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, the East Marshall Street Well Project, and the School of the Arts for their support and collaboration with the HRC Health Humanities Lab.

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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.


Michael Dickinson

Michael Dickinson, Ph.D.

Co-director, East Marshall Street Oral History Project

Dr. Michael Lawrence Dickinson is an associate professor of African American history at Virginia Commonwealth University. He was a 2019-2020 Barra Sabbatical Fellow at University of Pennsylvania’s McNeil Center for Early American Studies. His research interests include enslaved black life, comparative slavery, Black Atlantic studies, and urban history. Dr. Dickinson’s book Almost Dead: Slavery and Social Rebirth in the Black Urban Atlantic was recently published by the University of Georgia Press as part of its Race and the Atlantic World Series.



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.

Current Projects


National Endowment for the Humanities awards two grants to VCU projects

One will establish a health humanities minor, while the other supports a professor’s book project on visual images of African Americans in leisure contexts from slavery through the Jim Crow era.

A crowd of students walk past a sign that reads VCU in large 3D letters

VCU students, faculty document oral history of the East Marshall Street Well Project

The Health Humanities Lab, a research lab at VCU’s Humanities Research Center, is conducting the project in collaboration with the Family Representative Council.

Ana Edwards and Joe Jones sitting together in podcast studio

‘Racism is destructive to Black bodies’: Lecturer discusses medical inequality

Dr. Anna LaQuawn Hinton presented “Breathing Life into Black Wombs: Ableism, Misogynoir, and the Reproductive Injustice within the Medical Industrial Complex,” a lecture discussing racism and medical inequality, on Feb. 8 at the VCU Humanities Research Center. Photo by Rani Sisavath.

Anna Hinton lecturing at VCU

Upcoming Events

The Afterlives of Medical Exploitation: The East Marshall Street Well Project Symposium
The Afterlives of Medical Exploitation

April 27, 2024

The Afterlives of Medical Exploitation: The East Marshall Street Well Project Symposium

10:00 a.m. (in person)

The Health Humanities Lab at the Humanities Research Center will host a mini-symposium on research related to the East Marshall Street Well Project.The program will include panel presentations, lunch, and a poster session.

Past Events