Creative Medicine

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 MedicineVisit the Clinical Arts and Humanities Program website for more information on the applied humanities program at the Alpert Medical School.

Upcoming Events

  • Apr
    8
    5:30pm - 7:00pm

    Mikkael Sekeres, MD • Creative Medicine Lecture (Title TBD)

    Cogut Institute, Pembroke Hall

    Mikkael Sekeres, MD, MS is Professor of Medicine and Director of the Leukemia Program, Department of Hematologic Oncology and Blood Disorders, at the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute. He is the author or co-author of over 230 articles and over 250 abstracts published in leading journals such as Blood, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Nature Genetics, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, PLoS One, Cancer, Haematologica, and Leukemia. He is also the co-author of 6 books; the editor-in-chief of the ASH Clinical News magazine; and is an essayist for The New York Times and Huffington Post.

    More information about this event will be forthcoming.

    This event, presented as part of Creative Medicine and co-sponsored by the Department of Emergency Medicine, is free and open to the public.

    Creative Medicine Series, Humanities

Previous Events

  • Lecture and Book Signing

    There are few aspects of society untouched by digital communication and the Internet. How do we keep the human presence and perspective, as well as the humanity, inside the personal conversations and interactions we have each day? Our ability to listen, empathize, observe, relate and reason in a thoughtful way are our most vital tools as human communicators. Having just written a book about physician communication, Dr. Schraeder will talk about how the electronic era is impacting connections between humans; the exploration, gathering, and retention of information and knowledge; and ultimately our personal and professional communications skills and relationships.

    Teresa Schraeder is a medical internist, award-winning journalist, and clinical associate professor at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Her professional experience in clinical medicine, medical education, journalism, and mass communication provides a unique background and knowledge base to research and write about effective information exchange and human communication in the world today. She is the author of Physician Communication: Connecting with Patients, Peers, and the Public (Oxford University Press, 2019), and has contributed to the Boston Globe, WCVB-TV, ABC News, 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, WBUR-NPR, the Harvard Neiman Reports, Science Editor, Harvard Health Publications, among other media. A graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine, she completed fellowships at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Kaiser Family Foundation and worked as the Graduate Medical Education Editor for the New England Journal of Medicine. She completed her residency in internal medicine at Mt. Auburn Hospital Harvard Residency Training Program.

    This event, presented as part of Creative Medicine and co-sponsored by the Department of Emergency Medicine, is free and open to the public.

    Creative Medicine Series, Humanities
  • Parkinson’s Disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s and is on the rise. With this in mind, finding a cure is important. Sara Houston argues that it is equally important to find ways of living well with the condition while a cure seems elusive. Her argument is supported by the nine years of researching dance as a popular activity for people living with Parkinson’s. In this talk, Houston outlines how dance might help people develop a positive approach to life with Parkinson’s through dance’s aesthetic values. Beauty, grace, and freedom in this specific context may give rise to agency and an approach to living well.

    Sara Houston is Deputy Head of Dance at University of Roehampton, London, U.K. Her research in dance and Parkinson’s won her a BUPA Foundation Prize in 2011 and she was Finalist in the National Public Engagement Awards in 2014 for her work to engage the public with the research. She also holds a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship. Houston is Chair of People Dancing, the U.K.’s professional support organization for community dance.

    This event, presented as part of Creative Medicine  and co-sponsored by the Department of Emergency Medicine, is free and open to the public.

    Creative Medicine Series, Humanities
  • May
    1

    Speaker and artist Kelly Milukas builds a visual bridge between the arts and sciences, by exploring the mysteries of art and science through photography and 3-dimensional artworks. In her original commissioned “Keys for the Cure” work for the Regenerative Medicine Foundation in March 2014, Kelly tells “a Modern Science Story with traditional paint and fine art photo and mixed media sculpture. The works are aimed at advancing the translation, education, and communication on regenerative medicine, stem-cell research, and biotech therapies.  The healing journey and mystery unfolds with keys and locks sprouting to life, taking on human character and form. In this bold story, each piece transports us closer to the promise we have been given to cure.”

