Medicine’s relational aspect stressed in new Med School class

Liz Kohman

First-year medical students spent their second day of school in a class focusing more on human relationships than the human body.

The class, Physician and Society, is designed to give students a context for the personal relationships surrounding the practice of medicine.

“We have to get back to what it means to be a physician, what it means to be a professional,” said Gregory Vercellotti, associate dean of the Medical School. He added that he wants the Medical School to have a reputation for producing physicians who care about patients.

The class will address issues of professionalism, ethics, health care systems and cultural dynamics.

While these issues have been addressed in the Medical School classes before, the Physician and Society class will address these issues by infusing arts and humanities into the curriculum to help students get to the heart of human relationships.

Students will visit the Guthrie Theater to see a reading of “Miss Evers’ Boys” and the Oak Street Cinema to see the movie “The Doctor.” Instructors will use these experiences to address issues surrounding medical professionalism.

During the first class, Medical School instructors taught students about the concepts and history of professionalism. Students also heard from Siobhan Cleary, the host of a Twin Cities Public Television show, “Health Diary.”

Cleary said she wanted to put a human face on the patient. She also said doctors should be caring and listen to their patients.

“Everyone has an interesting story,” Cleary said.

After a large lecture, students divided into smaller groups and discussed their fears about becoming doctors and read poems to introduce topics such as dealing with hard-to-like patients.

First-year medical student Mick Bauman said the class is valuable because it helps students start thinking about becoming a doctor.

Jon Hallberg, coordinator for the class, said he wants to bring arts and humanities into the classroom because they have a connection to the art of medicine.

 

Liz Kohman welcomes comments at [email protected]