Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine

OU, OUWB study finds medical schools need more arts and humanities

Doctor playing ukulele, Music therapy concept. (Selective Focus)

Medical schools continue adding arts and humanities into curricula, but they need to do even more, according to a new study by four professors at Oakland University and OUWB.

Integration of Arts and Humanities in Medical Education: a Narrative Review” recently was published in the American Association for Cancer Education’s Journal of Cancer Education.

The four authors of the study are all from Oakland University: Rachel Smydra, Ph.D., professor, Department of English; Matthew May, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Sociology; Varna Taranikanti, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor; and Misa Mi, Ph.D., professor, both from OUWB’s Department of Foundational Medical Studies.

The narrative review examined literature from about three dozen medical schools that showed educators are implementing didactic and experiential instructional approaches to embedding the arts, humanities, and social sciences into the medical school classroom.

However, the review recommended “more deliberate attempts to offer consistent, required course or learning experiences that include elements of (arts and humanities) throughout educational programs.” The review also recommends that educators find ways to better measure the effectiveness of arts and humanities in medical schools.

Mi says the review is all about shining light on the important role medical educators play in helping future health care providers get in touch with themselves so that they can eventually form the best possible connection with their patients.

“Just taking care of patients is not enough,” she says.

“You have to really understand emotions, relationships with others and how that can affect feelings, and human culture and how that might affect a patient’s perception of illness.”

“If physicians don’t attend to those feelings and emotions, patients are much more likely to not comply with treatment,” adds Mi.

(Only partial stories are posted here with hopes to provide a brief overview and introduction to my most recent work. The full version of this story may be found on the OUWB website here.)

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