Graduate Institute of Humanities in Medicine (GIHM)


The Graduate Institute of Humanities in Medicine was founded to engage issues at the interface of medicine and society, both medical practice and research. The Institute takes as its motto “The Medical Arts should enrich our sense of humanity; the Humanities can assist Medicine to become intellectually well-rounded and thereby make it better able to enhance human well-being.” Our research is committed to inter-disciplinary work, giving special emphasis to sociological methods that lend themselves to enhancing knowledge of how to promote well-being, both for individuals and communities. Our pedagogy emphasizes multiple methodologies, but all are intended to stimulate student abilities to observe, reflect, analyze, and develop creative research of international interest. Motivating both our research and our pedagogy is the belief that growth of knowledge, ethical and scientific, as well as cultivation of rational inquiry and compassion, are essential to the promotion of well-being. 


Our faculty has been recognized both nationally and internationally for their achievements. They publish both nationally and internationally, in highly respected, peer-reviewed journals, both in English and in Chinese. They also publish books and book chapters with internationally-recognized publishers. In the Institute's brief history faculty have already successfully applied for a large number of research grants, large and small, that enable the Institute to promote the research portion of its mission, while also supporting students as they develop their own research interests.


We aspire to produce graduate students who developed the capability to develop and engage in lines of inter-disciplinary research, bridging the gap that separates the sociological sciences and the humanities from the medical arts. We also strive to create an atmosphere in which students learn to develop ideas and techniques suited to large-scale, collaborative research projects. The courses have elicited a high level of student satisfaction; indeed, results of a recent evaluation conducted by Taiwan's Ministry of Education pointed out that, “The professional performance of the instructors, in quantity and quality of research and service, is excellent.” An emerging, and highly significant part of our research-oriented pedagogy concerns faculty deep engagement with multiple institutions and communities, ranging from the central government, to collaborating universities, and also to the local communities, including the villages of Taiwan's indigenous ethnic groups.


GIMH has nine full-time faculty members: Dr. Lin Yih-Ren, Institute Chair (cultural geography, ecological medicine, environmental ethics, indigenous community development studies, participatory research methods); Prof. Timothy Lane (philosophy of mind, science and philosophy of consciousness, cognitive neuroscience, and neuroethics); Dr. Kao Mei-Ying (medical sociology and statistical methods); Dr. Chen Chien-Yu, MD.,Ph.D. (medical ethics methods and reasoning, qualitative research, medical ethics teaching theory and practice); Dr. Shih Li-Wen (STS, gender and health, feminist techno-science); Dr. Ru Hong-Yu (medical anthropology, indigenous community health improvement, ecological medicine); and, Dr. Hsieh Tzung-Yi (ethics, contemporary French philosophy, philosophical reflections on public policy).


The institute is actively extending its international network. For the past few years, we have invited international scholars to lecture and consult on issues related to neuroethics, ethno-ecology, ecological psychology, consciousness research, and horticultural therapy. Our faculty members also actively participate in the international academic activities: for example, our Chair, Dr. Yih-Ren Lin is now the regional representative of International Society of Ethnobiology. One of our faculty members, Timothy Lane, was also recently awarded Tennessee's Basler Prize for excellence in inter-disciplinary research. Our Institute is also involved in a large-scale inter-disciplinary research project with the University of Ottawa. And, in August, 2015, we will be hosting an international, inter-disciplinary conference dedicated to close assessment of David Rosenthal's Higher-Order Thought Theory.


We provide interdisciplinary courses on issues related to social medicine, ecological medicine and community care, consciousness, neuroethics, and STS. Our curriculum structure allows students to develop their own interests and specialties, and form research-oriented collaborative projects with faculty whose expertise best fits students talents and interests. We give special emphasis to a hands-on approach, getting students out of the classroom on a regular basis, so that they become actively engaged in research projects, both collaborative and individual. Naturally, however, students come together for the core courses and seminars, where they give regular presentations to faculty and fellow students. GIMH has a wide interdisciplinary network of contacts and adjunct faculty who aid us in our pedagogical and research mission.


A distinctive characteristic of the Institute--a trait that is in addition to its research and pedagogy--is its direct engagement of social and medical issues. Seminars and activities sponsored by the Institute are often the topic of media reports. These events, and media reports of them, are having a growing influence over social policy and its development.


A special characteristic Institute student is their varied background. They come from a multitude of fields, and after graduation also fill numerous influential roles in society. Whether as medical professionals, music therapists, educators, or even media personalities, many have become prominent in their fields.


Graduate Institute of Health and Biotechnology Law (GIHBL)

The newly established Graduate Institute of Health and Biotechnology Law is an expression of Taipei Medical University (TMU)’s expanding commitment to interdisciplinary studies. Faculty research focuses on translational medicine legal policy, venture capital and intangible assets financing, pharmaceutical legal policy, public health law, biotechnology law, as well as food and drug regulation. Our faculty also regularly publish in peer-reviewed journals, deliver invited talks at international conferences, and undertake government research projects, including: Constructing a Legal Framework for Promotion of Taiwan's Vaccine Industry In Order To Anticipate Pandemics and Empirical Studies on the Disputes Pertaining to the Second-Generation of National Health Insurance. Both initiatives will have long-term influence on public health policy-making in Taiwan.

