Does studying art enhance your observation skills as a physician, thereby allowing you to pick up subtle signs of illness? In recent years, there has been a general acknowledgment that studying art–and fine-tuning the art of seeing–helps medical students hone their skills. More medical schools are incorporating gallery visits and art classes into their curricula in an effort to sharpen students’ observational acuity. Arts Practica was founded by Alexa Miller to help medical professionals gain more skill in what they see. Arts Practica offers training programs, gallery visits, and classes which encourage med students to “learn to see.”
More medical schools are adding an arts component to their curriculum, and some examples are below:
- Northwestern and the University of Chicago describe the benefits of incorporating humanities courses into medical education in an article from the Chicago Tribune.
- Yale Medical School incorporates visits to the British Museum of Art to help hone students’ observational skills.
- An article declares that the “Arts are Alive and Thriving in Medical Education.”
- A study shows that medical students believe that the arts contribute meaningfully to their education.
- Columbia includes visits to art museums in its medical school curriculum.
As a medical school applicant, find out whether the med schools you’re considering include some arts component in the curriculum. Having the opportunity to participate in such classes may help you reflect and see, perhaps providing better care for your future patients. At the very least, it will allow you to decompress from the stress of medical school, visit art galleries, learn about the creative process, and expand your horizons. Enjoy!
–Liza Thompson, Expert Medical School Admissions Consulting