The word humanities is at the core of the medical and health humanities. Still, anyone who has walked into a room of health-care practitioners, students, and humanities professors ready to do medical humanities or health humanities work knows all are eager to improve the practices of health care, but individuals differ—sometimes radically—in their understanding of what that work is. Today’s debates over defining the health humanities frequently focus on the differences between health and medicine (Crawford et al. 2010; T. Jones et al. 2017), but some of the most challenging differences emerge from divergent understandings of the word humanities. These differences are not merely inside baseball: they determine what kinds of interventions into the practices of health care are possible.

This essay may be found on page 111 of the printed volume.

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