Kirsten Ostherr
PhD, MPH, Professor of English, Rice University

About Me

Kirsten Ostherr is a media scholar & design thinker who specializes in health and medical visualizations: historical, present and future. She is a Professor of English at Rice University and, with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, she has recently completed a Master of Public Health degree at the University of Texas School of Public Health. Her work is focused on bringing media theory and health communication into a more powerful and beneficial engagement. Dr. Ostherr is especially interested in using new media technologies to enhance patient-centered care. 

She is also the Director and co-founder of the Medical Futures Lab, a collaborative center dedicated to reimagining medicine at the intersection of humanity and technology. They’re busy inventing digital medical humanities, experimenting with collaborative participatory design projects, and training the next generation of digital doctors there.

Her most recent book, Medical Visions: Producing the Patient Through Film, Television, and Imaging Technologies, was published by Oxford University Press in March 2013. Medical Visions explores how audiovisual media – from x-rays to 16mm film to television and the Internet – have trained both physicians and patients to see and understand health and disease. The book covers the entire 20th century, and peeks into the 21st – it is historical and theoretical, and it is meant to provide a useful framework for current medical professionals, educators, communicators, start-ups, and students to learn from the past to make the future better. Dr. Ostherr hopes you read it, enjoy it, and enter the dialogue. She looks forward to hearing your comments. See update on Medical Visions for the latest news and intriguing linkages with some of the best television ever produced!

At Medicine X 2015

Saturday, September 6 12:35 pm (Plenary Hall)
Fostering digital citizenship in the medical school curriculum - a look at four innovative programs
This is a turbulent time for medicine – technology is rapidly evolving and affecting not only the logistics of healthcare delivery but who has access to medical knowledge; healthcare policy and legislation... Read more
Saturday, September 6 2:40 pm (Plenary Hall)
How emerging technologies get into medical school: Lessons from 100 years of innovation
Since the discovery of the x-ray in the late nineteenth century, the emergence of every new, cutting-edge visualization and communication technology has been greeted with deep ambivalence by medical organizations.... Read more
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