School of Medicine

Humanities Expression and Arts Lab Education


Narrative Medicine Intersessions

Along with our colleagues in the Office of Student Affairs, we have developed a series of 90-minute narrative medicine workshops for second-year medical students. Each student attends six sessions as part of a wellness initiative between their 2nd and 3rd year of medical school. Workshop facilitators use published written work to stimulate discussion, increase knowledge of literary terms, and build reflective writing skills. The workshops are required as part of the students' core rotations. We collected data on their effect on empathy, emotional intelligence, and burnout through a series of surveys. We presented our results at the AAMC Annual Meeting in 2022 and published an abstract in Academic Medicine.  Although medical students did not report fewer signs of burnout after the sessions, we did see increases in empathy and emotional intelligence.

Wednesday School

Along with the chief residents in the Internal Medicine Residency program at BCM, we have developed a medical humanities curriculum that is integrated into their weekly didactic sessions (known as Wednesday School). Residents have attended lectures and participated in small group activities on the following topics: social determinants of health, literature in medicine, healthcare ethics, music therapy, palliative care, life-writing, and other topics related to the medical humanities. We instructed the speakers to structure their session around the themes of attention, empathy, and tolerance of ambiguity as these are topics that the AAMC and other medical education organizations have endorsed as important for learners. As of January 2023 , we have held 62 Wednesday School sessions with 30 different speakers representing a range of arts and humanities disciplines (music therapy, art in medicine, poetry, literature, disability studies, medical ethics, etc.). In total, more than 200 residents have attended these sessions to date.