Lund University receives donation for Medical Humanities

Birgit Rausing
Birgit Rausing

A donation of SEK 76 million from Birgit Rausing will enable Lund University’s Faculty of Medicine to establish the humanities as an integrated part of medical training and research. This is a long-term investment, focusing on interpersonal relations between care providers and care recipients within all the faculty’s disciplines. Both research and education will be included in the new interdisciplinary Birgit Rausing Centre for Medical Humanities.

“It is a fantastic and significant donation which gives us the opportunity not only to take medical humanities to greater heights, but also to new depths and broader perspectives. We will now be able to develop medical humanities within all the study programmes at the faculty and at all levels, from the first cycle to research studies. There is nothing comparable anywhere else in Sweden. We are very proud and happy to be at the forefront of research and education focusing on medical science in symbiosis with the study of interpersonal relationships”, said Erik Renström, dean of the Faculty of Medicine.

Medical humanities is an internationally accepted term for the collaboration between medicine and the humanities. The overarching aim of the field is to develop elements of research and education in which science-based medical disciplines and clinical practice are examined from a humanities perspective, based on the various disciplines within the humanities, i.e. mainly in the faculties of humanities and theology and social sciences. Medical humanities has also long been a well-established field within medical research and education at several of the world’s foremost universities.

Inspired by the work initiated and developed by professor of literature Anders Palm, I have long had a desire to highlight the significance of the humanities within healthcare. Now, more than previously, many people have realised the importance of understanding the connection between the humanities and medical science and practice, and thereby of showing how it benefits society. My wish, in establishing a foundation aiming to support this knowledge centre, is to show the role the humanities can play in enabling us to see the whole person in their encounter with healthcare”, said Birgit Rausing in a comment.

Since 2008, the Faculty of Medicine in Lund has integrated Medical Humanities in the medical training programme and, thanks to a donation of SEK 9 million in 2016, also from Birgit Rausing, a senior lecturer and a doctoral student were appointed in 2017 as a resource shared between the faculties of humanities and medicine. This boundary-crossing collaboration between the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculties of Humanities and Theology and the Faculty of Social Sciences creates exceptional conditions for the Birgit Rausing Centre for Medical Humanities to become a leading national and international player.

“Our goal is to become an attractive partner for international collaborations and exchanges within the Medical Humanities in both research and education. We want to participate in societal debate and highlight the medical humanities both in healthcare and for the general public. It will be extra clear that it is important, in these times when there is so much focus on illness, to meet the needs of the whole person, in both body and soul. The donation gives us the opportunity to make this commitment and we are very grateful for that”, concludes Erik Renström.

Erik Renström, dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Lund University
+ 46 46-222 80 84

erik [dot] renstrom [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se