In April 2015, the Medical College Admission Test underwent some changes. One of these changes was the addition of a new section of content, covering topics like psychology and sociology, that placed a emphasis on the social and behavioral sciences. This, along with other changes to the medical admissions process, revealed a need for more interdisciplinary health and medicine programs in higher education that would give students a more well-rounded approach to healthcare.
Around the same time, at the University of Arizona, the Health and Human Values (HHV) minor, exclusively offered as an Honors program, was just getting started. What began as an innovative new interdisciplinary minor, has now grown into one of the most successful and high demand programs offered in the W.A. Franke Honors College.
The mission of HHV is to encourage a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to health, to give students a broad perspective on the social and cultural dimensions of health and health care.
For one family, this mission is making a generational impact.
Akram Hindosh is currently in his first year of Medical School at the College of Medicine – Tucson. He graduated from the W.A. Franke Honors College in the spring of 2022 with a major in Physiology and a minor in HHV.
His cousin, Ziad Hindosh, who was in one of the first core classes of the program that was taught in 2016, also minored in HHV. Ziad is in his final year of medical school right now and is applying for an internal medicine residency with hopes of continuing with a nephrology or cardiology fellowship.
“I’ve enjoyed medical school thoroughly and couldn’t be happier to be chasing a lifelong dream,” said Ziad.
But these cousins are only half of the story. Akram’s brother Yazin, as well as Ziad's brother, Omar, are current undergraduate students at the W.A. Franke Honors College, both pursuing minors in HHV.
“We are all very close; my brother, my cousins, and among themselves. After my experience I really recommended it to them, and after taking the intro class, they too saw the value of the minor and how much it has to offer,” said Ziad.
Akram was born in Baghdad, Iraq in November of 2001, right as war was beginning to break out. His family sought refuge in Ammam, Jordan before later immigrating to the United States, eventually landing in the Phoenix area, joining Ziad’s family who had arrived there in 2001. Akram attributed his dedicated work ethic to his upbringing and adjusting to life in the United States.
“I had to persevere through language barriers and cultural solitude to get to the position that I am in today. It often highlights just how within reach certain goals are and allows me to just believe in myself in challenging moments of my life,” Akram said.
As far as their involvement in HHV, Akram and Ziad both said that the minor taught them the importance of taking a step back from a situation and looking at different perspectives.
“I really think of HHV as not just a wealth of knowledge, but truly a lesson on analyzing situations — whether it’s a patient, colleague, boss, friend, or family member. It allowed me to learn to consider all perspectives when making a conclusion, which has especially been helpful in the medical field. Finding the solution is half of the problem, the other half is being able to connect the solution with the patient,” explained Ziad.
Akram believes that his family’s interest in HHV stems from seeing the immense value in exploring diverse approaches to health and medicine, and that understanding this value will allow them to succeed as healthcare providers.
“We all saw how much we needed to involve ourselves in Dr. Braitberg’s curriculum in order to be the best doctors we possibly can,” he said.
Both Akram and Ziad are pursuing the path to become doctors, with care and empathy at the center of their healthcare philosophy, a lesson which they accredit to the foundation that the Health and Human Values Minor has set for them.
As healthcare and society have changed, so have approaches to healthcare. In the last 20 years, the number of Health Humanities programs within higher education in the United States has increased from 12 to 140, with many more programs across the country currently still in development.
Success in a health-related field requires a nuanced and holistic understanding of health and healthcare. Over 70% of our HHV graduates gain admission into prominent health and professional graduate programs in prestigious institutions such as Albany Medical College, Boston University School of Medicine, and Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, to name just a few.
Choosing the HHV minor will offer you a more holistic and humane perspective on health care, whether applying to medical school, pursuing public health, or looking for a unique career in your field.
Join the next generation of HHV students. Application Deadline: October 6, 2023.