    Kelly Milukas   is an award-winning multi-media artist whose practice includes sculpture, pastel and encaustic painting, and fine art photography. Her art work is in national museums and international private and corporate collections, such as The Boston Group, Intarcia Therapeutics, Simpson Healthcare, and Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. She has served as a curator and juror and has presented talks in museums, arts and science forums, and arts organizations. She is a founding member of the South Coast Artists, RI & MA, and the Past President of the Providence Art Club.

    This event is part of the Creative Medicine Series which is co-sponsored by the Department of Emergency Medicine.

    Arts, Performance, Biology, Medicine, Public Health, Creative Medicine Series, History, Cultural Studies, Languages, Humanities, Social Sciences
  • Mar
    6

    Complexity and uncertainty are common features of our everyday lives. However, we tend to do everything we can to minimize their presence and effect. This effort operates at the small, transactional scale (e.g., handrails on stairs) as well as large and systemic (e.g., how we organize and structure knowledge). As such, the achievement of expertise within a discipline can also be misunderstood to be the elimination of uncertainty. But what if, in order to articulate and realize new futures with better outcomes, a practitioner needs to have a productive relationship with complexity and uncertainty? This dynamic characterizes creative practices, especially design, and is part of the reason why design has relevance today in unexpected places. In this talk, Justin W. Cook, Director for the Center for Complexity at RISD, explores what can be gained by introducing what appears to be inefficiency, lack of expertise, and increased sources of risk into clinical decision-making and argues for a greater balance between the evidence-based clinical practice and a practice of uncertainty.

    Justin Cook is a faculty member and Provost Fellow at RISD where he works to advance strategic design and its capacity to be transformative. He works with research teams at MIT and Harvard, and is Senior Lead for Strategy at the Finnish Innovation Fund, Sitra, advising project teams on impact investing, internationalization, and urban development.

    This event is part of the Creative Medicine Series which is co-sponsored by the Department of Emergency Medicine.

    Biology, Medicine, Public Health, Creative Medicine Series, Humanities, Social Sciences
  • In 1825, Ludwig van Beethoven, recovering from illness, composed music for two violins, viola, and cello that he titled “Holy song of thanks to the Deity from a convalescent, in the Lydian mode” (Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart). The piece became the third movement of his String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132. In this talk with musical excerpts, speaker Brian Alverson offers an account of the circumstances in which Beethoven found himself and a reading of the movement as a reflection on end-of-life experience. Members of the Newport String Project featuring EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks and Ealain McMullin violins, Jesse Holstein, viola, and Heath Marlow, cello, will give a performance of the movement.

    Brian Alverson, MD is Director of Pediatric Hospital Medicine at Hasbro Children’s Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

    Based in Newport, RI, the Newport String Project combines music performance with youth mentoring to build a community that crosses boundaries of generation, heritage, and economic circumstances through access to inspiring musical experiences for all. More information at http://www.newportstringproject.org/

    This event is part of the Creative Medicine Lecture Series which is co-sponsored by the Department of Emergency Medicine.

    Arts, Performance, Biology, Medicine, Public Health, Creative Medicine Series, History, Cultural Studies, Languages, Humanities
  • Oct
    24

    In 1872, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Science does not know its debt to imagination,” words that still ring true in the worlds of health and healthcare today. The checklists and clinical algorithms of modern medicine leave little space for imagination, and yet we depend on creativity for the advancement of medicine—to diagnose unusual conditions, to innovate treatment, and to make groundbreaking discoveries. We know a great deal about the empirical aspects of medicine, but we know far less about what the medical imagination is, what it does, how it works, or how we might train it. It was not always so.

    Speaker Sari Altschuler discusses her new book on the history of the medical imagination. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the United States, doctors understood the imagination to be directly connected to health, intimately involved in healing, and central to medical discovery. Literature in particular provided physicians and other health writers important forms for crafting, testing, and implementing theories of health. Reading and writing poetry trained judgment, cultivated inventiveness, sharpened observation, and supplied evidence for medical research, while novels and short stories offered new perspectives and sites for experimenting with original medical theories. Health research and practice relied on a broader complex of knowing, in which imagination often worked with and alongside observation, experience, and empirical research. In reframing the historical relationship between literature and health, The Medical Imagination provides a usable past for contemporary conversations about the roles of the imagination and the humanities in health research and practice today.

