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Medical humanities in Taiwan

Medical humanities in Taiwan
Here, I’m going to introduce you, six major foundations of a medical professionalism in Taiwan. The first one will be the early medical missionary began in mid 19th century. And afterwards, there were Peking Union Medical Colllege (PUMC) and the related heritages from modern China. Also, there were cultural movements and the modernization under Japan.
And after the World War II, medical missionary became very important, right after Chiang Kai-shek came to Taiwan. And also, there are influences from American medicine as well. And the most recently, medical leaders in democratic movement play important roles. So… We can see there are multiple origins of Taiwan professionalism. Afterwards, modernization with cultural movement is very important. Right after the World War II, when Chiang Kai-shek region came, there was an authoritarian state. And afterwards, democratic movement changed landscape. Medical humanities arised in the process in a pave way for the development of bioethics in Taiwan. So…
The larger political sphere we can see, especially in the World War II, began with the public health sphere, then literature sphere is prevailing afterward there is subaltern political sphere. Afterwards, political public sphere became prevailing after democratization. So… In the process, the public identity conflicts between state apparatus vs. civil society as driving force for social change in Taiwan. So… Evolving from Peking Union Medical College, ethics education during the Japanese colonial period, the securitized the spiritual tradition of protestant medicine, the Americans social contract and professional practice, and the legacies together shape a solid ground of civic participation in public health. Taiwan’s medical professional has always been a stronghold.
This stronghold eradicated malaria, established family planning, reformed medical laws regarding doctor’s rounds and established a medical alliance by mobilizing civil society and concentrating professional strength in the midst of the authoritarian system of marshal law. Influence of the Japanese colonial period and Taiwanese doctors of American decent not only became a driving force in the democratization of Taiwan, but also brought about foundational reform of Taiwan’s medical education system. Key events include Taiwan medical education seminars hosted by the United States in the early 1980s.
And Duke University Professor Huang Kun-yan, who once participate in Taiwanese-American demonstration and wrote “Taiwan’s future should be determined by its people,” being invited back to Taiwan to establish National Cheng Kung University Medical College in the period of political turmoil and social upheaval. National Cheng Kung University Medical College can be considered a model medical school with a complete medical humanities education program planned in the period after the Chiang Kai-shek government came to Taiwan. It was the first time the Chiang Ching-kuo government accommodated different nation ideology in construction of Taiwan. After the abrogation of marshal law, Kaohsiung Medical University took the lead in founding a department of medical sociology in 1989.
Also in this period, the Taiwan Medical Professional Alliance was formed and promoted by medical humanities education; the National Taiwan University College of Medicine established a social medicine department which centered on the medical humanities and information technology, to replace its department of public hygiene in 1994; National Yang Ming University launched medical education reform and assumed leadership of the Ministry of Education’s medical-humanities demonstration programs. Huang Kun-yan became the chairman of the Ministry of Education’s Committee on Medical Science Education and established a medical education oversight committee, which not only passed American authentication, but also vigorously promoted the idea of “liberal education before medical education.” making medical humanities a central aspect of Taiwan’s medical education reform.
From this it can be seen that medical humanities has special significance for Taiwan. Which includes the professional medical practice’s contributions to Taiwan’s democracy movement and the practical mission of reconstructing of civil society, as well as the incorporation of social medicine departments and the mission of the development of professionalism in education. The dictum that “one must be a good citizen before becoming a professional” is an important foundation for modern society’s social-contract-based professional medicine, and fortunately this basic value and consensus has been formed in Taiwan’s recent wave of medical humanities educational reform.
When we interpret professionalism in the narrow sense of personal professional achievement, however, we apparently stifle the achievements of collective power that are formed through the convergence of professional communities, and this unfortunate narrowing is demonstrated by the cultivation of values such as individualism and celebrity. In the process, the Taiwanese medical education field has gradually formed an important
consensus: medical humanities cannot be limited to premedical classes, but rather should become a core value in medical education. Many legacies entrenched in intellectual movements on medical humanities come from the important questions civil society casts on the nation, which not only form the unique public identity of doctors in Taiwan, but also facilitate democratic changes. So… The State is seeking new possibilities and supplementary programs within its existing system, while Taiwan is seeking an important vehicle for establishing its foundational medical education system.

From historical points of view, the transformation of medical education is related to changes of societies and politics. The historical impacts on medical education is one of the major research topics in medical humanities.

During the past hundred years, Taiwan had been ruled by many different countries. In this video, I will introduce how medical humanities evolved during the different eras.

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Medical Humanity: Engaging Patients and Communities in Healthcare

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