DEATH AND HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONS
The American culture of the 20th and 21st centuries has been called, not death-defying, but death-denying. It is often said that America is the only place in the world that treats death as optional. Once upon a time, we couldn't have open, public conversations about breast cancer, because the word could not be uttered aloud. In many places, it is just as hard today to have an open, public conversation about death and dying. This phenomenon is not just a social more; it affects the practice of many professions and entire segments of our economy and society. This course will explore our individual and cultural reactions to mortality, the ways in which dying in today's America is different from dying throughout history or elsewhere in the world, and the responses of a variety of professions, both within the field of healthcare and beyond, to their encounters with people in the various stages of dying. Students will be asked, at turns, to be scientific, philosophical, clinical, analytical, and emotional in encountering the concepts and material presented here. This should be a true interdisciplinary experience.