Health Humanities Lab

The HRC Health Humanities Lab fosters interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research collaborations that center on better understanding and critiquing the systematic and structural inequities that produce health and healthcare disparities, and on imagining and enacting alternatives. The goal of the Health Humanities Lab is to bring together fresh perspectives from the humanities, arts, and social sciences, as well as from the Richmond community and beyond, to advance individual and communal well being. 

All students, faculty, staff, and community members are welcome to join. If you are interested in joining the HHL, please contact Chris Cynn. 

Thank you to the Office of Health Equity, the Honors College, and the East Marshall Street Well Project for their support and collaboration with the HRC Health Humanities Lab.

Health Humanities Lab

Meet the Team

Chris Cynn

Chris Cynn, Ph.D.

Lab Director

Chris Cynn is an associate professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. Her interdisciplinary research draws from gender, queer of color, and cultural studies to explore literary and visual productions related to illness, health, memory, and archives. She has worked as a full-time community organizer and as a video producer, and is the author of Prevention: Gender, Sexuality, HIV, and the Media in Côte d’Ivoire, the co-producer of a documentary on a human rights trial in Haiti, and the co-producer and director of a number of short videos.

 

Maggie Goddard

Maggie Goddard, Ph.D.

Associate Director

Maggie Unverzagt Goddard is the Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow for the East Marshall Street Well Project. Her interdisciplinary research on the politics of aesthetics and memory work engages visual culture studies, public humanities, and critical theories of the body. With a background in public engagement and curation, her writing has been published in the Journal of Popular Culture, Women and Performance, Fwd: Museums, and the edited collection Fallen Monuments and Contested Memorials. She holds a PhD in American Studies and an MA in Public Humanities from Brown University.

 

 

Daniel Sunshine

Daniel Sunshine, Ph.D.

Associate Director

Daniel Sunshine is the Postdoctoral Fellow in History for the East Marshall Street Well Project. His research considers the evolution of American democracy in the 19th century, as well as the experiences of enslaved people under the law. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post and the Journal of the Greenbrier Historical Society. He is an award-winning teacher, and a public historian who has worked with the National Park Service and Encyclopedia Virginia. He holds a PhD and an MA in History from the University of Virginia.

 

 

Rome Kamarouthu

Rome Kamarouthu

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Rome Kamarouthu is a sophomore at VCU majoring in financial technology and minoring in psychology. Their research at the Health Humanities Lab has included the history of recognizing and treating mental illnesses, stigmatization and criminalization of mental health, and public policy.

 

 

Graduate and Undergraduate Student Fellows

The Humanities Research Center's Health Humanities Lab offers a number of fellowships to graduate and undergraduate students in the Arts or College of Humanities and Sciences with an interest in the humanist study of healthcare and health disparities. The undergraduate and graduate student fellows develop their own research projects and work closely with the lab director.

Meet the 2022-23 fellows

Faculty and Community Fellows

The Health Humanities Lab Faculty and Community Fellows will create research modules on Black maternal health in collaboration with the VCU Office of Health Equity as part of the History and Health program.

Kenda Sutton-El
Kenda Sutton-El
Sequoi Hawkins
Sequoi Hawkins
Nancy Jallo
Nancy Jallo, Ph.D.
Susan Bodnar Deren
Susan Bodnar Deren, Ph.D.
Terri Erwin
Terry Erwin
Nancy Jallo
Nancy Jallo, Ph.D.
Mary Boyes
Mary Boyes
Faye Prichard
Faye Prichard
  • Kenda Sutton-El, Founder/Executive Director, Birth-in-Color RVA
  • Sequoi Hawkins, Community-based Doula 
  • Nancy Jallo, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Family and Community Health Nursing
  • Susan Bodnar-Deren, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair, Sociology
  • Terri Erwin, Organizer for New Leadership Development, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy
  • Ayesha Taylor, Director of Communications, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy
  • Mary Boyes, Associate Professor, VCU Honors
  • Faye Prichard, Former Chair, Virginia State Board of Health, and Director of Writing, VCU Honors College

Programming

Mentor/Mentee Program

Upcoming Events

African American women viewing the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at UVA
The Lives Between the Lines (2022)

September 25, 2023

The Lives Between the Lines: Film Screening and Discussion

6:00 p.m.

Join us for a screening and discussion of the documentary The Lives Between the Lines, which tells the story behind the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia..
Karma Chávez
Karma Chávez

October 5, 2023

The Borders of AIDS and the Uses of Disease

4:00 p.m.

The speaker for this event is Karma Chávez, Ph.D., Bobby and Sherri Patton Professor of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies and Department Chair at UT Austin.
Rishi Goyal
Rishi Goyal

November 30, 2023

Medicine, Literature and a Desire Called Utopia

4:00 p.m.

The speaker for this event is Rishi Goyal, MD PhD, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Columbia University Medical Center (in Medical Humanities and Ethics and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society) and Director of Medical Humanities at Columbia University.

Past Events