Marcia D. Childress

  • Associate Professor of Medical Education (Medical Humanities), University of Virginia
  • Director, Program in Humanities, University of Virginia

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 is co-founder of Clinician’s Eye, a museum-based workshop to improve health professionals’ visual attention and other core clinical skills. 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 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 and law 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 medicine, reflective education and the moral formation of the physician, interprofessional learning, and uses of the arts and humanities in medical education and preparation for professional life. She has twice been 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 and the David A. Harrison Distinguished Educator Award for lifetime achievement. She 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 and chair of the President's Advisory Committee on Women's Concerns. In 2009, she received UVA’s Elizabeth Zintl Leadership Award.


  • Ph.D.
    University of Virginia
  • M.A.
    University of Virginia
  • B.A.
    Michigan State University

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