Associate Professor of Medical Education (Medical Humanities)
Director, Program in Humanities
Ph.D., University of Virginia, 1996
M.A., University of Virginia, 1976
B.A., Michigan State University, 1970
Professor Marcia Day Childress, who co-instructs the yearlong Law School course Seminar in Ethical Values, directs the Program in Humanities within the School of Medicine's Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities. In her role as director, she oversees elective courses in humanities disciplines and other educational programming in medical humanities. She also directs the Medical Center Hour, the School of Medicine's weekly public forum on medicine and society.
A literature scholar, Childress teaches medical school courses in Literature and Medicine, Images of Medicine, and Cells to Society and directs medical students' independent research in humanities and the arts. Together with a law professor, she leads the interprofessional Seminar in Ethical Values for medical, law and graduate architecture students. In the College of Arts and Sciences, she teaches an upper-level undergraduate course, Narratives of Illness and Doctoring, in the Department of English.
Her research interests include narrative in medicine, reflective education and the moral formation of the physician, interprofessional learning, and uses of the literary, dramatic and visual arts in medical education and preparation for professional life. In spring 2011, she was a research fellow at the Centre for the Advanced Study of Bioethics, University of Münster, Germany. She writes on literature and the role of narrative and the arts in medicine, ethics, medical education and end-of-life care.
A charter member of the medical school's Academy of Distinguished Educators, Childress received a Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching, the David A. Harrison Distinguished Educator Award for lifetime achievement, and was elected to the national medical honor societies Alpha Omega Alpha and the Gold Humanism Honor Society and UVA’s Raven Society. Active in university service, she was chair of the Faculty Senate, chair of two Senate standing committees and chair of the President's Advisory Committee on Women's Concerns. She sits on the School of Medicine 's Committee on Women, the Faculty Development Advisory Committee, and the Medical Education Advisory Committee. Her service to the profession includes consulting for the American Board of Internal Medicine, judging the Arnold P. Gold Foundation's annual medical student essay contest, and reviewing for a variety of medical and medical arts journals.