Medicine and the Muse
“In this biomedical revolution, we need the humanities now more than ever.” – Lloyd B. Minor, MD, Dean, Stanford University School of Medicine
Writing, poetry and art have been comforts to me throughout my work and personal life. I know their power as meditative processes that relieve physical and mental stress, enhance mental acuity and decision-making, and improve self-image. Artistic pursuits may not cure but they do heal.
When I recently transferred to Stanford Health Care I was delighted to find that there is a serious commitment at Stanford University and Stanford Health Care to incorporate the arts into care for patients and into physician training, going beyond the usual poetry and art classes for cancer victims that are offered by some health care organizations. Stanford is even using dance with Parkinson’s Disease patients.
The winter issue of Stanford Medicine featured articles on the intersection of medicine with the arts and humanities. You can read these articles online. The winter issue was produced in collaboration with Stanford’s Medicine and the Muse program.
- A physician-poet’s essay on the movement to include the arts and humanities in medical education and practice.
- An article by an ophthalmologist explaining how our eyes help us perceive color, including strategies artists use, knowingly or otherwise, to create magical effects.
- A collection of stories about Stanford medical students who use art in a variety of ways to become better doctors.
- A Q&A with Max Aguilera-Hellweg, MD, a world-class photographer who earned a medical degree and then returned to photography to document the body during surgery and in everyday life.
- A story about children in chronic pain who use photography to convey their experiences to their families and doctors.
The entire magazine is available online.