Who gets sick, who gets better, and why?

The biological mechanisms of medical science and the quantitative sciences of public health only get us partway to the answers to these fundamental questions.  Key aspects of our understanding of health and illness are only answerable through analyses that draw from the methods of humanities and social sciences—including ethnography, history, philosophy, and sociology—to help understand the social context of illness and health outside of the ordered environment of the hospital, clinic, and laboratory. The Johns Hopkins Center for Medical Humanities and Social Medicine is an interdisciplinary teaching and research unit that bridges the humanities, social sciences, and health sciences across the campuses of Johns Hopkins University to foster innovative interdisciplinary scholarship with maximum impact, and to train undergraduates, graduate students, and health professionals with skills to apply critical social analysis to the study of health and disease.

The Center’s current programs investigate: Medicine, Science, and Humanities; Critical Global Health Studies; Reproduction, Health, and Society; Technology, Data, and Health; Race, Racism, and Health; Social Medicine in Medical Education; and Arts, Humanities, and Health.

Together, the fields of social medicine and medical humanities and arts help health care professionals develop acumen in addressing nuance, contradiction and uncertainty in health care settings and in broader society.  


Media, Data, & Health / Race, Racism, & Health / Reproduction, Health, & Society
All working days 9:00am – 5:00pm
February 12 to May 25
The Welch Medical Library is hosting two complementary exhibitions highlighting the illustrated history of public health messaging as a response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. These exhibitions will be on display in the second floor gallery of the Welch Medical Library building. The building is open form 9-5, M-F. National Library of Medicine Exhibition: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/exhibition/aids-posters/index.html  AIDS, Posters, and Stories of Public Health: A People’s History of a Pandemic This exhibition explores how AIDS posters serve as highly adaptable, durable, cost effective, efficient tools in sharing public health messaging. Created by communities bonded together by illness and a desire to make change, these posters provide a gateway to AIDS history, illustrating how, in the face of illness, neglect, and, early on, the unknown, people came together to connect, create, and save one another's lives. Today, AIDS posters continue to be valuable resources for the ongoing epidemic. They teach us about community organizing processes and the ways that groups dealing with HIV heal, share fears, and strategize toward wellness together. AIDS, Posters, and Stories of Public Health: A People's History of a Pandemic includes selected AIDS posters from Surviving and Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culture, the 2013 exhibition about the history of HIV/AIDS in the United States. The Exhibition Program By creating exhibitions about the social and cultural history of science and medicine, we encourage visitors of all ages to learn more about themselves and their communities. These exhibitions and supportive resources engage diverse audiences and connect visitors to National Library of Medicine trusted health information resources. Patricia Tuohy Head, Exhibition Program Julie Botnick Exhibition Technical Information Specialist Jiwon Kim Exhibition Educator Carissa Lindmark Traveling Exhibition Assistant Erika Mills Community Outreach Coordinator Jane Markowitz Traveling Exhibition Services Coordinator Tannaz Motevalli Exhibition Coordinator Curation Theodore (Ted) Kerr Guest Curator Writer, Organizer, and Founding Member of What Would an HIV Doula Do? Creative Services Link Studio Website Design & Development HealyKohler Design Exhibition Design Education Contributors Eric W. Boyle, PhD U.S. Department of Energy Washington, DC Special Acknowledgements History of Medicine Division Jeffrey Reznick, PhD Chief, History of Medicine Division Kenneth Koyle Deputy Chief Allison Cao Web Program, Pathways Student Lindsay Franz Systems Librarian Elizabeth Mullen Manager of Web Development and Social Media Ginny Roth Manager of Prints and Photographs   Office of Computer and Communications Systems Wei Ma Chief, Applications Branch Winston Churchill Applications Branch Joe Potvin Applications Branch Ying Sun Applications Branch   Public Services Division Jean (Bob) Edouard Collection Access Section  
  Johns Hopkins Medicine Exhibition:  Spreading the Word: HIV/AIDS Education and the People's Health The CDC reported the first cases of AIDS on June 5, 1981. In 1985, scientists confirmed that AIDS was caused by a virus, later named the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. Since the first reported cases of the disease, HIV/AIDS has killed some 40 million worldwide. In response to the pandemic, activists, artists, community-health organizations, public health experts, and healthcare professionals created a variety of visually engaging materials that sought to educate the public about the disease and its prevention. In other instances, HIV/AIDS became the subject of specific pieces of art and popular culture. On display are two complimentary exhibits highlighting examples of these visually engaging materials. The National Library of Medicine’s traveling exhibit, AIDS Posters and Stories of Public Health: A People’s History of a Pandemic, highlights the cultural output of community workers, activists, and artists who sought to educate the public about HIV/AIDSIn the exhibit Spreading the Word: HIV/AIDS Education and the People’s Health, 1983-2001, visitors will see how different types of print media and images were used in public-health initiatives, AIDS education, art, and popular culture in the United States from 1983 to 2001. These media and images range from public health posters and pamphlets to graphic novels and comic books. Both exhibits encourage us to think about how HIV/AIDS messaging has changed over time and to interrogate how some of the messaging was delivered. The exhibits remind us, too, about the impact HIV/AIDS has had on the lives of people in the U.S. and beyond. The exhibits also stand as another important reminder. Despite the historical material on display, HIV/AIDS is not a thing of the past. Exhibit designed by: Jason M. Chernesky, Terri Hatfield, and Michael Seminara
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