Ostherr headshot

Kirsten Ostherr

Professor of English, Director of the Medical Humanities program, Rice University, Houston

Kirsten Ostherr, Ph.D., M.P.H., is the Gladys Louise Fox Professor of English, and director of the Medical Humanities program at Rice University in Houston, where she is a media scholar, health researcher, and technology analyst. She is founder of the Medical Humanities program (2016-present) and the Medical Futures Lab (2012-present). She has extensive experience using human-centered design for patient collaboration in health technology development. Her research on trust and privacy in digital health ecosystems has been featured in “Marketplace Tech” on NPR, The Atlantic, STAT, Slate, The Washington Post, Big Data & Society, Catalyst, and the Journal of Medical Humanities. Her writing about the COVID-19 pandemic has been featured in The Washington Post, STAT, Inside Higher Ed, and American Literature. Ostherr is the author of “Medical Visions: Producing the Patient through Film, Television and Imaging Technologies” (Oxford, 2013) and “Cinematic Prophylaxis: Globalization and Contagion in the Discourse of World Health” (Duke, 2005). She is currently writing a book called “Robot Pathographies: Datafication, Surveillance, and Patient Stories in the Age of Virtual Health.” Ostherr also leads a digital health humanities project called “Translational Humanities for Public Health” that identifies humanities-based pandemic responses from around the world to document and help others build upon these creative efforts, and her work was recently profiled in The Lancet.

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