Council on Medical Student Education in Pediatrics


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COMSEP 2005 North Carolina Meeting

Poster Presentation:

Releasing the Imagination: Encountering the Arts in Medical Education


 Dottye Law Currin, MPH; Marcia Wofford, MD; Michael Lawless, MD Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

 Background: This project is based on the premise that through the arts we are engaged in the world of others, thus developing empathy, understanding and relationship to the human experience. These qualities are necessary to identify personal values and connect with patients at a deeper level.

Many students have expressed frustration, disappointment and feelings of inadequacy when faced with situations involving abuse, neglect, and the unfairness of disease and illness in children. Likewise, students have expressed amazement, inspiration and awe over some of the children and families who have shown great love, courage and acceptance in the midst of adversity. There are no clear answers or explanations for the diverse problems students and their patients/families face. We propose that through encounters with the arts, students will release their imagination, nurture their creativity and perhaps be transformed to have greater vision and capacity to care.

Methods: We have a library of films, books, and tapes that students are invited to review. We have also asked students to take advantage of local opportunities/events in our community (symphony, theatre, festivals, art shows). We assigned students to choose two such encounters (film, books, plays, music) and write a brief critique describing how this experience affected them personally and professionally.

Results: We have posted these reviews on a bulletin board throughout the year and will display the board and share summary of results.