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.
Meet the Team
Chris Cynn, Ph.D.
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, Ph.D.
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, Ph.D.
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.
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.
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, 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
September 25, 2023
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..
October 5, 2023
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.
November 30, 2023
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.
The Office of Health Equity and Humanities Research Center Health Humanities Lab hosted a panel on skepticism around clinical trials. The panelists for this event included Leslie Randall, MD, Director of Gynecologic Oncology at the Massey Cancer Center, and Sharon Rivera-Sanchez, Founder and Chief Executive Director of Trials of Color.
The Office of Health Equity and Humanities Research Center Health Humanities Lab hosted a panel discussing the clinical, political, historical and media contexts related to mental health and mental healthcare disparities. The panelists for this event included Jihad Aziz, Ph.D., University Counseling Services; McKenzie Green, Ph.D., School of Social Work; Rashelle Hayes, Ph.D., VCU Psychiatry; Oswaldo Moreno, Ph.D., VCU Psychology, and Brooke Taylor, GSWS.