Creative Medicine Series

Initiated with gracious support from the Creative Arts Council, as well as the generosity of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Alpert Medical School and the The Cogut Center for the Humanities at Brown, this series engages a diverse audience from BioMed, the College, and the surrounding community.

Please visit the the Cogut Center for the Humanities for more information about the series.

Creative Medicine Series 2012-2013

Alexa Miller, MA, is a recognized expert in aligning medical training with visual art with nearly a decade of experience working with hospitals, medical schools and other health care organizations to develop museum-based workshops and programs. Alexa specializes in connecting clinical learning with arts learning methodologies, including visual thinking strategies, shown to improve critical thinking, language, and aesthetic skills through art.

Creative Medicine Series 2011-2012

Ana Blohm, MD, internist and photographer, is an assistant professor of medicine at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, a physician in Mount Sinai's Visiting Doctors Program, and co-director of the Humanities and Medicine Program in the Division of General Internal Medicine. Dr. Blohm discussed the visual arts and medicine and the ethically complex relationship between photography and medicine.

  • View posterfor Dr. Blohm's September 21 talk, "Blurring the Focus as a Physician Photographer."

Katie Watson, JD, is a bioethicist and lawyer who is assistant professor in the Medical Humanities and Bioethics Program at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine. She is also adjunct faculty at the Second City Theater Training Center where she teaches improv and sketch writing. She created a popular "medical improv" seminar applying the principles that she has taught Northwestern medical students since 2002. This lecture introduced the principles of improv as an art form, explored their relevance to clinical skills, and considered data on medical students' reactions to Prof. Watson's medical improv seminar.

  • View posterfor Katie Watson's November 16 talk, "Serious Play: How Improvisational Theater Can Improve the Practice of Medicine."

Deb Salem Smith is the playwright-in-residence at Trinity Repertory Company. Her new play Love Alone received an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award to support its premiere at Trinity Rep during the 2011-2012 season. Love Alone also was recognized with an Honorable Mention by the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award. Previous honors include an Emerging American Artist Fulbright for playwriting in Dublin, Ireland, where she worked with the Abbey Theatre, Ireland's national theater, and served as a visiting academic at the Trinity College School of Drama. Her work has been recognized by a National Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities, a MacDowell Fellowship, a Colby Fellowship, a Major Hopwood Award, as well as writing and visual arts prizes from the University of Michigan and Princeton University. Her other plays include: Boots on the Ground, Some Things Are Private, Good Business, and Caviar.

  • View photo gallery of Deborah Salem Smith's February 1 talk, "But I'm a Good Doctor: A Playwright Takes on Medical Malpractice."

Creative Medicine Series 2010-2011

Jack Coulehan, MD, MPH, emeritus professor of preventive medicine at Stony Brook University and author of numerous written works of prose and poetry including Medicine Stone, was our first guest artist. Dr Coulehan's most recent works are the fifth edition of The Medical Interview: Mastering Skills for Clinical Practice, a best-selling text on the clinician-patient relationship; and Primary Care, an anthology of poems by physicians co-edited with Angela Belli. During Dr. Coulehan's visit to Brown, he hosted a lunchtime creative workshop with medical students that was highly regarded. He also gave an evening poetry reading to a captive audience, sharing his experiences as a physician over several decades. At dinner following the event, Dr. Coulehan shared with the faculty members who were present his thoughts on creating a medical arts and humanities program as he has had experience with this at his home institution.

  • View poster for Dr. Coulehan's November 30 talk, "Passion, Poetry and Medicine."

David Biro, MD, visited in February. Dr. Biro is an associate professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. He also teaches in the Medical Humanities Division there, directing a course on medicine and literature. Dr Biro transformed his personal misfortune of suffering through a horrific illness into a forum to develop a language for patients and healthcare providers to discuss the nebulous idea of "pain." He has recorded those lessons in his book, The Language of Pain, from which he shared excerpts during his evening lecture. The entire audience was touched by his words, both healthcare providers and laypeople as the two worlds had been brought together by this physician-artist. Before his talk, Dr. Biro led students in a discussion on the benefits and pitfalls of patient narratives in Dr. Baruch's Pragmatic Medical Humanities seminar.

  • View poster for Dr. Biro's February 16 talk "The Language of Pain."

Nellie Hermann, MFA, who works as a writing teacher in the esteemed Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University Medical School, shared her work with us in March. Ms. Hermann works daily with physicians and medical students, helping them to create reflective, humanistic pieces that enhance their care for patients. The writing samples she shared, both her own and anonymously by some of her students, were moving pieces and reinforced how humanistic efforts can better the practice of medicine. Before her talk, Ms. Hermann joined Dr. Baruch's Pragmatic Medical Humanities seminar to discuss the importance of creativity in medicine.

  • View poster for Nellie Hermann's March 23 talk "The Novelist in the Hospital: Creative Writing as X-ray."

Liz Mitchell, MD, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Boston Medical Center, capped-off our series with her wonderful piano performance. Dr. Jacobs writes pieces about patient and personal experiences that touch her and she moved her audience deeply with both the words she sang and the notes she played. Her work reminds us as healthcare providers of the duty we have to care for the whole patient. The evening was a beautiful representation of how creativity, imagination, and music can heal the practice of medicine.

  • View poster for Dr. Mitchell's April 6 talk "Medicine and Music: Liberating the Muse."