Canadian Association for Health Humanities

About Us

Version francaise du site web a suivre


Health humanities represents a vibrant and growing field of interdisciplinary inquiry, that is increasingly influencing health professions education.

The Canadian Association for Health Humanities exists to promote the exchange of ideas and critical dialogue among scholars and practitioners, as well as foster collaborative explorations nationally and internationally. Through meetings, publications and related activities, CAHH seeks to facilitate initiatives as well as interdisciplinary, cross-professional inquiry into research and educational practices relevant to the health humanities.


DRAFT Constitution

(Download PDF)

Creating Space organizers and attendees - as well as others who are interested in becoming a member of the Canadian Association for Health Humanities - are invited to provide feedback on the draft constitution, via the CAHH Contact Form (LINK).

Your comments and suggestions will help to shape the final draft constitution that is brought forward for ratification at the upcoming Creating Space meeting in Halifax in April 2018.



All positions are open! Nominations (including self-nominations), and other expressions of interest can be submitted via the CAHH Contact Form (LINK).

Following ratification of the CAHH constitution at the Creating Space meeting in Halifax in April 2018, CAHH officers will be formally elected.


Business Meetings

To be announced.


Our History

Before Creating Space

The first meeting of the CAME(Canadian Association for Medical Education)-sponsored Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences in Medicine (AHSSM) Educational Interest Group was organized in 2008, as part of the Canadian Conference on Medical Education (CCME) in Montreal. Initially proposed by Marcel D'Eon, PhD (University of Saskatchewan) and Pamela Brett-MacLean, PhD (University of Alberta), AHHSM EIG meetings were included as part of CCME through 2014. (The AHHSM-EIG Listserv continues to provide a means for sharing Canadian and international health humanities news and opportunities – to subscribe to this Listserv, go to “Get Connected!”).

In addition to highlighting arts and humanities contributions to medical education, the 2010 CCME conference theme “White Coat, Warm Heart” also led to the introduction of the “White Coat, Warm HeART” exhibit at the meeting in St. John’s. Initiated by Carol Ann Courneya, PhD (University of British Columbia) this exhibit has been welcomed as a valued, ongoing feature of CCME meetings.


And then …

Inspired by the 2010 CCME meeting in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and their experience of attending the annual Association for Medical Humanities (AMH, UK) conference in Truro, England later that summer, Allan Peterkin, MD (University of Toronto) and Pamela Brett-MacLean, PhD (University of Alberta) initiated the founding of Creating Space.

The inaugural Creating Space meeting was held at the University of Toronto in conjunction with the Social Sciences Perspectives on Health Professions Education Symposium (organized by the Wilson Centre at the University of Toronto) and the Canadian Conference on Medical Education (CCME).

Since this first meeting, volunteer-run committees (usually comprised of individuals and others associated with the medical school hosting CCME) have organized Creating Space each year in advance of the annual CCME meeting. In addition to the meeting held in Toronto in 2011, Creating Space meetings have been held in Banff (2012), Quebec City (2013), Ottawa (2014), Vancouver (2015), Montreal (2016), and Winnipeg (2017), supported by the generous funding of Associated Medical Services, Inc. and other local sponsors.

The Canadian Association for Health Humanities has evolved organically from these meetings. Many of the close to 1,500 people who have attended Creating Space over the past seven years – educators, students, practitioners across a variety of health professions, as well as creative writers, artists, and scholars across wide-ranging arts and humanities disciplines – have expressed interest in ongoing dialogue and exchange of information. Interest in a national association has grown as the community of researchers, educators, and others involved or interested in exploring the role of arts, humanities and social sciences perspectives in health professions education has expanded – an expansion which has led many to adopt the phrase “health humanities” in place of “medical humanities.”

Formally scheduled sessions, and post-meeting discussions regarding a national association have taken place at successive Creating Space meetings. At the 2016 meeting in Montreal, Alan Bleakley, PhD (then President) and Paul Dakin, MBBS (then Secretary) of the AMH(UK) offered to share their bylaws as a model for the new Canadian association. Following Barbara Sibbald’s keynote presentation “Don’t Mourn, Organize” at Creating Space in Winnipeg in 2017, Gail Paech, CEO of Associated Medical Services, Inc. offered to arrange a meeting to discuss funding support for a Canadian health humanities association.

Thanks to the efforts of Allan Peterkin, MD, and Pamela Brett-MacLean, PhD, these events led to the drafting of a proposed CAHH constitution and website.


Creating Space, … and beyond

Close to 30 years following the creation of the first humanities program at a Canadian medical school, we are looking forward to formally launching a national association for health humanities in Canada which will offer expanding collaborative and new leadership opportunities.

Our new Association will be formally launched at the Creating Space meeting in Halifax in April, 2018 with a ratification of our draft constitution and formal election of officers.

Over the course of the next six months, Creating Space organizers and participants from across the country are invited to provide feedback on the draft constitution and CAHH website (feedback can be submitted via the CAHH Contact Form)

This is a significant development for health humanities scholars, educators and advocates across Canada, as well as the international health humanities community. It is a development which has been realized due to the vision and support of CCME, CAME, and AMS, along with the committed effort of tireless and enthusiastic organizing committees and generous hosts of Creating Space meetings held across Canada to date, and those currently being planned - including the upcoming meeting in Halifax.

We look forward to seeing you in historic Halifax, April 27-28th, 2018!!