The field of medical humanities has traditionally focused on medical students and, more recently, on premedical undergraduates. Comparatively little formal humanities pedagogy has been dedicated to midcareer health professionals. To address this lack, the Department of Humanities at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center designed eight annual humanities mini-courses for faculty and staff throughout the college and medical center.These mini-courses fell into four categories: reading, reflection, and discussion; creative expression; technology; and ethics. They were geared toward midcareer health professionals who were seeking new intellectual and creative stimulation and variety in daily routine. They also provided humanities faculty the opportunity to devote attention to topics that capitalize on their professional training and that interest them personally.Participants indicated a high degree of satisfaction with the mini-courses for four principal reasons: (1) learning the tools and methodologies of a new discipline or domain other than biomedicine, (2) using their minds and training in uncustomary ways, (3) forming new alliances with colleagues (which served to lessen the sense of professional isolation), and (4) enjoying a respite from the stressful flow of the workday. Humanities faculty facilitators provided more mixed responses but agreed that conducting the mini-courses had been a positive overall experience.Although this article provides a foundational framework for the development of a humanities mini-course series, the authors encourage others to replicate these curricula in other medical settings as an important step toward a robust pedagogy designed for midcareer health care professionals.
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