INTD 7007: Medicine through Literature

Medicine Through Literature began in 2007 when a group of fourth-year medical students requested an elective in which they could read and discuss stories and books “that had nothing to do with medicine.” That first year we discovered that no matter what we read, our discussions often returned to the practice of medicine because doctoring is about human struggle through illness and death, through love and relationships, and so much great writing has at its core these central themes. The selections for this course have changed every year, but the issues, the questions, remain constant.

What’s the purpose of this course?  First, to enjoy the readings! Second, for students to use the readings as a tool to prepare for and process their clinical experiences, and to approach their development as individuals and as physicians. Third, to interact with other second and fourth-year students and faculty in a venue that is open and informal.


There will be no right or wrong answers in this course; rather, our goal is to encourage thoughtful and serious responses to the readings and a lively and fulfilling conversation about them and the issues they raise.


We will be able to accommodate four second-year and  20 fourth-year students. Registration will be done on a first come, first served basis. Interested students should contact Iris Mast at or