BIOL 6527: The Physician as Medical Illustrator

Student Leaders: 
Jimmy Xia, MD20; Alice Cao, MD20
Faculty Adviser: 
Francois I. Luks, MD

Many physicians draw. We are not all artists, but we often use pictures instead of thousands of words – whether to explain medical concepts to students or procedures to patients. Cultural, language and educational barriers may hinder verbal communication, and the use of simplified diagrams can enhance patients’ understanding of their medical condition. Of course, not all sketches are created equal; but just like medical students can be taught how to communicate better with patients and colleagues, so too can the rudiments of sketching be an acquired, rather than an innate talent.   Rather than teaching detailed artistic illustration to a few “talented” individuals, we are interested in inculcating basic graphic rules to a large group of medical students. This preclinical elective is formalization of a one-day workshop given to first-year medical students over the last three years, as part of an arts-and-humanities-based curriculum (see appendix).