UCL Health Humanities Centre


Health and Wellbeing

Our research examines the nature of health and wellbeing, what it is to live well and to die well, how health and wellbeing should be measured and evaluated for public policy purposes, and the fair distribution of health resources. 

"Dying Well": Enacting Medical Ethics

This interdiscplinary collaboration between the actors and artists of the theatre group, [Foreign Affairs], academics from the Schnitzler Digital Edition Project and the Health Humanities Centre has been aided by a UCL Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing Small Grant. It consists of a theatre production and a symposium, exploring the theme of ‘dying well’ in Schnitzler’s medical drama Professor Bernhardi, where the eponymous Jewish doctor prevents a Catholic priest from giving the last rites to a patient who is unaware that she is dying. Performances run from 23-25 Sept 2015, with a symposium on 26 September.

Valuing Health: Wellbeing, Freedom and Suffering

This international conference in June 2015 examined Dan Hausman's newly published book Valuing Health: Well-being, Freedom and Suffering. A team of commentators, and the author himself, addressed themes raised by the book, including:

  • Definitions of health, and why they matter;
  • The relationship between health and well-being;
  • The contribution of phenomenology to understanding and evaluating health states;
  • How to measure health for public policy purposes;
  • Justice in the allocation of scarce health resources.

A selection of the papers will be published in Public Health Ethics in 2016.

The UCL/KCL Social Values in Health Group

Building on a history of joint work on Social Values and Health Priority Setting, the UCL/KCL Social Values Group meets regularly in term time to explore values challenges in the design and prioritisation of health care services. Recent outputs include forthcoming papers in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine and the Kennedy Institute Ethics Journal, an Advice Document to NICE on revising its Social Value Judgements, and various consultation responses.