Making the case for art observation in medical school

The fringes of the art world and medical world are beginning to mix, according to a report from The New York Times.

The report highlights the work in particular of Bonnie Pitman, former director of the Dallas Museum of Art, who is fighting an incurable lung disease. Of interest, however, is her work in medical schools — teaching an observation course with a physician at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. Her time in the hospital showed her the negative effects technology has had on the physician-patient relationship, and she wanted to change that. So Ms. Pitman designed a course to improve observation skills and empathy among physicians in training, according to the report.

Such courses involve activities where medical students are tasked with finding a piece of art that illustrates a professional or personal value and then share it with their colleagues, according to the report. The exercises are meant to open dialogues and foster communication and connection skills. 

One physician who took a similar course as a student told The New York Times lessons in art observation helped her catch a misdiagnosis in residency because she was able to see beyond the lab results. 

However, such courses still have a host of skeptics. Those critical of art observation programs want research and data to show the return on investment of the courses to justify the spend, according to the report.  

Read the full story here.


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This mother and son are attending the same medical school at the same time

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