Art and Medicine
The O’Donnell Institute is developing courses and resources to cultivate connections between art history and medical education. Bonnie Pitman, Distinguished Scholar in Residence, is currently leading several initiatives.
Art Museum and Medical School Partnerships
Medical schools are expanding their education programs by partnering with local art museums.
The use of original works of art from museum collections is a unique approach when engaging medical students, residents, physicians and nurses in this innovative learning process. Embracing a more humanistic understanding of health and well-being is part of a new movement toward improving new physicians’ clinical training. By developing observation, critical thinking and communication skills, medical students relate these to diagnostic practices when working with patients.
Medical students, interns, residents and fellows are taught to look at works of art and in turn relate that to their own professional practices. By doing so, they develop observation, interpretative, empathic and collaborative skills in order to enhance their clinical diagnosis and practices.
As part of the development of The Art of Examination: Art Museum and Medical School Partnerships Forum held in 2016, the following resources have been collected from Forum participants for the field.
Image: Manuel Martagon
Resources for Art and Medical School Partnerships:
Sources of research articles, studies and books relating to the field.
A list of 70 art museum and medical school-partnered programs.
A selection of syllabi from art museum and medical school courses.
The Art of Examination: Art Museum and Medical School Partnerships Forum
On June 8 and 9, 2016, 135 professionals from art museums and medical schools throughout the country convened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York for a Forum called The Art of Examination: Art Museum and Medical School Partnerships.
The Forum was organized by Bonnie Pitman, Distinguished Scholar in Residence at The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History and hosted by Wendy Woon, The Edward John Noble Foundation Deputy Director for Education at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
The Forum created an expansive conversation among art museums and medical school programs about the development of programs and pedagogy that uses works of art and close looking to strengthen diagnostic skills such as observation, description, interpretation, empathy, communication, and collaboration.
The program for the Forum and additional resources can be found in the links below.
Bonnie Pitman, Distinguished Scholar in Residence, The University of Texas at Dallas; Co-Director, Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Museums
Wendy Woon, The Edward John Noble Foundation Deputy Director for Education at The Museum of Modern Art
Resources for The Art of Examination: Art Museum and Medical School Partnerships Forum
Report and recommendations prepared by Bonnie Pitman on The Art of Examination Forum
Art of Examination Forum program and schedule
Forum Participant Roster
Attendees of the Art of Examination Forum
Art of Examination Forum brochure with photographs and highlights
Forum Power Point Presentations
Presentations from the Art of Examination Forum
Forum Videos from Plenary Sessions
Recorded sessions of the Art of Examination Forum
List of press from the Art of Examination Forum
Art of Examination: Art and Medical Diagnosis
The O’Donnell Institute partners with The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and the Dallas Museum of Art to engage medical students in observing, analyzing, and communicating about works of art to develop their diagnostic skills.
The Art of Examination is a preclinical elective course open to first and second-year medical students at UT Southwestern Medical School. It is taught primarily at the Dallas Museum of Art, with sessions at UT Southwestern Clements Hospital, The Nasher Sculpture Center and The Warehouse. This innovative and interactive course uses museum collections to explore ways of looking at works of art through close examination, description, and empathy.Photo: Manuel Martagon Photo: Manuel Martagon
The course focuses on factors that shape what we see and how we interpret visual information. Other topics include artists with disease, empathy and cultural influences, and how these inform medical practice. Participants cultivate habits of close observation, inspection, and cognitive reflections to shape their early medical careers. Students learn to synthesize observations, their own knowledge and experiences, and an awareness of the collaborative thinking process of the group - a skill vital to successful clinical practice.
The class engages students in discussions, drawing and writing exercises, lectures, and interactive experiences that foster communication.
The Art of Examination is taught by Bonnie Pitman, Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the O’Donnell Institute, Dr. Heather Wickless at UT Southwestern Medical School, and Amanda Blake, Interim Director of Education at the Dallas Museum of Art.