Hook Scholars Program Applications Welcome

Hook Scholars Program Applications Welcome

Edward W. Hook Scholars in Humanities and Ethics
Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities   
University of Virginia School of Medicine


The Hook Scholars Class of 2018 have been selected. The next opportunity to apply will be in the Fall of 2015.

Program description

The Edward W. Hook Scholars Program in Humanities and Ethics* complements UVA's four-year undergraduate medical curriculum by providing a humanities, bioethics, and arts pathway through the four years of medical education. Each year, the program selects as Hook Scholars up to four first-year medical students with demonstrated interest and/or accomplishments in the humanities, bioethics, and/or the fine and performing arts and who intend to keep such interest active, aligned with, and applied throughout their medical studies. Hook Scholars become a vibrant part of the life of the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities (CBEH), which provides an organizational and operational framework and mentoring so that scholars can integrate humanities, bioethics, and arts pursuits into their medical education and professional identity formation.

Program features and expectations are described in detail on the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities’ website (http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/community-service/centers/biomedical-ethics-and-humanities) under Hook Scholars Program.

* The Hook Scholars Program is named in memory of longtime UVA Department of Medicine chair Edward W. Hook MD (1924-1998). He was a celebrated clinician, investigator, teacher, and national medical leader who inspired others to understand disease, doctoring, and health in terms of culture, geography, the arts, ethics, economics, psychology, and politics as well as the biological sciences. Dr. Hook sought to train better, more humanistic doctors by helping medical students and residents develop and deploy core clinical competencies of observation, reflection, moral awareness, and compassion. While chair of Medicine, Dr. Hook created the medical school’s first faculty position in biomedical ethics (John Fletcher PhD, 1988). When Dr. Hook retired as department chair in 1991, he founded and directed the Program of Humanities in Medicine, which preceded the present Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities.


Program goals

  • To promote research and scholarship linking medical humanities, bioethics, and arts interests and inquiries to skill sets that
    • improve patient care (e.g., listening, attention and observation, compassion, communication, perspective-taking, creativity, narrative medicine, moral awareness, self-reflection)
    • improve teaching (e.g., in-depth knowledge of humanities and bioethics resources and research methods and arts practices, reflection and reflective pedagogies, multimedia presentations),
    • advance personal, public, and global health (e.g., cultural awareness, Spanish language facility, historical insight, knowledge of religious/spiritual traditions)
    • inform public policy, community service, and leadership (e.g., emotional intelligence, interprofessional teamwork, organizational/management skills, appreciative inquiry)
  • To encourage physicians to pursue scholarship and creative arts practices that address matters of health, illness, and well-being
  • To promote careers for physicians in medical humanities and bioethics


Program expectations

Each Hook Scholar will

  • in the summer following first year, pursue an individual scholarly research project, to be initiated in residence at CBEH and with CBEH faculty supervision, possibly under the auspices of UVA’s seven-week, NIH-sponsored Medical Student Summer Research Program (MSSRP) [CBEH faculty must approve any alternative and/or nonresidential activity during this first summer]
  • receive mentoring from CBEH faculty throughout the four years of medical school
  • in fourth year, complete an independent research project (or arts portfolio) during elective time (up to eight weeks) in residence at CBEH and present it at a Hook Scholars gathering before graduation
  • also in fourth year, spend up to eight additional weeks in humanities/bioethics elective courses, including a two-week capstone Hook Scholars Program elective
  • attend CBEH meetings, retreats, and activities
  • participate in the vertical community of Hook Scholars, with opportunities to model for and mentor one another as well as to develop learning and service projects
  • join CBEH faculty in planning and offering curricular modules, co-curricular programming, and Medical Center Hour programs
  • be a CBEH ambassador-at-large, thereby promoting CBEH programs and interests across the medical school and medical center
  • advise CBEH on ways and means of involving more medical students in the center’s scholarly and service missions

And CBEH will offer the Hook Scholars

  • membership in a robust community of UVA scholars specializing in the humanities, biomedical ethics, and the arts as these relate to health and illness, medicine, and medical education
  • faculty mentoring in the student’s interest area across all four years of medical school
  • resources in the center, including faculty expertise, the lending library, and study/gathering space
  • special seminars, activities, and retreats
  • interactions with visiting scholars




We now welcome applications from members of the Class of 2018. To apply, please provide the following:

  • a 1-2 page letter of intent (Why do you want to become a Hook Scholar?)
  • a sample of your undergraduate work in humanities, bioethics, or the arts (e.g. an analytical paper or original creative work) or a written reflection on your medical school experience thus far)
  • your undergraduate transcript
  • a list of no more than five undergraduate courses or extracurricular activities related to the interests you bring to the Hook Scholars Program, with (optional) a sentence about the relevance of each
  • a letter of support from someone (an undergraduate professor?) who can speak knowledgeably about your commitment to the humanities, bioethics, or the fine or performing arts
  • a preliminary statement (indicating subject area, topic, possible research question and research methods for answering the question) about an independent research project you'd like to propose and pursue in summer 2015 (limit: one page, double-spaced)


Questions? Contact Dr. Daniel Becker (dmb2y@virginia.edu) or Professor Marcia Day Childress (woolf@virginia.edu).



The Hook Scholars of the Class of 2018 have been selected.