Visiting Scholar Announcements

Taylor, Wendell

Meet Dr. Wendell Taylor

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Wendell C. Taylor, Visiting Scholar in the Institute for the Medical Humanities, Department of Preventive Medicine and Population Health. The objectives of his current research proposal are to present a comprehensive overview and analysis of ethics related to hiring practices and workplace interventions for people who smoke or are obese. His research interests are physical activity, workplace health promotion, health equity, and health behaviors in high priority populations.

Dr. Taylor was the principal investigator of a National Institutes of Health grant titled, Booster Breaks: A 21st Century Innovation to Improve Worker Health and Productivity. This study was a cluster-randomized controlled trial of health promoting breaks in the workplace and assessed physical, psychological, and organizational-level outcomes. There are more than 16 peer-reviewed publications related to the Booster Break concept and interventions.

Dr. Taylor received his AB from Grinnell College, MS in Psychology from Eastern Washington University, PhD in Social Psychology from Arizona State University, and his MPH from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health. In addition, he completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in Community Health at the Center for Health Promotion Research and Development, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. His previous positions include tenured Associate Professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, School of Public Health, and Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research as well as Adjunct Associate Professor in the Cizik School of Nursing, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Meet Dr. Minji LeeMinji Lee

Dr. Minji Lee recently received a PhD Degree in the Department of Religion at Rice University. Her PhD thesis, “Bodies of Medieval Women as Dangerous, Liminal, and Holy: Representations in the Writings of Late Medieval Religious Women” explored how this medieval German nun defended the woman’s sexual/reproductive body” as positive in the images of re-creation and salvation against misogynic medieval and religious culture of her age.

Granted that Dr. Lee is a medievalist interested in the interactions between mysticism and medicine in the Middle Ages, she now turns to the new research project to compare medieval European medical theories and modern Korean folk medicine in order to see how women have been striving to maintain their reproductive health and to bring positive meanings to their own bodies. She also participated in making a Korean independent documentary project “For Vagina’s Sake (2017)” to posit how Western pre-modern medicine “diabolized” women’s menstrual body.

Currently, she is also a volunteer at Reunion Institute to promote public awareness in religion.

UPREET DHALIWALMeet Dr. Upreet Dhaliwal

The UTMB Health Institute for the Medical Humanities is pleased to welcome Upreet Dhaliwal, MS as a Visiting Scholar. Dr. Dhaliwal will be in residence from February 2019 through May 2019.

Dr. Upreet Dhaliwal, formerly Director-Professor of Ophthalmology at the University College of Medical Sciences, University of Delhi, is one of the founding members of the Medical Humanities Group in the Institution.

She is editor of the journal “Research and Humanities in Medical Education (RHiME)” which is an online-only, peer-reviewed, open-access journal, the only journal in Asia that caters specifically to the medical humanities. RHiME can be accessed at

An occasional poet, and an avid promoter of medical student-led poetry sessions, Dr Dhaliwal is keen to deepen her involvement with the humanities through the visiting scholar program at the Institute for Medical Humanities. Her work here involves an exploration of the Provider-Patient relationship through the medium of poetry.

Meet Dr. Ben Rich

Nov 1, 2010, 00:00 AM by Julia Essex

Ben A. Rich, JD, PhDThe UTMB Health Institute for the Medical Humanities is pleased to welcome Ben A. Rich, JD, PhD as a Visiting Scholar. Dr. Rich will be in residence in November 2010.

Dr. Rich is the School of Medicine Alumni Association Endowed Chair of Bioethics at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine. Prior to becoming an academic bioethicist he was an attorney specializing in health care and higher education law in North Carolina and then Colorado.

Dr. Rich's academic work has been primarily in the area of end of life care, with a special focus on advance care planning, decisions to withhold and withdraw life-sustaining interventions, and the ethical, legal, and policy issues in pain management and palliative care. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Pain Foundation and the Council on Ethics of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

The working title for his sabbatical leave project, on which he will be working while at UTMB is “Suffering, Healing, and Palliative Options of Last Resort: The Clinician's Responsibility To Patients at the End of Life.” Of special interest and concern to Professor Rich in this project are contemporary controversies over the nature of human suffering in the context of advanced terminal illness, and the circumstances under which patients should be provided access to palliative sedation or, where legal, a lethal prescription. Among the related questions which he plans to explore through engagement with UTMB faculty, graduate, and professional students are: 

  • Is “existential suffering” a legitimately distinct category of human suffering that can be diagnosed and that calls for its own distinct approach to palliative interventions, or is all human suffering by its very nature existential?

  • Are there legitimate and realistic restorative goals that dying patients should be admonished to and supported in pursuing, and how should clinicians respond when patients decline to pursue or fail to achieve such restorative goals?

  • What is the role and significance of meaning and dignity in the context of terminal illness and the process of dying?

  • Is a patient's concept of a medical fate worse than death one which palliative care professionals ought to embrace and accommodate?

  • What are the proper roles for causation and intent in ascertaining the ethical valence of acts or omissions in the care of the terminally ill or imminently dying patient?

  • What is the relevance of the proximity of death to the availability of palliative options?