October 27, 2021

Honing the craft: How medical schools weave arts and humanities into education

A new AAMC report says most medical schools offer arts and humanities, but it urges more integration into curricula and better evaluation of how those experiences make better doctors.

When Paul Haidet, MD, MPH, talks with doctors and medical students about conversational strategies they can adopt to better understand their patients, “the pushback that always comes out of the audience is, ‘We get this patient-centered stuff, but you have to understand: We have no time.’”

For Haidet, the key is less about time and more about listening keenly and improvising responses that build on what patients say, like one jazz player riffing off the play of another. That’s why he, a disc jockey who grew up to become a professor at the Penn State College of Medicine (PSCM), created Jazz and the Art of Medicine — a course that uses jazz to teach students improvisational communication skills.

The class illustrates one of the many ways that colleges and universities integrate arts and humanities into medical education. Other such initiatives include inviting students to learn by dancing with Parkinson’s disease patients, studying documentaries about underserved populations, writing the life stories of military veterans, and acting out scripts about medical ethics in front of community audiences.

Read the full story here: https://www.aamc.org/news-insights/honing-craft-how-medical-schools-weave-arts-and-humanities-education