Health & Fitness

Using art to rethink a medical diagnosis

DIFFERENT VIEW: Daphne Papathomas, a third-year UM medical student, leads a discussion of Sandy Skoglund's print, ‘Fox Games,’ at the Fine Art of Health Care workshop at the Lowe Art Museum.
DIFFERENT VIEW: Daphne Papathomas, a third-year UM medical student, leads a discussion of Sandy Skoglund's print, ‘Fox Games,’ at the Fine Art of Health Care workshop at the Lowe Art Museum. UM’s School of Nursing and Health Studies

The University of Miami is adding Baroque paintings and Greek vases to its diagnostic arsenal.

Medical, nursing and physical therapy students at UM are supplementing their clinical training with visits to the Lowe Art Museum at the university’s Coral Gables campus. There, they discuss works of art in small groups, applying the concept of multiple interpretations of art to possible multiple diagnoses of a patient’s condition.

Hope Torrents, the Lowe’s school programs coordinator, calls these visits the Fine Art of Health Care. She runs the workshops, which began in 2008. Torrents hopes a visit to a museum can inspire a more humanistic generation of physicians.

“I have no idea what it means to sort of step into the shoes of a doctor and nurse. But I have been a patient and I have been a patient’s advocate,” she says. “It’s important for patients to connect with their healthcare practitioners and engage with them and to be heard.”

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Resources

The Fine Art of Health Care workshops are for UM students only, but the Lowe Art Museum can accommodate outside groups looking for a similar experience. For more information, visit miami.edu/Lowe.

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