During the summer of 2007, the Department of Medical Humanities sponsored two scholarships for this inaugural year of the Summer Fellowship program. Rebecca Keener and Josh McKinnon, recipients of the fellowship, worked together on a project entitled "Religious Views of Illness with the Cabecars of Costa Rica."
They traveled to Costa Rica to study the relationship of health care beliefs and spirituality among a remote indigenous people, gain a broad understanding of the culture itself and of field anthropological work, and to learn how to approach medicine from a larger social context. As a part of the project, Becky and Josh developed a questionnaire regarding a specific, well recognized, and very common medical problem among this group of people, and attempted to interview some of the population.
While investigating this possible connection, they focused on the specific symptom, allowing the people to reveal connections that exist for them between spirituality and illness.