Howard Trachtman, MD Department of Pediatrics NYU School of Medicine Throughout history, reading books has often been viewed with deep suspicion by figures in authority. The Dominican priest Girolamo Savonarola collected and publically burned thousands of objects including books on February 7, 1497 in Florence, Italy, an infamous episode that has been recorded as the Bonfire of the Vanities. The books were condemned as temptations to sin. Russian dissidents put their lives on the line to gain access to books [read more]
Richard Selzer and Ten Terrific Tales by Tony Miksanek, MD Family Physician and Author, Raining Stethoscopes If there were a Medical Humanities Hall of Fame, physician-writer Richard Selzer (1928-2016) would be a first-ballot selection. And likely by a unanimous vote. The diminutive doctor had a very large presence in the field. He energized the medical humanities movement in the 1970’s and 1980’s with his lectures, readings, writing workshops, commencement addresses, correspondence, personality, and kindness. But it was his writing – [read more]
Dr P. Ravi Shankar has been facilitating medical humanities sessions for over eight years, first in Nepal and currently in Aruba in the Dutch Caribbean. He has a keen interest in and has written extensively on the subject. He has previously written several pieces for the Literature, Arts, and Medicine blog. I have always enjoyed facilitating medical humanities sessions right from the time I facilitated my first voluntary module for interested students at the Manipal College of Medical Sciences, Pokhara, [read more]
On May 6, 2014, Barron Lerner, MD, PhD, kicked off the Lerner Lectureship series with a talk that explored the evolution of medical ethics through the lens of his father’s and his own practice of medicine. Dr. Lerner’s father, Phillip I. Lerner, MD, was “a revered clinician, teacher and researcher who always put his patients first, but also a physician willing to ‘play God,’ opposing the very revolution in patients’ rights that his son was studying and teaching to his [read more]
As one might expect, much of medical training occurs in the inpatient setting. Teaching hospitals, brimming with an elaborate hierarchy of trainees and supervisors, offer a critical mass of patients and pathology. Typically these patients present with exceptionally complex histories and comorbidities enriching the substrate of the teaching environment. Counter-intuitively, most doctors do not work in inpatient settings. This is especially true for psychiatry wherein the great majority of practitioners work in the outpatient setting, practicing various forms of psychotherapy. [read more]
Laura Ferguson came to the NYU School of Medicine as artist in residence in 2008 and currently has an exhibit of her artwork in the MSB Gallery at NYU – Langone. In a previous blog post, Ms. Ferguson discussed how she uses medical imagery in her work. In speaking with her by phone in the days following the opening of the current exhibit, I asked her to discuss her work with medical students who study anatomical drawing with her during [read more]
Editor’s Note: I met Rachel Hammer, a third year medical student and MFA candidate at the Mayo Clinic, last month at the American Society of Bioethics and Humanism conference in Minneapolis where she presented a poster about a student poetry group. When I mentioned that I worked at Bellevue, she told me about a recent meeting at the medical school where the novel, Tinkers, was discussed in a narrative medicine group. Tinkers, as many of you know, was published by [read more]
The situation in South Asia is in many ways different from the west. . . . Our experiences may be of interest to other MH [Medical Humanities] educators, especially in developing countries.
Commentary by Amy Ellwood, MSW, LCSW; Professor of Family Medicine & Psychiatry, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Las Vegas, Nevada Communicating Through Story Storytelling has been around since the dawn of time. Before the invention of paper, the Gutenberg press, telephone, television, internet, Kindle, texting, tweeting, Skyping, and emailing, people communicated by actually talking to each other face to face. Before language evolved, animal species communicated through grunts, howls, screeches, and gestures. Body language and micro expressions say more [read more]
The AMSA National Book Discussion Webinars offer a unique online experience between physician-authors and medical students to encourage reading beyond the medical school curriculum, both for professional development and for personal enrichment.