Art is Patient
Art-Based Learning Experience
for Healthcare Learners and Professionals
Art is Patient is a seminar series that I offer through the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto.
Each seminar guides learners through an art gallery where we learn to Approach, Witness and Engage with artworks: a memorable way to learn about approaching, witnessing and engaging with patients, with colleagues, and with ourselves.
The process helps us realize the impact of:
distinguishing form from content,
noticing our responses,
engaging in mark-making, and
sharing our perspectives.
The impact is great. Learners report that the sessions open them up to a new and useful way of looking. They learn ways of paying attention to their outside and inside worlds. They get more curious about these worlds -- and want to look further, approach, witness and engage more.
Through the process we come to understand and develop ourselves as professionals and as people, growing our:
power of observation,
social justice awareness,
appreciation of ambiguity,
articulation of professional values,
awareness of assumptions, biases, expectations, and
appreciation of sensations and feelings as forms of information.
A relational and trauma-sensitive approach anchors the seminars.
The sessions introduce or deepen learners' awareness of the prevalence of trauma as an underlying factor in much ill-health. They offer a way of engaging with patients', colleagues' and learners' own traumatic experience in a humane, respectful, effective way.
Designed for healthcare learners at Women's College Hospital's Trauma Therapy Program, I further developed it through a Fellowship in Art-Museum Based Health Professions Education at the Harvard Macy Institute.
Read about the theory and practice of Art is Patient in the Journal of Medical Humanities.