Health & Humanities Scholars

Mission Statement

The Health Humanities Scholars are a group of diverse medical students who believe in the ability of the humanities - art, literature, anthropology, history, religion, philosophy, and more - to fortify the scientific practice of medicine. Collectively, scholars strive to expand, enhance, and contribute to teachings, practices, and discussions around the humanities in medical education at Geisel. They aim to strengthen the connection between Geisel, Dartmouth College, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, and the larger community of artists in the Upper Valley. Guided by their physician mentors, they will become the next generation of physician-leaders in health humanities in scholarship, leadership, and practice. The group was founded by Lauren Kascak (MED ’20) and Celestine Warren (’21) and launched officially in 2020.

To Apply:

Application Deadline is September 15, 2021 at 5:00pm

Member Bios

Maha Ahmed

Maha Ahmed is a 2nd year with an undergraduate degree in Global Studies and Arabic. Prior to medical school, she spent time researching migration and identity formation at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. She’s excited to find a community of creative individuals who share in her passion for the arts and humanities. In her spare time she loves tending to her plants, experimenting with recipes, and journaling.

Saif Ansari

Saif Ansari is a 2nd medical student who joined Geisel with a background in classical music. Saif has played the viola from the age of nine, and in 2017 he earned a Bachelor of Music in viola performance with a minor in chemistry from New York University. During his time in music school, Saif walked countless mental bridges between his rehearsals, music classes, and science classes; walks that he felt made profound contributions to his development as a human and future physician. He hopes to continue walking such bridges at Geisel in the company of the Health and Humanities Scholars group.


Boyoung "Bo" Ahn is a 2nd student at Geisel. Bo graduated from Dartmouth in 2018 with an undergraduate degree in psychology. She went on to study a master's in global health at UCSF. Throughout her undergraduate years, Bo was an active member of the Recollections, a choir composed of Dartmouth students, people with dementia, and their caregivers. With a growing interest in geriatrics and palliative care, Bo is looking forward to continue learning how art can improve quality of life for patients with chronic conditions.

Celestine Warren

Celestine Warren is a 4th student at Dartmouth. She was a Rodis Fellow in Compassionate Care from 2016 – 2017, and through that project learned about the ways that art (particularly photography and poetry) can complement the traditional medical school curriculum. She enjoys picking wildflowers, knitting, and playing tennis.

Rachel Brown

Rachel Brown is a 2nd medical student with an undergraduate degree in neuroscience from Indiana University. Much of her undergraduate research leveraged hard science tools like neuroimaging to study so-called soft science topics like perception, stigma, and identity. She believes that engagement with the humanities is essential to developing the complete physician and finding meaning in our work. Outside of the classroom, Rachel is most likely to be seen riding around the Upper Valley on her bike, regardless of time of year.

Brendan Barth

Brendan Barth is a 2nd student at Geisel with a continued interest in the humanities. He studied classics as an undergrad, where he became particularly interested in the perspective Greek tragedy offers on the human condition. He loves playing the saxophone and soccer – both passions he hopes to continue to incorporate into his future.

Bill Nelson, PhD

Bill Nelson, PhD, is the director of Geisel’s Ethics and Human Values program and a Professor in The Dartmouth Institute and Department of Medical Education. He is a health care ethicist with degrees in religious studies and applied ethics. As a medical educator and co-faculty advisor, he is passionate about the importance of integrating all aspects of the humanities in medical education and beyond, to ensure a truly complete and fulfilled physician. For him, ethics and the humanities are not window dressing, but a core ingredient for being a health care professional.

Kathryn Kirkland, MD

Kathryn Kirkland, MD, is the Dorothy and John J. Byrne, Jr. Distinguished Professor and chief of palliative medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health. She integrates narrative medicine teaching into medical student, resident, fellow, faculty and healthcare team education and helps facilitate cross-disciplinary activities with colleagues at Dartmouth College. Her interests include the role of narrative practice in preparing clinicians to co-create empathic, effective healthcare and in promoting joy in work.


Application to apply to group: