Arts Training for Health Care Workers?

Durham University’s Centre for Medical Humanities explores the connection between medicine, the humanities and the social sciences. It aims to investigate how collaboration between these three diverse fields may enhance our well-being. Their blog disseminates information about current and proposed research, reviews relevant books, articles and conferences, publishes calls for academic papers, provides information about events and exhibitions related to the field and publishes the occasional opinion piece.

Medical Humanities is a relatively new discipline that examines how medical training that includes studies in the humanities and the arts (literature, theatre, film, visual arts, philosophy, particularly medical ethics, and history), and the social sciences (including psychology and sociology) can enhance the interpersonal skills of health care workers.

I have been aware of Durham University’s research for several years, but Glasgow University also has a research centre as do the University of Sydney and the Yale School of Medicine. The Yale website has an interesting reading list and links to other sources. I am sure other universities have similar courses to the ones mentioned above.

In order to illustrate the connection between the arts and medicine, especially the redemptive and healing power of creative enterprise, I have created a link to the Centre for Medical Humanities latest blog: Movie Making as Palliative Care. Those of you who live in the UK might be lucky enough to see the film. For the rest of us, here is a link to the film’s website.

If you are interested in the healing powers of a good novel, you might also enjoy this link.

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What do you think? How might studying art, literature, history or philosophy affect a health care worker’s medical skills? Could it make a medical practitioner more compassionate?