For the past two months, we have explored extensively upon the relationship between arts and various aspects of science. The most memorable one was the zodiac animals in science. Last week, after hearing about how different types of model organisms are vital for scientific and medical advancements, I was inspired to further explore art specifically within the field of medicine.
Art is good medicine for both the artist and the observer. Art is used in some of the medical school curriculum, such as University of Arizona College of Medicine, to help medical students sharpen their skills in observation and description. Arts can also foster critical thinking and improve communication skills. Through arts, medical students are challenged to explore the range of human emotion and perception of the world as conveyed visually. Thus, the skill of analyzing structured arts could translate into diagnosing patients. And practicing the art analyzing skill could help future healthcare practitioners to express greater empathy and compassion towards patients. Within this direction, I have come up with some potential project topics. The first one is how discussion of fine arts concepts could potentially improve healthcare practitioners’ visual diagnostic skills and communication skills, which ultimately could lead to enhanced patient care. For this topic, I want to explore what type of artwork is cognitively invoking.
Second potential direction for my final project could be how art could assist during medical diagnosis and treatment. I have heard about a program called “Arts in Medicine”, which is an innovative art program for pediatric patients that brings creativity and fun into the hospital clinic at Columbia University. The children in the clinic have a variety of mental and physical challenges, and the many diverse materials allow each of them to have a unique creative experience. This use of artistic methods to treat psychological disorders and enhance mental health is called art therapy. Art therapy is a technique rooted in the idea that creative expression can foster healing and mental well-being. People have been relying on the arts to communicate, express themselves, and heal for thousands of years. But art therapy did not start to become a formal program until the 1940s. Physicians noticed that individuals suffering from mental illness often expressed themselves in drawings and other artworks, which led many to explore the use of art as a healing strategy. Since then, art has become an important part of the therapeutic field and is used in some assessment and treatment techniques. So for my second project, I would like to explore different types of art therapies in medicine.