    Sari Altschuler is an assistant professor of English, associate director of the Humanities Center at Northeastern University, and founding director of minor in Health, Humanities, and Society. Her work has appeared in leading journals including American LiteratureAmerican Literary History, PMLA, and the Lancet, and her book The Medical Imagination: Literature and Health in the Early United States was published this year by the University of Pennsylvania Press. Before arriving at Northeastern, she was an assistant professor of English, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Humanistic Inquiry, and core faculty member at the Center for the Study of Human Health at Emory University.

    This event is part of the Creative Medicine Lecture Series which is co-sponsored by the Department of Emergency Medicine.

    Arts, Performance, Biology, Medicine, Public Health, Creative Medicine Series, History, Cultural Studies, Languages, Humanities, Social Sciences
  • In this session, Dr. Christine Montross, psychiatrist and author, uses clinical anecdotes from her literary nonfiction works to launch broader discussions about employing narrative to examine the challenges implicit in caring for the very ill.
    A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow in Nonfiction, Dr. Montross is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University. She is also a practicing inpatient psychiatrist. Prior to attending medical school she received a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from the University of Michigan. Her first book, Body of Work (Penguin Press, 2007), was named an Editors’ Choice by The New York Times and one of The Washington Post’s best nonfiction books of 2007. Her second book, Falling Into the Fire (Penguin Press, 2013), was named a New Yorker Book to Watch Out For. She is now at work on a book about mental illness and the criminal justice system.

    Creative Medicine Series
  • Nov
    29
    5:30pm - 7:00pm

    Panel discussion • “Empowering Health, Creatively”

    Pembroke Hall, Room 305

    Medicine is said to be an art. But can art be medicine, a health intervention? The short answer is ‘absolutely.’ There is a body of medical literature demonstrating the impact of the arts on individuals and communities. In Rhode Island, a statewide Arts and Health Advisory Group was convened to make evidence-based policy recommendations. This group includes artists, researchers, physicians and policy experts. In this panel, we discuss the story of this fascinating group, including the challenges and discoveries. How artists learned basic research methods and researchers began to look at their work differently. This group represents an innovative approach to understanding and improving the health of our communities in Rhode Island, with artists as essential members of the healthcare team.

    Speakers include Rachel Balaban, Artists and Scientists as Partners (ASaP); Steven Boudreau, State of Rhode Island Department of Health; Sherilyn Brown, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA); and Stacey Springs, Brown University School of Public Health.

    Creative Medicine Series
  • Oct
    4
    5:30pm - 7:00pm

    Valerie Tutson • “Storytelling Medicine”

    Pembroke Hall

    Professional storyteller, Valerie Tutson ’87, MA ’90, offers an exploration of the power of storytelling, story listening, and the imagination to enchant and empower on the journey to healing. Valerie Tutson is a founding member and Executive Director of the Rhode Island Black Storytellers, and Festival Director of FUNDA FEST: An Annual Celebration of Black Storytelling.

    Creative Medicine Series
  • “December/January” is a collaborative photographic narrative by Josephine Sittenfeld and Thad Russell, husband-and-wife photographers and faculty members at the Rhode Island School of Design. The body of work is about the simultaneous gestation/birth of their second child and the decline and death of Thad’s father.
    This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Emergency Medicine.

    Creative Medicine Series
  • Speaker MK Czerwiec, RN, is Artist in Residence at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, and adjunct professor of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago, as well as a co-founder of the new field of Graphic Medicine. She discusses how comics might help health practitioners become better caregivers.
    Could comics have a role in one’s clinical practice? Should caregivers and providers be making comics about their experiences in health care? She explores these topics and more as she examines the vast and rich intersection of comics and health.

    Co-sponsored by the Cogut Institute for the Humanities and the Department of Emergency Medicine.

