Humanizing medicine through art: 1 cardiologist's way of building connection

Shirlene Obuobi, MD, a cardiologist, cartoonist and author, uses art and writing to build empathy and connect between patients and healthcare workers, The Washington Post reported March 31.

Dr. Obuobi, who writes for the Post's Well+Being channel, spoke about how art has affected her career as a physician.

"Maintaining empathy in healthcare and especially as a trainee requires active effort," Dr. Obuobi said in the interview. "By revisiting my experiences in art, I'm able to process my own feelings and put myself in the shoes of not only my patients but my colleagues. I think it keeps me from becoming a complete nightmare."

She said she wants her work to humanize medicine. "There's a lot of dissatisfaction with the American healthcare system that I think is misplaced upon the people who are the faces of it. But physicians and other healthcare workers are people, privy to the same tendencies and biases as everyone else, and they also are subjected to a considerable amount of primary and secondary trauma that has been totally normalized, even though it has clear consequences on our mental health."

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