Medical humanities and arts are terms often cited but not readily understood. Clinical acumen and compassion both depend upon imagination, the ability to read patients, probe silences, and respond creatively. To provide clinically sound, humane, and patient-centered care, physicians must be mindful of social and cultural values, and finely tuned to the range of expectations and narrative factors that may complicate the illness experience. Health care providers need to be sensitive interpreters and communicators, appreciate the values, biases, and fears in the communities they serve as well as in themselves, and understand their roles as healers when many competing pressures can wear down the most caring of practitioners.
If medicine is an art, what does it mean to be a physician-artist, and how are the skills cultivated by artistic work useful, if at all, in the work of doctoring? What motivations and passions drive physicians as they practice different forms of expression—poems or novels, oils or sculpting, film or music or dance? The Creative Medicine Series asks its guests to share their work, describe how their artistic selves have informed their clinical work and vice versa, and help us explore, examine, and better understand this mysterious and fascinating relationship between medicine, healing, and the arts.
The series is convened by Jay Baruch, MD, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and co-sponsored by the Department of Emergency Medicine. Visit the Clinical Arts and Humanities Program website for more information on the applied humanities program at the Alpert Medical School.