    Creative Medicine Series
  • Oct
    19
    5:30pm - 7:00pm

    Randi Hutter Epstein, MD • “Hormone Heroes & Hucksters”

    Pembroke Hall, Room 305

    The history of endocrinology is replete with daring medical sleuths, eccentric scientists, desperate patients and unfortunately swindlers. There’s the obsessive neurosurgeon who studied so-called circus freaks in the early 1900s collecting hundreds of brains after they died. His theory, based on evidence and hunches, revealed remarkable insights into the hormone-spewing pituitary gland. There’s the determined female physicist who, in the 1950s, figured out a way to measure hormones down to the billionth of a gram–enabling hormone therapy to be evaluated with more precision than ever before. There are the doctors who tinkered with hormones to create the birth control pill and to devise treatments for menopause. Speaker Randi Hutter Epstein, MD, MPH separates the hype from the hope and elucidates how discoveries and mishaps in the past shape our perceptions, our hopes, and our fears about hormones and hormone therapies today.


    Dr. Epstein is a medical writer, lecturer at Yale University and adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is the author of Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank.

    Creative Medicine Series
  • Poet Steve Langan formed Seven Doctors Project, composed of seven mid-career physicians who claimed job dissatisfaction or burnout and seven local writers, in 2008 at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Langan shares outcomes from the debut session and a description of the ongoing creative writing workshop, including publications by several participants.

    Creative Medicine Series
  • Speaker Brian J. Zink, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Brown’s Alpert Medical School, offers an introduction and description of his career path, followed by readings from poems and reflections on the career moments and situations that led to his creative output. He will describe how, despite not publishing much of his work, he considers poems, journaling, essays, and his book on the history of emergency medicine to be as integral a part of his career as clinical practice, research, education and leadership.

    Creative Medicine Series
  • Speaker Peter Snyder explores the various points of intersection, creative opportunities and also potential pitfalls with respect to the age-old relationship between medical researchers and visual artists. Dr. Snyder is a specialist in the neurobiology and early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, and he serves as Chief Research Officer for the Lifespan Health System. He is also a practicing artist, with his most recent exhibit at Brown University’s Granoff Center for the Creative Arts (July 17 - September 16, 2015).

    Creative Medicine Series
  • After two years of offering and writing from Climate Anxiety Counseling at various sites in Rhode Island, speaker Kate Schapira, Lecturer in the Brown Department of English, is ready to talk about intimacy’s potencies and limits, and art as a pathway for care and transformation. Climate Anxiety Counseling–a structured, low-gatekeeping public space for strangers and acquaintances to share their anxieties, climate-related and otherwise–offers artists and health care practitioners ways to consider structures of and openings for care, why we do it, and what to do when there is no good answer.


    Kate Schapira is the author of four books of poetry, most recently The Soft Place (Horse Less Press, 2012), and eleven chapbooks. She lives in Providence, where she teaches nonfiction writing for Brown University and poetry for Frequency Writers, and co-runs the Publicly Complex Reading Series.


    You can learn more about Climate Anxiety Counseling at https://climateanxietycounseling.wordpress.com

    Creative Medicine Series
  • In the logic-twisting reality of contemporary healthcare, both patients and healers risk feeling abandoned by reason and compassion. How do we make sense of complicated and surreal experiences that seem to challenge the reach of conventional narratives, and what freedoms does fiction provide in gaining understanding and insight? What is the responsibility of the physician/writer as storyteller? Speaker Jay Baruch, MD discusses his latest collection of short fiction, “What’s Left Out” (Kent State University Press, 2015), and reads from selected stories.


    Jay Baruch is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University, where he serves as the director of the Program in Clinical Arts and Humanities and Director of the Medical Humanities and Bioethics Scholarly Concentration. His first collection of short fiction, “Fourteen Stories: Doctors, Patients and Other Strangers” (Kent State University Press, 2007) won Honorable Mention in the short story category in ForeWord Magazine’s 2007 Book of the Year Awards. His short fiction and essays have appeared in numerous print and online medical and literary journals.

    Creative Medicine Series
  • There is a widely-held public perception that the fields of medicine and music could not be farther apart. And yet history is full of vignettes about medical musicians and musical physicians. Is this coincidence? historical artifact? Or is there more? Lisa Wong, MD, pediatrician, musician and author of “Scales to Scalpels: Doctors who practice the Healing Arts of Music and Medicine” introduces the audience to some prominent musician physicians in history, and discusses how music can heal musicians, physicians and the community as a whole.

