The 2nd The Doctor as a Humanist Symposium

Jonathan McFarland (Sechenov University) and Irina Markovina (Sechenov University).

In October 2017 the 1st The Doctor as a Humanist symposium took place in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. At the symposium we posed the questions, “Can the Humanities transform 21st Century Medicine?”

The end of the first symposium in Spain was closed with the words, “Thanks to all for helping to make this dream come true; the “star is officially dancing” but never forget that this is just the beginning”.

And this is still only the beginning, but all beginnings have a second chapter, and it is with enormous delight that I can now talk about and promote the 2nd The Doctor as a Humanist symposium.

From the 1st -3rd  April 2019, the 2nd The Doctor as a Humanist symposium will be held at Sechenov University in Moscow. Sechenov University is the oldest and most prestigious Medical University in Russia, and last year it celebrated its 260th Anniversary. Historically, Russia has always had a decidedly humanistic approach to medicine, and in the symposium,  we will have a section dedicated to the Humanities and Russian Medicine and Science It also must be noted that Anton Chekhov, one of the most famous of Russian writers was a practising Doctor all his life and was one of Sechenov’s most famous alumna.

This year’s programme is even more interesting than the first symposium. Apart from the three Plenary Speakers: Professor Theodore Zeldin, (Oxford University), Professor Srikant Sarangi (Aalborg University) and Dr Brandy Schillace (Editor BMJ Medical Humanities) we have an incredibly wide array of speakers (doctors, nurses and students) from around the world, from the USA, Canada, the UK, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Pakistan and more.

In the first symposium we asked the question CAN, but here in the second the question will be focused on HOW:

How can the Humanities transform 21st Century Medicine?” and not less important, perhaps even more pertinent, “How can we integrate the Humanities into Medical education and practice?”

In a recent article Morera Serna (2018) writes, “Humanistic education helps to cope with the ups and downs of daily clinical work building resilient physicians. Investing in Medical Humanities to achieve top professionals may be one of the soundest ideas of medical schools”.

We appreciate and wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment of this practising doctor. Now is most definitely the time to “ensure that the Medical Humanities do not remain a castle in the air’” (Wu and Chen, 2018).

The stakes are too high. The future of medicine depends on finding the way to (re)introduce the humanities to the core of medical education…” (McFarland, Markovina, Gibbs, 2018).

Help us to discuss and debate the HOW.

Help us to put the “Heart and Soul Back into Medicine” and come and join us for spring in Moscow.



Morera Serna E, Medical humanities in a rapidly changing world. Is there any worth in it?, MedEdPublish, 2018, 7, [3], 54, doi:

Wu H, Chen J, Conundrum between internationalisation and interdisciplinarity: reflection on the development of medical humanities in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, MedEdPublish, 2018, 7, [3], 46, doi:

McFarland J, Markovina I, Gibbs T, Concluding Commentary. The Importance of the Humanities in Medical Education: Where are we now? , MedEdPublish, 2018, 7, [3], 83, doi:

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