When new students embark on the next step of their education at Rush University, they often seek out extracurricular activities to explore their interests, make new friends and help in the Chicago community. Last fall, after first-year Rush Medical College student Fae Kayarian began looking for opportunities to get involved at Rush, she noticed there were few humanities-focused activities at the University and thought a humanities journal would help fill the void.
“I believe a well-rounded medical education includes the medical humanities,” Kayarian says. “I was very surprised that Rush didn’t have a medical humanities journal so I found a group of students who would be interested in starting one.”
Using student group messaging and social media platforms, Kayarian quickly identified nine classmates, each with unique perspectives on the medical humanities and who were likewise interested in being part of a new executive board to launch the journal.
“Each member of the executive board has different skill sets and interests. One studied dance in undergrad and some are more interested in visual arts or prose,” explains Kayarian, who serves as the journal’s editor-in-chief. “We all had different reasons to join this group, but we are all committed to building a more holistic community and educational experience through the journal that is aligned with Rush’s mission and goals.
The executive board named the journal Habitus, a word that can both describe a person’s physical form and how a person’s experience influences the way they see and interpret the world around them. “Habitus was the perfect word to encompass the overall goal of the journal,” Kayarian says. “We chose Habitus because it’s a well-known term in the health care and scientific communities. Our world — how we see things and interact with people and spaces — is influenced by what we do and transcends beyond our physical manifestation.”
The mission of Habitus is to promote creativity, reflection and empowerment at Rush University. Through diverse avenues of artistic expression, including poetry, prose and graphic art, Kayarian says, Habitus encourages Rush community members to celebrate and share narratives that can mobilize meaningful change in health care.
The first issue of Habitus will be published in May 2022. The executive board invites the entire Rush community to submit work for the inaugural issue, “New Beginnings.” Submissions are due Feb. 27 and can include poetry, prose, graphic art or other creative forms.
In the long term, Kayarian says the Habitus executive board wants its work to become more interactive and extend beyond the Rush campus.
“We want to be more than just a publication. We hope to create community programming, such as interactive art nights with Rush’s community partners and our pediatric patients at Rush. Our goal for Habitus is to be unique among other medical humanities journals. We’re still finding our identity, but we are excited to get started, publish our first issue and grow from there.”
For details about Habitus, including submission requirements and instructions, visit its website. Any additional questions can be directed to the Habitus editorial board at firstname.lastname@example.org.