Health and Illness

<br> © Precious by Photodream Art

© Precious by Photodream Art

Whether health is regarded as a value in itself, or an instrument which aids greater human productivity, the tendency to ignore, conceal or minimise painful truths concerning threats to human health presents a complex problem in need of inter-disciplinary responses. The Health and Illness collection of research streams aim to provide a platform for examining and exploring issues surrounding the ways people experience health issues directly and indirectly, on a personal or professional basis. The impact of health, its presence and its absence, and how human beings regard and engage with it is complex and multi-layered.

Key themes will explore

~the ‘meanings’ of health, illness, dying and death for individuals and communities
~ perceptions of the ‘well’, the ‘ill’, the ‘impaired’ and the disabled
~ the preoccupation with health in the 21st century
~ the threat of global pandemics
~ the business of ‘wellness’, ‘cures’ and ‘treatments’
~ chronic illness; terminal illness; attitudes to death
~ pain; chronic pain; suffering
~ how we perceive of and conduct ourselves through the experiences of health and illness
~ the impact of social media
~ technology, health, dying and death
~ the impact of health, illness, disease, dying and death on biology, economics, government, medicine, politics, social sciences
~ the relationship between creative work and health, illness, dying and death


The End of Life Experience
Dying, death and culture in the 21st century explores the myriad of ways in which culture impacts on our care for the dying, the overall experience of dying, and how the dead are remembered. Culture not only presents and portrays ideas about “a good death” and norms that seek to achieve it, culture also operates as both a vehicle and medium through which meaning about death is communicated and understood. Sadly, too, culture sometimes facilitates death through violence.

Storytelling and Trauma
Storytelling is inextricably linked to the history of human beings in a wide variety of oral and visual formats. Storytelling has been a fundamental tool to recording personal, familial, communal and national stories. But it can also be linked to a process of working through trauma, of breaking silence as witnessed in the growth of a “communal digital storytelling” embodied in the rise of shared storytellings of trauma such as #MeToo and #TimesUp


Development Team

Nate Hinerman, PhD, is Associate Professor and Chair of Undergraduate Psychology at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, CA. He also teaches at the University of San Francisco both in Nursing and Religious Studies, and at San Francisco State University in the Gerontology program. As a philosopher, his research is rather interdisciplinary, and often intermingles existential and psychological approaches to enduring topics such as death, dying, and human suffering.  He serves as Chair the San Francisco Bay Area End of Life Coalition, a community group for those seeking support, education, and/or networking around hospice and palliative care issues, now in its 18th year. He is also a psychotherapist, helping clients transition amidst loss.