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Arts and health

August 24, 2011

Besides the whole Google settlement thing, it’s been a slow news day. I’ve spent most of my time finishing an Artscape segment about public artist Brower Hatcher. You’ll be able to listen to that feature tomorrow.

As you know, I usually write about health care, but I often see an overlap between the medical world and the art world. Here’s one example-

Earlier this year, I met with Dr. Jay Baruch, a physician with the University Emergency Medicine Foundation and the co-director of Brown University’s concentration in medical humanities and ethics. Baruch tells me his ideal job would be to advise “black sheep medical students,” but because that job hasn’t come along yet, he’s doing an interesting job of balancing a background in English and medicine.

He’s working to expose medical students to the arts and humanities not because he hopes the training will make them more compassionate people, but because he believes the skills involved in writing stories and creating art makes for better doctors. He argues that doctors need to learn to think creatively to effectively diagnose what’s really going on with their patients.

Last year Baruch co-taught a class for RISD and Brown Medical  students exploring how the two disciplines of art and medicine could inform each other.

Baruch also explores those idea in his book-Fourteen Stories: Doctors, Patients, and other Strangers. Take a listen to this interview to get a better idea of how he makes the connection between story telling and medicine.

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