2020 is a year that fully illuminates the importance of the work that the Five College Program in Culture, Health, and Science (CHS) promotes. The lived experience and far-reaching consequences of structural anti-Black racism, white supremacy, and racial inequities are public health issues. This is a longstanding crisis, which is now being exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing climate emergency. Widespread protests demanding an end to systemic racism bring renewed urgency to our interdisciplinary approaches and inspire us to learn from vital traditions and develop new frames of reference. CHS supports students to listen to, learn from, and work with a wide range of communities and individuals with varied vantage points and backgrounds to advance common causes. In this way, we view ending racism and averting climate disaster as intertwined core concerns that demand decisive, sustained, and collective action.
The Five College Program in Culture, Health, and Science (CHS) is a certificate program that allows undergraduate liberal arts students to explore human health, disease, and healing from interdisciplinary perspectives. Graduate schools recognize that tomorrow's health experts will need interdisciplinary training to link their understandings of history, culture, and behavior with clinical, biological, and epidemiologic models of health and disease. Students design a plan of study that approaches "health" holistically from the perspective of natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
Completing a CHS certificate builds on the liberal arts approach to equip students with tools to think critically about health issues. For example, students may learn to:
- Recognize historical patterns of disease distribution, treatment, and health disparities
- Appreciate the value of integrating literature, philosophy, and the arts with studies in STEM fields (and vice versa)
- Develop technical skills (such as research design, media literacy, gene editing, foreign languages, econometrics, doula training, or statistical analysis) to apply to health issues
- Navigate healthcare systems and be an advocate for themselves and others
- Apply contributions of multiple disciplines to the realm of public health, health promotion, cultural competence, disease eradication and global health
Students learn how behavior influences disease distribution, how biomedical categories change across time and culture, and how political and socioeconomic factors affect disease and treatment. CHS students learn to interpret and communicate their results to diverse audiences.
CHS is led by a Steering Committee of faculty members from all five colleges and a range of disciplines. CHS students work with their campus advisors to articulate objectives, select courses, and conduct independent projects or internships. Faculty and students alike are enriched by the cross-campus connections and interdisciplinary collaborations that the Culture, Health, and Science program fosters—locally and globally. Get on board!
For a list of CHS advisors on your campus, see here.