Annual Virtual Symposium

Center for Health Humanities

Adherence and Compliance in Care

Saturday, April 22, 2023

The Center for Health Humanities at MCPHS is hosting its annual virtual symposium on Saturday, April 22, 2023 to explore a health-related topic from humanities and humanistic perspectives. This year’s topic is adherence and compliance. The one-day event will bring together scholars and practitioners working at the intersection of health and the humanities to explore this year's theme.

The issue of adherence and compliance is intimately connected with both good clinical outcomes and normative standards for patient participation. There are practical questions about ways we can improve adherence both in clinical care and in public health. These concepts also touch on deeper questions about what constitutes a "good" patient. Normative standards often lead to the assignment of moral responsibility; e.g., a bad patient deserves bad outcomes. How do the concepts of adherence and compliance fit with the ideals of non-judgmental care? Additionally, an instance of perceived “noncompliance” may actually be a misunderstanding or something unavoidable for a patient. How do attitudes about adherence and compliance interact with social factors, such as race, class, and gender? And does it make sense to speak of adherence and compliance for other players in the grand practice of medicine and public health? For instance, are pharmacists who refuse to stock or fill certain prescription medications noncompliant?

The Symposium will take place virtually. There will be 5 hour-long sessions devoted to discussing pre-circulated work of 5 invitees. In addition, there will be 10 flash presentations where invitees can share their current research. The goal is to bring together diverse scholars in health humanities to explore collaboration, share their expertise, and develop professional contacts. It will be a day of intense, productive, and joyful scholarship. A stipend of $1,000 will be provided to each of the 5 invited participants.

If you are interested in participating, please email with a cover letter outlining how the theme fits into your current scholarly work, and a CV. Deadline for application is March 15, 2023. We hope to include a mix of junior, senior, and mid-career scholars.