If you thought the only contactdoctors have with art is making plaster casts, the University of Limerick
wants to prove youwrong. It was announced last week that the Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS)at UL is the first medical school in the country to appoint an artist inresidence.
Professor Daniel Duffy was born in New Jersey
and is an academic as well as being anaccomplished artist who has exhibited his work widely. He will take up theposition—the first Lundbeck Visiting Fellow in the Humanities—later this month. Third-year medical students do acompulsory three-week module in the ‘Humanities in Medicine Programme’ andprojects can include critiquing a novel or body of poetry; creating originalworks of art; creative writing and dance.
The founding head of GEMS, Prof.Paul Finucane, said that the artist will work with students and staff to furthertheir interest and knowledge of the humanities. Prof. Duffy was quoted in the IrishTimes last week, speaking about his module in fine art said: “The aim of thiscourse is to improve medical students’ visual acumen through drawing workshopsand by observing elaborate narrative paintings.”
The basic idea is to get studentsto examine detailed works of art and draw the human form so they will be morecomfortable looking at patients and seeing them as people with an illness,instead of just an illness in a patient. “Studies of medical students whohave participated in such programmes in the United States
found that they improved in their diagnosticskills by about 10%. The workshops also give them a break from the intenseoverload of information and a chance to do something other than absorbinginformation,” Prof Duffy added. If the fellowship works out, Prof.Finucane said that UL would hope to welcome writers or poets in residence inthe future.
I think the initiative is veryworthwhile. Medical students have a large workload and their fair share ofstress so any outlet is brilliant. The fact that the university acknowledgesthat a scientific mind isn’t the only thing that makes a good doctor puts itahead of the curve. I’ve had more contact with GPs, consultants and surgeons inthe last year and a half than in the 25 years before that! I can honestly thatunderstanding of human nature and what makes a patient tick, is one sign of a greatdoctor.
I’m pretty sure this is the artistin question, www.danielmarkduffy.com
…I fricken hope so because the images are from the gallery on his website!