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a research lab in the medical humanities


The Medicine | Race | Democracy Lab is an interdisciplinary initiative that examines health care beyond and between hospitals to address more significant issues in medical racism. Our research clusters use a variety of methods in the medical humanities, including literature review, oral history, and cartography, to offer a variety of research outputs, including film, poetry, essays, maps, and podcasts. Specifically, we engage with neighborhood institutions like community centers, churches, temples, charities, and schools that house clinics and offer services to patients seeking care beyond the Texas Medical Center. We are a product of the Center for Black Brown Queer studies and sponsored by BRIDGE (Building Research on Inequality and Diversity to Grow Equity) at Rice University.



Our podcast labs train students in a variety of audio genres and workflows from scripted research podcasts to scholarly interviews. These podcast workshops were piloted with the meta-stasis podcast which pairs hosts with producers to pitch, research, and write narrative-style episodes that engage broadly with medicine and healing. 

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Leaf Pattern Design
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Our projects are presented in different formats, including written essays, audio essays, digital films, visual exhibitions, and graphic art. The topics that we explore include global mapping sites of Buddhist medicine, developing literature in decolonizing science, personal stories related to immigration, and close interrogations of public health discourse. 


the clinic locator

Where we map community clinics against socio-economic datasets

the buddha’s doctor

Where we survey Buddhist medicine sites around the world

the people’s doctor

Where we consider larger implications of access and activism

the keyword search

Where we deconstruct deterministic discourses within “social determinants of health”

decolonizing ayurveda

Where we dig into scientific literature on Ayurveda and oncology

decolonizing acupuncture

Where we critique clinical methods used in contemporary acupuncture research 

personal reflections

Where we excavate trans-generational relationships with medicine

the memory bank

Where we interview scholars, physicians, and activists


Our methods range across approaches in the medical and digital humanities to examine historical, social, and cultural issues in science and medicine. Each project is designated one or more of the approaches listed below and overseen by one or more external advisors. 

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The MRD inaugural lab picnic


Literature Review

Where we review scholarship in the sciences and humanities.


Where we build reflections around personal and professional encounters.


Where we visualize local organizations and international collaborations.

Oral History

Where we interview practitioners, activists, and allies on their experience in the field.


We are a collaborative research team including undergraduate and graduate students advised by artists, poets, historians, filmmakers, writers, and activists. Our core faculty include members from Rice University, Penn State Abington, Baylor College of Medicine, and St. Luke's Hospital. 

our team



She glides her lily then lets him gild it, 
he gilds his lily then lets her glide it, 
the meadow’s patient, 

it waits, doesn’t burst with flowers
shortly after 
it has burst with flowers. 
The earth depolarizes 

the air that must do with light 
what light does with ear.

You wanted too much, 
she tells him, in and out 
of serotonin’s throes.

I wanted to grow a cortex, he says, 
to better hear you with. 

Fady Joudah

Tethered to Stars, 2021



We are generously funded by Rice University's Chao Center for Asian Studies, Rice University's Provost's TMC Collaborator Fund Seed Grant, Rice University's BRIDGE Systemic Racism and Racial Inequality Grant, and the Center for Black Brown Queer Studies.

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