Congratulations to Caesar Li and Ashley Myer, third-year College of Medicine students who are also on track to earn Master of Arts degrees in Medical Ethics and Humanities in 2022. Their poster titled “The Moral Treatment Model of Early Modern Psychiatric Care: Insights from Postcards of 19th Century Psychiatric Hospitals” was one of two entries to be honored as Best Poster Presentation in Bioethics and Health Humanities at this year’s National Student Research Forum, held virtually May 14 and 15 by the University of Texas Medical Branch Campus in Galveston, Texas.
Students, interns and residents may present research in the basic sciences, clinical sciences or medical humanities at the annual conference, now in its 62nd year.
How did Myer and Li choose this topic?
Li explains, “We were both fascinated by the history of psychiatry and moral treatment after studying psychiatric ethics in our graduate program. When we discovered that the Cummings Center [the Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology] at the University of Akron had such a large collection of asylum postcards, we realized there was an opportunity for archival work that was very visual and unique.”
Myer analyzed the postcards for written notes while Li looked for patterns in structures and architecture.
“Postcards are wonderful historical artifacts that are reminiscent of communicating through text messages or snapchat photos, and I had a lovely time qualifying the data I found. Altogether, we examined hundreds of postcards and dozens of photos, illustrations and reports,” Myer says, adding, “It was eye-opening to see all that the public was exposed to and what was hidden away.”