Professor of English
Kirsten Ostherr teaches film and media studies, focusing on ephemeral film and historical and contemporary visualizations of health and disease in photography, film, television, animation, advertising, and medical imaging. In Fall 2011, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Medical Humanities, at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX. With the support of an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship,she is currently pursuing a Master of Public Health degree at UT-Houston, and is also a Fellow in The John P. McGovern, M.D. Center for Humanities and Ethics, at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX.
Dr. Ostherr is author of Cinematic Prophylaxis: Globalization and Contagion in the Discourse of World Health (Duke, 2005), and Medical Visions: Producing the Patient Through Film, Television, and Imaging Technologies (Oxford, 2012). She has recently published articles on medical animation in the 1920s, health education films of the postwar period, narrative medicine and biocultures, ethical issues in the film Philadelphia, and corporate publicity films. She has also published on art film, documentary, and science fiction film. Dr. Ostherr lectures widely and has recently given invited talks in Geneva, Chicago, San Diego, Galveston, Houston, Philadelphia, and New York. Her work has been supported by a variety of grants and fellowships.
Dr. Ostherr's current work focuses on networked patients and hospitals, social media and health movements, and the age of bioinformatics. She is a PI on the Medical Futures Initiative, a collaborative institute for training the medical media innovators of the future through creative, hands-on critical thinking and design. A cornerstone of Medical Futures is "Project TMC," a pilot program that joins Rice undergraduates with Texas Medical Center physician-researchers to develop videos and other communications media that translate their work for patients and the wider health community.