During the past decade, the view that the ethical issues of medicine and life sciences should be consistently addressed and studied has become commonplace in academic institutions. Thus, bioethics has found its place in university teaching and research. At the same time, the need for contextualised reflection on the evolution of health practices and on the construction of medical knowledge has encouraged the introduction of literature and humanities topics in medical faculties, particularly in Europe and the United States.

The growing recognition of a dialogue between the human sciences, ethics and medicine has led to the promotion of innovative approaches within medical curricula. Based on interdisciplinary exchange, these approaches show that the crossover of disciplines is reciprocal, for teaching as well as research.

Interdisciplinarity, far from being "the icing on the cake", is the very condition for the existence of such approaches. It is acquired through practice and is recreated with each new research teaching or outreach opportunities.

Consequently, the CIBSHM is a privileged place for interdisciplinary dialogue, both in Switzerland and internationally. It presents itself as a laboratory of innovation, which explores on a daily basis the tensions, the richness and the multiple modalities of intellectual confrontations between different academic cultures.

The CIBSHM is structurally linked to the iEH2 of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Geneva. Complementary to those of the CIBSHM, the teaching and research activities of the iEH2 analyse the ethical issues of medicine and the life sciences, promote an interdisciplinary and critical vision specific to the Medical Humanities and aim at a contextualised understanding of contemporary medicine and its histories.