Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Undergraduate publication Brown Journal of Medical Humanities highlights personal narratives within medical field

After publishing first issue, BJMH hopes to receive new submissions, expand community

There is no shortage of undergraduate-run publications on campus, covering everything from public health to poetry. Now joining their ranks is the Brown Journal of Medical Humanities, a publication covering the intersection of medicine and the arts. 

The journal published its inaugural issue last spring. This year, its editors continue to work toward publishing their second issue and expanding BJMH’s reach across campus. 

Focusing on human narratives within the field of medicine and healthcare, the BJMH aims to be a literary platform for interdisciplinary student work that unites storytelling and health-related sciences. Topics that fall under medical humanities include medical anthropology, health politics and disability justice, according to the journal’s website.

In BJMH’s past issue, published work included creative nonfiction essays detailing personal experiences in the medical field, interpretive artwork and poetry offering abstract expressions of tangible sciences. 


The journal was founded to fill what co-Editor-in-Chief Byron Butaney ’25 thought was a gap in the types of medical journals on campus. “A lot of them were very STEM-focused and not a lot of them addressed the intersection between medicine and the various humanities,” he said. 

“There’s a lot of important aspects of medicine beyond the physiological or the biological, (especially) how humans relate to healthcare and their experiences with it,” said Adeline Allen ’25, the BJMH’s chief of staff. “We look at humanism and creativity, and building a community (as) some of our main goals.” 

The BJMH prioritizes diversity in the genres and subject matters of the submissions they publish, staff told The Herald. 

“We had a lot of art, some poetry … we even had some comic strips,” Allen said. “We also had more nonfiction personal narratives and stories about projects that students have conducted with the medical humanities.”

One example is Annika Coleman ’24’s “Snapshots,” an essay featured in the first issue. Coleman, a senior double concentrating in Biology and Hispanic Studies, described her essay as “field notes with commentary.” The piece connects what Coleman was seeing in her work at the Rhode Island Free Clinic to her knowledge of cultural health and related topics discussed in her Spanish classes, she said.

“I’m super interested in how much science can learn from humanities (and what) humanities can learn from science,” Coleman said. She also emphasized her passion for “expressing and talking about experiences of illness and making medicine more human.” 

The BJMH is sponsored by the Cogut Institute for the Humanities, which supports scholars and departments across the University working between different humanities disciplines, according to the website overview

According to Gregory Kimbrell, communications manager at the Cogut Institute, the Cogut team helps manage funding and printing for the BJMH and coordinates special events. 

“(Many people) overlook the value of the humanities to ongoing conversations in the world,” Kimbrell said. “Talking to the people who are most impacted …is actually important for finding the right kinds of solutions. The Brown Journal of Medical Humanities is very much about bringing to the medical conversation perspectives that have not historically been brought to the table.” 

As of now, the BJMH is actively seeking student submissions, with their submission window open until mid-November. “We really want to try to get our name out there, so that we can have people from a wide variety of backgrounds submit,” Butaney said. “We’re really trying to get a diverse set of experiences.” 


In addition to finalizing their second issue, the BJMH team hopes to foster a close-knit community with a shared passion for healthcare and the humanities.

“We work really hard to make an amazing product that we’re all very proud of and can’t wait to share,” Allen said. “But we want to make sure that everyone feels really integrated along the way. We’re focusing a lot of our initiatives on furthering that community feeling.”

Get The Herald delivered to your inbox daily.

Isabel Hahn

Isabel Hahn is an Arts & Culture section editor who concentrates in English and Behavioral Decision Sciences. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, reading, and journaling.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Brown Daily Herald, Inc.