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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter 2020

THE ART OF MEDICINE: A NEW MEDICAL HUMANITIES GATEWAY COURSE

From the book Teaching Artistic Research

  • Patricia Olynyk

Abstract

In recent years, a growing number of research universities have developed medical humanities programs that coalesce the arts, humanities, and medicine. All three have made a perceptible move toward deemphasizing the boundary conditions that define each field, and this has opened up new research pathways, forms of knowledge production and collaborative outcomes. Though ongoing debates over medicine’s status as a science or an art remain, the claim that art plays a vital role in medical education through the medical humanities is credible. This essay presents an overview of medical humanities programs in the United States, and a new Medical Humanities Minor at Washington University. It also explores the “connective tissue” between the medical humanities and critical art practices in a new cross-disciplinary course housed in the minor, called “The Art of Medicine.” This team-taught course enrolls artists, humanists and pre-med students alike, offering a singular encounter with the changing landscape of contemporary art and western medicine from ancient times to the present day. As a gateway course to the Medical Humanities Minor and one of five courses sponsored by the Provost’s Interdisciplinary Teaching Grant Program at Washington University, The Art of Medicine features not only ways in which art serves medical education, but also how art practice as a unique form of critical inquiry advances the social, ethical, and humanistic investigation of medicine.

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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