Dr. Timothy Minella, an alumnus of The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI), has published an essay “There’s No Such Thing as Medicine Divorced from Politics” on Arc Digital, a website “committed to intellectual pluralism.” Dr. Minella graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Hamilton College, 2009, and earned a Ph.D. in the history of science from the University of South Carolina in 2015. He teaches in the Lewis Honors College at the University of Kentucky.
“Dr. Minella ranks as one of the best students I have ever taught,” said AHI President Robert Paquette. “Although his academic record is dazzling enough, his character and integrity prove even more impressive. He possesses a range of erudition quite uncommon for someone of his years, and if college presidents or members of boards of trustees want to find a compelling justification for a traditional liberal arts education, look no further than this essay. Tim majored in physics and government and fell in love with history and literature. He writes with poise and a keen analytical eye.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised questions about the intrusion of politics into medicine. In the essay, Minella offers two suggestions:
“First, because social, political, and economic factors shape scientific fields, medical professionals ought to receive a liberal education in addition to honing technical skill. This means that exposure to the humanities and social sciences — history, philosophy, economics, sociology, etc. — should not be an afterthought but rather an integral part of the continuing education of medical professionals. These non-medical fields will enable medical professionals to think through the larger social, political, and economic aspects of their work. Such broad thinking is crucial in a public health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, which touches so many aspects of our society.
Second, because political and ideological views will inevitably play a role in medicine, the medical community should cultivate a tolerance for a diversity of perspectives. I am a member of Heterodox Academy, a group of professionals in higher education dedicated to intellectual diversity and the promotion of constructive disagreement. My colleagues and I argue that better research and teaching result when people feel free to challenge each other’s methods and conclusions.”
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