster and emergency medicine physician, speaks about health disparity during crises like the current COVID pandemic. Read the blog post containing the transcript of this podcast:

Jan 22

21 min 54 sec

Jaipreet Virdi’s latest book, Hearing Happiness raises pivotal questions about deafness in American society and the endless quest for a cure. Read the blog post:

Jan 5

22 min 58 sec

Therese Feiler, a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, describes the interdisciplinary Medical Humanities special issue, bringing together cardiac surgeons, cultural historians and theologians on matters of the heart ( Please read: - the editorial: - the full issue: Please subscribe to the Medical Humanities podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify to get episodes automatically downloaded to your mobile device and computer. Also, please consider leaving us a review or a comment on the Medical Humanities Podcast iTunes page -

Dec 2020

18 min 56 sec

What would it mean if, instead of being “add-ons,” accessibility tools like captions and transcripts were built into a project from the ground up? What if instead of thinking about accessibility as “mere” additions only, we realized their incredible creative power? Read the related blog post:

Nov 2020

27 min 3 sec

In today’s podcast, Dr. Henry Ng, MD MPH, Cleveland Clinic, speaks with Editor-in-Chief of Medical Humanities, Brandy Schillace, about issues of LGBTQ+ and health accessibility. Already a difficult prospect, access to care for this population has become increasingly precarious during the COVID epidemic. Read the blog post: Please subscribe to the Medical Humanities podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify to get episodes automatically downloaded to your mobile device and computer. Also, please consider leaving us a review or a comment on the Medical Humanities Podcast iTunes page -

Oct 2020

27 min 43 sec

Sarah Hendren’s book, What Can A Body Do? How We Meet the Built World, looks at design and disability at all scales: prosthetics, furniture, architecture, urban planning, and more, to examine critically the definition of the good life. Read the related blog post:

Sep 2020

21 min 1 sec

How do we make something really and truly accessible? Chris Higgins talks about what led to his 2019 short film Access, and the fact that accessibility isn’t about making a different product for those with disabilities; it’s about making the product with all people in mind. To find out more about the film:

Aug 2020

17 min 55 sec

Dr. Oni Blackstock joins us to speak about social justice, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ rights and the way the COVID-19 crisis has unequally affected marginalized communities. Dr. Blackstock is Assistant Commissioner for the NYC Health Department's Bureau of HIV. Link to the blog post:

Jul 2020

23 min 46 sec

In this podcast, we discuss the June Special issue, "Beyond the Battlefield" and the impact of medical crisis and treatment on non-combatant bodies - still so relevant in today’s COVID-19 crises. Medical Humanities Editor, Brandy Schillace, speaks to Dr Hannah Simpson, a postdoctoral scholar at St Anne's College, University of Oxford, specialising in modern and contemporary theatre and performance, and Dr Megan Girdwood, who is an Early Career Fellow in English at the University of Edinburgh, working on modernist literature and dance. Please visit the Medical Humanities blog to read the June 2020 issue:

May 2020

18 min 1 sec

Medical Humanities Editor Brandy Schillace speaks to Alice Wong, a disabled activist, media maker, and consultant based in San Francisco. She is the Founder and Director of the Disability Visibility Project® and speaks about increasing disability access in the face of coronavirus pandemic. Read the blog post and the transcript of this podcast: The Disability Visibility Project link:

Apr 2020

17 min 43 sec

How do diseases like coronavirus get their start? How does pollution affect the microbiome? Dr. Annamaria Carusi, who was as an academic in medical humanities for several years and is now a private consultant doing social studies of science for policy formation, addresses the way humans and environments interact. In this conversation with Medical Humanities Editor-in-Chief Brandy Schillace, she also discusses our need to take a wider view of disease vectors.

Mar 2020

19 min 55 sec

In this podcast Mr Matt Jackson, director of the UK, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) talks about current health inequalities that still face girls and women on a global scale. He revists the vision and programme of action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) set out in 1994 in Cairo, Egypt and ongoing efforts by his organisation to complete the ICPD unfinished business. He explains how the UNFPA uses arts and humanities to reach out to international audience in its attempt to raise awareness of women's rights and implement change. This interview was recorded in June 2019.

Mar 2020

21 min 19 sec

Audrey Shafer, MD, directs Medicine & the Muse at Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics. She joins Brandy to talk about the use of Frankenstein to trouble the boundaries between science, medicine, and what it means to be human.

