Picture of Polina Ilieva
Polina Ilieva
Polina is Associate University Librarian for Collections and UCSF Archivist.

UCSF Digital Health Humanities Program Receives National Endowment for the Humanities Award

UCSF Archives and Special Collections is thrilled to announce that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has generously awarded the UCSF Digital Health Humanities program with a grant to host the Advancing Digital Health Humanities Institute (ADHHI). The NEH is an independent federal agency and one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. The ADHHI proposal was one of 280 humanities projects selected to support vital humanities education, research, preservation, and public programs. The Institute is designed as a two-year initiative that builds upon the innovative UCSF Digital Health Humanities pilot program launched at the UCSF Library in 2022 to encourage research at the intersections of health sciences, data science, and digital humanities. Digital health humanities is an emerging field that leverages digital methods and tools to critically analyze archival health sciences materials in the pursuit of humanistic research.

The Institute’s approach

The ADHHI intends to facilitate new insights into historical health data. Through the Institute’s programming, a select group of researchers will learn and apply methods that provide a humanistic context to understanding institutional, personal, and community responses to health matters. This approach includes examining the social, cultural, political, and economic impacts on individual and public health. Using digital humanistic inquiry and methods as a catalyst, the ADHHI will draw from connections across allied disciplines at UCSF and other institutions with health humanities, medical history, and health sciences programs. These collaborations will inform a series of trainings, workshops, and network-building events. Furthermore, a cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional team of expert instructors and speakers will collaborate on facilitating the institute curriculum. The curriculum will include thematic explorations of:

  • Understanding, exploring, and analyzing archives as data for digital health humanities research
  • Examining boundary objects and boundary work across healthcare, history, and communities
  • Interrogating the historic record to surface and address bias and influence in health issues

Participating in the Institute

With the development of this project, we look forward to recruiting an interdisciplinary participant cohort. Eligible applicants include humanities and humanistic social science researchers, health care providers based in academic research programs, and community organizations investigating cultural and social contexts of illness and health care. We strongly encourage applications from researchers interested in confronting historic legacies of health inequities rooted in institutional racism and marginalization, as well as related impacts of bias, omission, and harm. More information about the program and the application process is forthcoming.

Learn more about the NEH selected projects via the press release. For more questions about the ADHHI, please contact the UCSF Archives and Special Collections.


The UCSF Digital Health Humanities pilot program (2022) was funded by the Academic Senate Chancellor’s Fund via the Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication.

We thank the former UCSF Digital Health Humanities Program Coordinator, Kathryn Stine, for her efforts in preparing and submitting a successful Advancing Digital Health Humanities Institute proposal.

The Advancing Digital Health Humanities Institute will be made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this announcement, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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