Project Rex Hangout director Melanie Wiley, a student in the MD/PhD program at MUSC, recently won the Health Humanities Award on MUSC’s Research Day for her oral presentation: “The Project Rex Virtual Hangout.” Virtual Hangout was Project Rex’s response to the need to continue providing vital opportunities for safe and structured socialization for persons with autism during the loss of in-person programming related the the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual Hangout served 26 participants during the course of its 12 week summer run, with an average of 8 participants per week. Parent and staff feedback was extremely positive and the program was well received by both youth and their parents. Virtual Hangout has now not only resumed but expanded to two groups (one for teens and one for pre-teens) that are presently running at least into the new year. (Check the Project Rex calendar for full details.)

About the Health Humanities Award:

The Office of Humanities was created in 2016 as a special initiative of the MUSC Provost. Our mission is to promote teaching, scholarship, and research in the health humanities, a discipline broadly defined to include the arts, humanities and social sciences. Areas of study are numerous and include literature, history, anthropology, communication, visual and performing arts, law, etc. These areas allow better understanding of the personal, cultural, political, and social forces that shape health and health care.

The Health Humanities Student Research Day Award was created In 2017 to raise awareness of this discipline and reward those who applied the health humanities within patient care or research. In short, the Health Humanities Award honors those who apply the arts, humanities, or social sciences to improve patient care or better understand issues related to health and health care.

Congratulations, Melanie!