Feb 2020

16 min 4 sec

In this podcast Dr Khalid Ali talks to acclaimed Canadian director Atom Egoyan at the 41st edition of the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) where Egoyan's latest film 'Guest of honour' screened. Egoyan reflects on prominent themes in his films such as isolation, estrangement and alienation of human beings, and how communication or lack of communication can result in long-term trauma and suffering. Story-telling and narrative are key elements in Egoyna's films through which his characters can absolve their guilt and achieve redemption particularly at end of life situations.

Jan 2020

14 min 28 sec

In this podcast, award-winning Australian film maker, Damon Gameau talks about his new film '2040' which explores what the future could look like by the year 2040 if we embraced solutions that are currently available to improve the planet focusing on climate, economics, technology, civil society, agriculture, and sustainability. Damon also talks about his first documentary 'That Sugar Film' where he followed a strict low-fat, high sugar diet and the negative effects that diet had on his health. Damon uses his films as tools for education and raising awareness around universal health challenges. 2040 was released in the UK on 8 November.

Dec 2019

20 min 55 sec

Nahid Toubia is a Sudanese surgeon and women's health rights activist, specialising in research into female genital mutilation (FGM). In this podcast, she talks about her career as a woman surgeon in Khartoum, Sudan in the 1970's. Ms Toubia describes how she got involved in championing the fight against harmful practices such as FGM, domestic and gender-based violence at the UN and several other international platforms. She also elaborates on her role as a pioneer in utilising art, film and theatre as tools for education, health campaigns and women empowerment.

Nov 2019

26 min 7 sec

Ciara Breathnach (@CiaraBreath) is a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Limerick, Ireland. She is a current Irish research Council Laureate holder and her research focuses on Irish social history of medicine and health. In this conversation with Brandy Schillace, she also talks about the upcoming Association of Medical Humanities meeting MAKING SPACE, which will take place in Limerick in June 2020. The conference website is Email address: The email is

Oct 2019

21 min 4 sec

In this podcast, Clinical Psychiatrist and poet Owen Lewis (Columbia) and Sue Spencer, Associate Editor at Medical Humanities, discuss both the power and “disruption” of poetry in and out of healthcare curriculum.

Sep 2019

22 min 47 sec

In this podcast, film maker Hana Makki revisits her memories of making the documentary film ‘As one: The Autism Project’ working with ten children with Autism and their families. The film project was supported by Sheikha Shamsa bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the daughter of the crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, in an effort to raise awareness about ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder’ in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Over the course of ten weeks, these children made a musical show working alongside a specialist team of musicians, and performance artists, with the guidance of an Applied Behaviour Analysis therapist. The children come from various nationalities including the United Arab Emirates, Philippines, U.S.A, Palestine, UK, Ghana, India, and Ethiopia. Hana captured the journey of these children while rehearsing, till the night of the musical show, and also shares with the audience what happened to them afterward. Read the accompanying blog post:

Aug 2019

16 min 31 sec

In this podcast, Tom and his son Frankie discuss how their experience of making short films together supported their relationship as a father and son. Tom talks about the films ‘Bokx’, ‘Beyond’, and ‘Aston Gorilla’, and reflects on how watching the films after many years can say a lot about his two boys, George and Frankie; how different they have become and yet how similar they have remained! ‘Aston Gorilla’ was a direct response to a phase in George’s life when he was suffering from nightmares and Tom’s insecurity about his role as a father. ‘Bokx’ and ‘Beyond’ were responses to Frankie’s world of imagination; at times he seemed to completely disappear into his fantasies, perhaps as a reaction to the fact that he was born blind with glaucoma. Whilst his sight was restored, he was not able to participate in the world as other children do. These films were a way of trying to feel what life was like within Frankie’s imagination, and the cruelty of having vivid fantasy replaced with mundane normality. Frankie participated in making the films when he was ‘seven’, and was oblivious to their sub-plot, darker themes. Tom talks about his fascination by the way in which films can create a community of collaboration and an intensity of endeavour. He wanted his sons to share his fascination, to witness the hard work undertaken by a film team and to gain different invigorating perspectives. Frankie now makes short films independently whilst George runs a film club at school. Tom believes that they both look back at the experience with pride and pleasure.

Aug 2019

13 min 58 sec

In this podcast, Dr El Beih, Egypt’s country director of Drosos Foundation talks about her journey from a hospital doctor to becoming a pioneer in the use of art and creativity in healing. She was behind the making of the Egyptian film ‘Asmaa’ which highlighted the stigma and discrimination faced by women living with HIV in Egypt ( The film was inspired by the real life story of a woman living with HIV that Dr El Beih met as a patient while working as the UNAIDS Country Director in Egypt. Dr El Beih continued to support the human rights of socially-disadvantaged children and people with physical disability in national raising-awareness campaigns using short films with eminent Egyptian film makers. She explains her vision in engaging with several charitable organisations such as ‘Banati (My daughters) Foundation’ to support homeless girls ( With an extensive experience of more than 25 years in managing development projects in Health, Gender and Education in the Middle East, in North and East Africa and the United States, Dr El Beih led several joint health and social projects supporting the sectors of entrepreneurship, economic empowerment and creativity for youth and women.

Jul 2019

18 min 17 sec

In this podcast Valeria Golino talks about end of life issues; assisted suicide, the common practice of some Italian people withholding the true diagnosis of terminal illness from their affected relatives, and doctor-patient relationships in these emotionally challenging circumstances. Such themes were explored in her award-winning films as a director ‘Miele’ (2013), and ‘Euphoria’ (2018). Ms Golino neither demonizes nor endorses controversial practices around death; she invites the viewer to reflect on such ethical and moral dilemmas. In ‘Miele’ she provokes the audience to think about the motivations driving some people to request assisted-suicide, namely depression. In ‘Euphoria’ she tells the story of two brothers coming to appreciate each other’s life style and decisions at a time when one of them is dying of terminal illness. An important factor that inspires Ms Golino to make films is her desire to tell real human stories that the audience can empathise with. A relationship of understanding, trust and love must exist between her and the actors and actresses in her films to tell a believable story. Previous film festival podcasts:

Jul 2019

12 min 17 sec

On today’s podcast, Professor Roberta Bivins, Centre for the History of Medicine University of Warwick, speaks to unfounded fears of immigrants underpinning rhetoric surrounding the inception of the NHS.

Jun 2019

21 min 48 sec

Freelance author and historian Julian Simpson, author of Migrant Architects of the NHS, joins Editor-in-Chief of Medical Humanities Brandy Schillace (@bschillace) to discuss the role and responsibility of historians. How do we create a space for history that addresses itself to contemporary concerns including #immigration? This is about who gets to write #history, who gets to make decisions about funding, who recruits, who decides who can speak to #policy concerns.

Jun 2019

21 min 44 sec

Join us for a preview of the new June special issue on Biopolitics, Psychosomatics and “participating bodies" and read it on the MH website: June's issue is specially dedicated to the many ways of looking at psychosomatics. In this conversation with Brandy Schillace, guest editor Dr. Monica Greco explains why a different outlook on our bodies is much needed. Listen to the full conversation and keep an ear out for the buzz word that brings together nature and politics.

May 2019

15 min 54 sec

Medical Humanities editor-in-chief, Brandy Schillace, speaks to Dr Sara Wasson about her work on chronic pain and gothic transplantation. For more information read:

Apr 2019

15 min 59 sec

Increasingly in the US, elements of religion have crept into medical and political discourse. The Bible has been invoked repeatedly, for instance, in discussion of women’s right to abortion, same sex marriage, adoption, coverage rights, and the list goes on. In today’s MH podcast, Brandy Schillace interviews John Fugelsang, host of Tell Me Everything on SiriusXM, as well as an American actor, tv personality, comedian, and twitter-burr beneath the saddle of the far right. Together they discuss this often taboo subject, navigating the way “religion” as a political identity has become a tool for denying healthcare, and how to make allies among and between believers of many faiths, agnostics, and atheists to provide better care for all.

Apr 2019

24 min 11 sec

Medical Humanities editor-in-chief Brandy Schillace interviews Medical Humanities board member Daniel LaForest on his understanding of medical humanities and storytelling.

Mar 2019

16 min 31 sec

Medical Humanities Film Correspondent Khalid Ali interviews Dr Nabil Elkot, a doctor who uses art in his psychotherapeutic practice. This interview comes from Medfest, the medical film festival.