    For more information about Dr. Wong please visit: http://www.drlisamwong.com/

    Creative Medicine Series
  • This panel focuses on the collaboration between the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum and Brown Medical School that facilitates extended experience observing and discussing works of art. This work focuses on metacognition–the habits of mind, personal biases and individual bodies of knowledge individuals each bring to making interpretations and decisions–and communication. This collaboration seeks to support the development of physicians and future physicians by enriching critical thinking, cultivating creativity and nurturing the capacity to envision innovative healthcare solutions.
    Speakers include S. Hollis Mickey, Assistant Educator, Gallery Interpretation, RISD Museum; Jay Baruch, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University; and Bonnie Marr, MD PGY-4, Emergency Medicine Residency, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University.

    Creative Medicine Series
  • Speaker Kali Quinn, theatre artist and compassionate creativity facilitator, creates a multi-media experience to explore empathy in the perceptions of and practice around intergenerational care. Her talk, performance and multi-media presentation follows three generations of women from an infant home in the 1950s to a present day nursing home including all the grief and gifts that come from family secrets and aging.
    This Creative Medicine event will give attendees the opportunity to connect to personal creativity and think about compassionate and innovative ways to increase understanding in the medical profession and in daily life.

    Creative Medicine Series
  • Apr
    23
    5:30pm - 7:00pm

    Jon A. Mukand, MD • “Renovating the Brain”

    Pembroke Hall, Room 305

    Speaker Jon A. Mukand, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics at Warren Alpert Medical School, reads a chapter (about an Iraq veteran with a brain injury) from his book-in-progress titled “Renovating the Brain.” Author of “The Man with the Bionic Brain and Other Victories Over Paralysis”, he has an MD from the Medical College of Wisconsin, an MA in Creative Writing from Stanford, and a PhD in English literature from Brown. He edited “Articulations and Vital Lines”, anthologies of poetry and short fiction about medicine, and “Rehabilitation for Patients with HIV Disease.” Dr. Mukand is also a faculty member at Tufts as well as medical director of the Southern New England Rehabilitation Center.

    Creative Medicine Series
  • Doctors and lawyers both engage in a process of discovery, diagnosis and retelling of the patient or client’s story in order to interpret the “truth” and promote health and justice. In medicine and in law, the professional interpretive process results in fitting the patient’s or the client’s story into a universalized narrative – the diagnosis or the legal claim. But often the patient or client’s own narrative of health or of justice is lost through this narrow technical translation. How can a literary approach to medical and legal narratives help to maintain the dignity of the patient or client’s voice as well as illuminate where health and justice may meet in the telling?
    Speaker, Liz Tobin Tyler, JD is a Clinical Assistant Professor of both Family Medicine, and Health Services, Policy and Practice. She is also the co-director of the Scholarly concentration in Advocacy at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

    Creative Medicine Series
  • The non-fiction “illness narrative,” or patient pathography, is a genre subject to some clear conventions: the author-narrator is usually a patient who is, at some point in the narrative, diagnosed with and then treated for a disease, and who narrates a story about the experience of being ill, being treated, and negotiating what follows, be it cure, management, or the approach of death. Such stories tend, then, to be shaped by medical as well as narrative expectations: readers assume the patient is really sick, and the disease course follows one of three likely medical plots: acute, chronic, or progressive. But what happens when the narrator is a hypochondriac? This talk explores the way hypochondria, as pathography without disease told by narrators without credibility, unsettles the usual assumptions about how both patients and doctors employ and narrate illness and disease.
    Speaker Catherine Belling researches contemporary fears of disease and of health care, connections between anxiety and interpretation in fiction, medicine, and bioethics, and disciplinary questions surrounding the medical humanities as an academic field. She is the author of A Condition of Doubt; On the Meanings of Hypochondria (Oxford University Press, 2012).

    Creative Medicine Series
  • Modern day medicine faces unprecedented turmoil: increasing healthcare costs, limited resources, and the implementation of new regulatory procedures. Members of the healthcare community struggle to find ways to interpret this constant change within the world of medicine. Outside the world of medicine however, there are so many individuals that can provide a unique perspective of how chaos can blossom into revolutionary change. This presentation-performance by Steven Rougas, MD,  interprets the evolving changes in healthcare through the lens of one composer, Frederic Chopin, and his journey with sadness, mourning, success, and death. A true revolutionary of his time, Chopin’s life works weave a story of adaptation, evolution, and discovery—all critical steps in the path towards a better understanding of modern day medicine.

