Photo of UW-Eau Claire biology class - Students work on a lab in Nora Mitchell's biology class.

Photo of UW-Eau Claire's Dr. Louisa Rice

Dr. Louisa Rice

The global pandemic has provided insight into how human behavior affects critical health care decisions, says Dr. Louisa Rice, professor and chair of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s history department.

“I think what we’re finding is that the impact of the disease goes far beyond understanding the medical science of it,” Rice says. “It is having uneven consequences that are grounded in histories of structural racism and xenophobia; it’s raising ethical and philosophical questions about the equitable provision of and access to health care; it’s showing how human behavior has profound effects on the progression of an epidemic.”

These issues are best addressed by combining humanities and health research, Rice says, and starting as early as next year, UW-Eau Claire students will have the opportunity to better immerse themselves in the field.

Rice has been awarded a $35,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant to develop an Integrative Health Humanities Certificate Program at UW-Eau Claire. NEH received 121 applications for funding and made 17 awards nationally — a 14% funding rate.