Ethics journal explores the humanities in medical education

AMA Wire
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This month’s issue of Virtual Mentor, the AMA’s online ethics journal, explores what “medical humanities” comprises. Contributing authors argue that medical education is incomplete without it.

The famous Flexner Report of 1911 called for a lab- and clinic-heavy curriculum for physician training. More than 60 years later, George Engel, MD, a psychiatrist, recommended that the psychological and social contributors to illness be addressed in medical school in his “biopsychosocial” model. Soon, ethics and professionalism were introduced to the formal curriculum. Educators are now recommending that the humanities be part of every physician’s education.

Highlights from the August issue include:

  • Tangles: An illness narrative in graphic form.” Author Sarah Leavitt wrote her graphic memoir about her experience with her mother’s Alzheimer’s disease to convey the multiple layers of a single experience. With both text and image at her disposal, she uses one to enhance the other or create contradictions and juxtapositions that were jarring or darkly humorous.
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