Medical Humanities Article Reviews


Blasco Article Review

The article has great significance for the integration of the arts into education. It focuses on the use of movie clips in both medical education and other educational settings. It is also significant because it describes educational activities that take place in Brazil.

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JLTA OPERA Article (“Diseases, Opera, and Divas”)

This article describes an innovative use of opera in an elective class for preclinical medical students as a way of focusing on the physician-patient relationship and stigmatizing dimensions of certain illnesses. As such it is highly relevant to the integration of the arts into medical education.

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Reading Eucalyptus Review

This essay is significant for linking the value of narrative education in medicine and health professions to the author’s interpretation of an Australian novel/fable. It is an interesting and thought-provoking essay.

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The Mindful Physician and Pooh

This article uses an innovative educational approach involving literature, film, and music to teach family medicine residents about issues or burn-out and the distracted physician, as well as presenting the four habits of mindfulness as a potential antidote to these problems. Introducing learners to various literary, musical, and filmic permutations of the Winnie the Pooh stories, these medical educators show how exposure to this material stimulates residents to reflect on their own levels of burn-out and distraction, as well as to consider the relevance of cultivating mindful practices to ensure more attentive and present patient care.

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Theme-Based Courses Foster Student Learning and Provide Comfort With New Material

This article investigates 3 separate classes utilizing theme-based approaches to either arts or biology college-level education, using a pre-post questionnaire design to assess students’ perceived competency in achieving class learning objectives and comfort level with new academic material otherwise of little interest. The article does an excellent job of reviewing the relevant literature and identifying gaps that need to be addressed. Specifically, the authors cite the lack of empirical research as well as a dearth of in-depth interventions as shortcomings to be remedied. I find the article to be significant because it provides both quantitative and qualitative evidence of the benefits of theme instruction, particularly in increasing comfort with the academic material presented and even, in one case (nursing students) deepening appreciation for one’s chosen field of study. In terms of integration of arts into education, the point made here is that students can be persuaded of the relevance of art to their lives and study if theme teaching is used.

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Family Medicine Article Reviews

This was an interesting and well-written article reporting on an innovative integrated curriculum of arts- and clinic-based teaching. The response rate is excellent, and the data analysis appears thorough. The effects reported on students’ observational skills, awareness of the doctor-patient relationship, and capacity for self-reflection address critical aspects of medical education. There are a number of design limitations in the article, such as the self-selected nature of the sample and related social desirability influence on responses, the possible gender bias toward females, and the length of time transpired between intervention and evaluation. However, I believe these to be significantly outweighed by the original and creative nature of this work.

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