Department of English Associate Professors Christa Teston, Margaret Price and John Jones, and have received a three-year, $140,000 grant from Humanities Without Walls for their project “Building Collectives in a Changing Healthcare Climate.”
The team’s goal is to improve public health outcomes by creating and sustaining humanities-centered health service research collaboratives. To accomplish this, Teston, Price and Jones have been working alongside Professor Jaqueline Rhodes and Assistant Professor Dawn Shoultz Opel of Michigan State University.
This interdisciplinary collaboration emphasizes humanities experience in healthcare contexts, including rhetorical aptitude; attunement to ethics, access and equity; multi-literacies; qualitative methods; and critical engagement with emerging technologies. Teston notes how an infrastructure that mobilizes these skills across disciplines and institutions does not yet exist. This is why Michigan State and Ohio State faculty will connect researchers in humanities and health services fields, therefore better enabling collaborative scholarship. “We are hopeful that such collaborations will eventually yield improved clinical and public health outcomes,” says Teston.
The project will provide training and support to humanities researchers so they may effectively participate in health services research. Such training events include a symposium, educational “grand rounds,” online workshops and asynchronous research teams. “Building Collectives” is also pushing to incorporate more undergraduate and graduate research in interdisciplinary scholarship. “The Ohio State’s Department of English is unusual in that it houses several scholars in medical rhetoric, disability rhetoric and narrative medicine,” says Price. “We are thrilled that this grant will enable us to continue capitalizing on that strength, especially in mentoring students and creating interdisciplinary opportunities for leading-edge scholarship and activism.”
“The Ohio State’s Department of English is unusual in that it houses several scholars in medical rhetoric, disability rhetoric and narrative medicine...We are thrilled that this grant will enable us to continue capitalizing on that strength."
The Humanities Without Walls grant will support key research and event components of “Building Collectives,” including Teston’s project on the Affordable Care Act; Price’s study of disabled faculty; Jones’s work on wearable technologies; Opel’s research on coordinating care across clinical and community contexts; and Rhodes’ work on interdisciplinary networking and training opportunities at MSU’s Critical Diversity in a Digital Age Research collective and on setting up the Graduate Lab Practicum.
Receiving this grant also helps the team look to the future of their project. They are working to create virtual spaces, in the form of a website housed at and overseen by Ohio State, to share data, train students and professionals and collaborate. And in 2019, the team will hold an interdisciplinary health services research symposium at MSU. “From these events, we will develop and share best practices across academy, industry, and community,” says Teston. “By joining our efforts across institutions, opportunities abound for making what we do matter for folks outside of the academy.”