Purpose of review The article reviews the most recent developments in integrating humanities into medical education. Global implications and future trends are illustrated. Recent findings The main concern of medical humanities education is teaching professionalism; one important aspect that has emerged is the goal of nurturing emotion through reflexivity. Relating effectively to all stakeholders and being sensitive to inequitable power dynamics are essential for professional social accountability in modern medical contexts. Mediating doctors' understanding of the clinical encounter through creative arts and narrative is part of most recent pedagogic innovations aimed at motivating learners to become empowered, engaged and caring clinicians. Scenario-based and discursive-oriented evaluations of such activities should be aligned with the medical humanities' problem-based learning curriculum. Medical humanities education fosters professional reflexivity that is important for achieving patient-centered care. Summary Countering insufficient empathy with reflective professionalism is an urgent challenge in medical education; to answer this need, creative arts and narrative understanding have emerged as crucial tools of medical humanities education. To ensure competent professional identity formation in the era of translational medicine, medical humanities programs have adopted scenario-based assessments through inclusion of different voices and emphasizing personal reflection and social critique.
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