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HHArt of Medicine – Art Observation Workshops

Oscar Lett, Origins and Today, 2019

In the 1980’s medical schools began to recognize the important role the arts and humanities played in their educational offerings and began to incorporate them into medical school curriculum. Art observation was developed in medical teachings in the 1990’s at Yale University, to promote individual reflection, foster empathy and increase awareness for the psychosocial context of patient and caregiver experience. The Arts in Medicine department at NYC Health + Hospitals has iterated this into an evidenced based program that brings together clinical and non-clinical teams. In the sessions the participants learn from one another’s shared experiences, gain comfort and increase their tolerance for ambiguity. This program aligns with our Helping Healers Heal program that supports frontline staff members in coping with traumatic experiences at NYC Health + Hospitals and deepens our understanding of one another and enhances connection.

HHArt of Medicine, currently partners with the Brooklyn Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art to coordinate sessions utilizing pieces from the NYC Health + Hospitals collection often with artists found in both collections. Each museum partner brings an educator and a Licensed Creative Arts Therapist that works closely with our Wellness Directors to create a safe environment for staff to reflect on their experiences through artwork-led discussions, artmaking and reflective writing.