Mar 2019

9 min 16 sec

Medical Humanities Editor-in-Chief Brandy Schillace interviews doctor and author Gavin Francis about housing and medical outcomes, his work as a travel writer, and the influence of his medical practice on his writing.

Mar 2019

16 min 29 sec

What is the future of "prescribing art"? Brandy Schillace interviews Victoria Hume, Director of the Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance, about the role of culture, arts, and health. Related Medical Humanities papers mentioned in this podcast: Inclusion, access and social justice: the rhizomic evolution of a field across a continent - Biomedicine and the humanities: growing pains - Reflections on a field across time and space: the emergent medical and health humanities in South Africa -

Feb 2019

16 min 27 sec

The 400-year-old Shakespearean speech is the start of a conversation about the immigrants' situation in the US and the UK today, as well as the health effects on children suffering separation from parents and other traumas relating to a refugee situation. Kathleen Bachynski and Brit Trogen, both from the New York University Langone, discuss 'The Immigrants' Case', a speech attributed to William Shakespeare, in order to reflect on its relevance to current debates and particularly on the role of healthcare. Join the conversation at MH, by visiting the blog and journal site,, or by following us on Twitter (@MedHums_BMJ) and Facebook (@Medical.Humanities).

Jan 2019

14 min 48 sec

Dr Omneya Okasha is a dentist who had a passion for film since early childhood. Bonding with characters on screen took her on a journey of self-discovery, personal growth, and wonder. After a career in Dentistry, she is now a full-time film maker. In this conversation with Medical Humanities film correspondent, Khalid Ali, she comments on 'story-telling, attention to detail, collaboration and empathy' as key elements in making a good doctor and artist. In her films, she challenges society attitudes towards gender discrimination and physical disfigurement.

Jan 2019

12 min 56 sec

Medical Humanities editor-in-chief Brandy Schillace interviews Dr Eugene Gu about the responsibilities of medical practitioners in light of ICE and the immigration crisis in the US. Stay in touch with the Medical Humanities journal through the website (, the blog (, Twitter (@MedHums_BMJ) and Facebook. This interview was recorded on the 7th June 2018.

Jan 2019

11 min 39 sec

What kinds of projects in medical humanities are happening in the Global South? Today we speak to two of the guest editors for a South African Special Issue (Carla Tsampiras and Nolwazi Mkhwanazi), publishing in December 2018, on the cultural context and issues of MH and social justice.

Nov 2018

16 min 6 sec

Mina Elnaggar, an Egyptian doctor and film-maker, outlines the first Arab forum for medicine in film, Egypt Medfest, in conversation with Medical Humanities Film Correspondent Khalid Ali. Read the Medical Humanities' blog for more on film and media in medicine:

Oct 2018

15 min 4 sec

In this podcast, Associate Editor Angela Woods interviews Brandy Schillace, Editor-in-Chief of the Medical Humanities journal, at the one-year anniversary of her editorship. Brandy talks about the changes in the journal and what we can expect in the next year; she also takes a moment to celebrate the current and upcoming issues, authors, and contributors. We hope you will join the conversation at MH, by visiting the blog and journal site,, or by following us on Twitter (@MedHums_BMJ) and Facebook (@Medical.Humanities).

Jul 2018

9 min 3 sec

Three film industry women talk mental health and violence. ‘Mamsous- Deranged’ is a short film about mental health and well-being through the story of three people, who share their experiences with clinical depression and panic attacks. It was directed by Shatha Masoud, an Emarati filmmaker who started her own advertising and video production business. Mamsous won the best ‘Muhr Emarati short film award’ in Dubai International Film Festival in 2016. Amal Alharbi who features in 'Mamsous' is a Saudi author whose first book about mental health based on her own experience will be released in 2018. ‘Animal- Haywan’ is a short Emarati film about a seven-year-old child who grows up in a home of contradictions – a father, who is a “sociopath and narcissist”, a weak, but ambitious mother and a flamboyant cook? It was directed by Nayla Al Khaja, the CEO of Nayla Al Khaja Films and the founder of The Scene Club, Dubai’s first licensed film club. ANIMAL won Best Short Fiction (Italian Movie Award 2017). She won the Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 at the Gulf Business Awards. More information on The Medical HUmanities blog:

Feb 2018

14 min 30 sec