Faculty members at the William Beaumont School of Medicine (OUWB) at Oakland University are reassessing the need to integrate Art and Humanity Studies (HA) into their curricula. Four OU professors collected more than 177 articles and studies, selecting the last 34 to be included in their review.
Posted in June 2021 in the Journal of Cancer Education, Department of English Professor Rachel Smydra, Ph.D; Department of Sociology Associate Professor Mathew May, Ph.D; and Department of Basic Medical Studies Associate Professors Varna Taranikanti, MD, Ph.D and Misa Mi, Ph.D. published “Integrating the Arts and Humanities into Medical Education: A Narrative Review. “The results gathered show that an increase in art studies ranging from music and writing to theater can help students develop in a variety of fields to make them better health professionals.
“The changing landscape of medical practice has intensified the need for a holistic, person-centered approach to care,” the journal’s introduction reads. “Physicians need to be able to reflect on personal and professional relationships to develop and improve their own practices of recognizing and understanding cultural differences between themselves and other clinicians, patients and caregivers. A liberal arts perspective can offer direction to facilitate these desired outcomes.
AH studies can provide that liberal arts perspective that is beneficial in a medical school setting. The AH studies have shown student growth in areas such as “empathy, compassion, sensitivity, insight and best practices for effective communication and professionalism”. The review identified three key areas of HA: Literature and Creative Writing; theater, music and films; and visual arts.
Literature and creative writing exercises given to medical students gave them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with reading patient experiences and to reflect on their own state of mind. Through character analysis and the challenge of writing from different perspectives, students developed closer skills in empathy and compassion for their patients, and a greater understanding for active communication.
Drama, music, and movies can teach students communication and teamwork skills and reduce anxiety. A Nigerian survey by Anyanwu found that students who listened to country or classical music reduced their stress levels when dissecting corpses, while students who listened to upbeat music found themselves in a more anxiety-inducing environment.
Students who took visual arts exams showed a better understanding of anatomy and observational skills that helped further their medical education. Many medical schools around the world have identified the visual arts as essential for students to understand human anatomy.
The exam was created because of an OU Learning Community (LC) forum of approximately 30 faculty members from all areas of the OU. The LC is dedicated to promoting the integration of HA into OUWB curricula and teaching students the importance of humanistic medicine practices.
The review concludes: “Based on our review of the relevant literature, we recommend that medical educators make more deliberate efforts to provide cohesive and mandatory courses or learning experiences that include elements of HA in the classroom. all educational programs. It would be helpful if professors made a concerted effort to utilize the resources of their own programs or courses.