  Pedagogical objectives of the Institute include equipping future lawyers and legal experts with knowledge necessary to address medical, public health, and issues related to bio-technology. Courses offered currently include: Medical Law, Biotechnology Law, Health Insurance Law and Patent Law. An especially distinctive component of our curriculum is Introduction to Biomedical Science (for those who do not possess a degree in related fields). Moreover, Research Methods & Legal Writing are also essential components of the Curriculum. The Institute also offers courses relevant to biomedical research and commercialization, such as Intellectual Property and Finance. About half of our courses are offered in conjunction with other TMU departments or with collaborating universities.

Our graduate students are involved in a number of academic projects, including a newly established BioLaw Newsletter and a National Health Insurance Legal Study Group. Both organizations hold regular events and publish up-to-date legal analyses of biomedical innovations.


The Graduate Institute of Mind, Brain, and Consciousness (GIMBC) 
 The Graduate Institute of Mind, Brain, and Consciousness (GIMBC) will be established in order to fuse, synergistically, the strengths of two distinct perspectives on the brain—the subjective and the objective. GIMBC is dedicated to pedagogy and research in understanding how minds emerge from the activity of brains, as well as how this understanding can be applied clinically to the relief of human suffering. In short, the reasons for establishing GIMBC are both practical and idealistic: By integrating the sciences of mind with medical science we are able to catalyze research activity, providing medical practitioners with the tools necessary for conducting novel lines of research within their chosen areas of expertise. And, it is because we attend closely to the 1st person conscious experience, that we position ourselves to design novel forms of therapy for the reduction of suffering. 

 GIMBC is unique to Taiwan in several respects: (i) It integrates cognitive neuroscience, experimental psychology, and the science of consciousness with the pedagogy, research, and clinical practice of the three hospitals that compose the TMU network including, but by no means limited to, the Departments of Neurology, Psychiatry, Radiology, Nuclear Medicine, and Anesthesiology. (ii) It integrates 1st person, subjective methodologies with 3rd person, inter-subjective techniques in order to understand what patients experience and how these conscious experiences are realized in virtue of the brain’s activity, both neural correlates and neural predispositions. (iii) It integrates psychometrics with a host of technologies that provide excellent temporal (e.g., EEG), spatial (e.g., MRI & fMRI), brain stimulation (e.g., TMS & tDCS), and biochemical (MRS & PET) data, in order to make substantive contributions to translational medicine. (iv) It collaborates with TMU’s several Colleges and hospitals, targeting issues in Translational Medicine, in order to expedite the discovery of new diagnostic tools and treatments. (v) In order to encompass all aspects of consciousness, including its relatedness to non-conscious mental states, the Institute integrates investigations into levels of consciousness (e.g., sleep, unresponsive wakefulness syndrome [UWS], mild traumatic brain injury [MTBI], and anesthesia) with investigations into the contents of consciousness (e.g., Major Depressive Disorder [MDD], Dementia, Schizophrenia, and Monothematic Delusions). And, (vi) it integrates scientific research on moral behavior, in both healthy subjects (e.g., religion) and patient populations (e.g., dementia), with philosophical research in ethics, thereby positioning us to contribute to the burgeoning field of neuroethics, a nascent field that applies what we are learning from neuroscience to improved understanding of free will, moral and legal culpability, religious conviction, human values, as well as conditions under which the capacity for selfhood is lost.

One among GIMBC’s distinctive foci is consciousness, both its levels and content. This focus is especially important and appropriate for a Graduate Institute that is grounded in the Humanities but that deeply engages the medical sciences, as has been amply demonstrated by the pioneering inter-disciplinary work coordinated by, and under the auspices of, the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness ( http://www.theassc.org/ ). Over the last two decades, investigations carried out by members of the ASSC and other similar scientific or scholarly associations have demonstrated the important link between the science of consciousness and medical science. 


To mention just a few of these important links: first, it is now clear that for many diseases, effective therapies for relief of pain or suffering can only be designed when the relevant conscious experiences are characterized accurately and in sufficient detail. Second, due to systematic introspective biases, patient reports can systematically mislead clinicians, making it essential that the rendering of diagnoses be calibrated to account for such biases. Third, since our knowledge of the conscious experience of others is so heavily dependent upon their ability to report those experiences and since patient ability to report what they experience is frequently impaired by disease or injury, identification of measurable neural correlates of (and predispositions for) subjective experience is needed to compensate for the patient’s inability to express in conventional ways. And, four, since natural language is designed for ordinary experience, and since so many illnesses engender beliefs or sensory states that rarely occur, medical science needs to draw upon the science of consciousness in order to assist with the development of scales, qualitative probes, and other techniques to assist patients describe their abnormal experiences.


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  • Graduate Institute of  Humanities in Medicine
  • The Graduate Institute of Mind, Brain, and Consciousness (GIMBC)
  • Research Center of Humanistic  Innovation and Social Engagement
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