    Steven Rougas, MD is an Emergency Medicine physician at Rhode Island Hospital and The Miriam Hospital. As an undergraduate he double-majored in Biochemistry and Music Performance with a focus on classical piano. He went on to complete medical school and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

    Creative Medicine Series
  • Many artists have devoted their careers to representing personal illness, pain, transformation and healing. The work of these artists can lead to an enriched understanding of what people need from others in order to heal. It raises questions about the differences between viewing and seeing, being viewed and being seen, listening and hearing, and being listened to and being heard. In medicine, clinicians strive to heal others, relieve their suffering and enable fuller lives. Studying artwork can lead to insight and a richer experience of life. For clinicians, it can be a powerful way to connect with both our patients and ourselves.

    Speaker Jane Hesser is an artist, with an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a clinical social worker at Woman and Infants Hospital in Providence, RI. Her work has been exhibited in a number of solo and group shows in Boston, New York and her hometown of Buffalo, NY.

    Creative Medicine Series
  • Speakers Julie Adams Strandberg, Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, and Rachel Balaban, Mark Morriss Dance Group Regional Coordinator for Dance for PD, are co-founders of Artists and Scientists as Partners (ASaP), a research and advocacy group dedicated to understanding and implementing the arts within a holistic healing approach for people with Parkinson’s Disease and Autism Spectrum Disorders. In this presentation, the speakers specifically look at dance and its applications to those diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. The presentation is based on clinical, anecdotal, and experiential evidence. Balaban and Strandberg will discuss the impact dance can have on patients in terms of disease, well-being, and creative and artistic growth. The goal of this presentation is to expose students and faculty to complementary practices that can benefit patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as PD, and emphasize the importance of arts within the medical field.

    Creative Medicine Series
  • Sep
    19

    Statistics across the patient safety literature show it: uncertainty is safer than false certainty. Why is this so hard to teach novice physicians? Alexa Miller, co-creator of the “Training the Eye” Program at Harvard Medical School, speaks on aligning medical training with visual art. It is broadly understood in medicine and in science that observation and successful navigation of ambiguity are essential components of expertise. Yet schooling at all levels lacks a consistent model for teaching students how to look and to experience uncertainty. Increasingly, medical schools express a need for teaching medical students these skills, and look to community partners in the arts for help. This talk will introduce the idea of aesthetic attention, a set of cognitive skills effectively learned in art. Miller reviews signifiers in the medical literature describing needs for aesthetic attention, and share research findings from Harvard Medical School’s “Training the Eye,” as well as other studies on arts impact in K-12 and medical education.

    Creative Medicine Series
  • Speaker Nellie Hermann’00 attended Brown University, earning her BA in May of 2000. She received her MFA from Columbia University. Her first novel was The Cure for Grief (Scribner, 2008). She currently works as a writing teacher in the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University Medical School.
    Ms. Hermann talks about her own trajectory as a writer and teacher of writing in the medical world. She reads excerpts from her own book as well as examples of her students’ work. The focus of her talk is to demonstrate how creative writing can be used as a tool for learning and accessing the self, and how this tool can work in the medical context.



    Creative Medicine Series
  • Nov
    30
    5:30pm - 6:30pm

    Jack Coulehan, MD • “Passion, Poetry and Medicine”

    Pembroke Hall, Room 305

    Speaker Jack Coulehan, MD is Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine and Senior Fellow of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University. Until his retirement in 2008, he practiced general internal medicine, directed the ethics and humanities program at Stony Brook School of Medicine, and chaired the ethics case consultation service at University Hospital. Dr. Coulehan’s poems and stories have appeared in literary magazines and medical journals in the United States, Canada, and Australia; and his work is widely anthologized. His collections of poetry include ‘The Knitted Glove’ (1991), ‘First Photographs of Heaven’ (1994), ‘The Heavenly Ladder’ (2001), and ‘Medicine Stone’ (2002).

    This lecture is the first in the Creative Medicine Series, co-sponsored by the Creative Arts Council, the Department of Emergency Medicine, and the Cogut Institute for the Humanities.

    Creative Medicine Series