Since 1989, Feinberg has offered seminars in the arts and humanities as part of its medical program, allowing students to approach the world of medicine and health care from different perspectives and with new skills.
Today, every Feinberg medical student takes two seminars during their medical school career—one in the winter term of their freshman year and one in the fall term of their sophomore year.
“Humanities seminars introduce students to the methods and insights that humanities disciplines provide for a more accurate understanding and effective practice of clinical medicine,” said Catherine Belling, PhDassociate professor of Medical education and Program Leader for Humanities and Ethics. “Now, more than ever, physicians need to understand how culture, history, language, and imagination are important in framing and delivering ethical health care.”
The seminars focus on a wide range of topics, such as drawing, sculpting and creative writing, and incorporate a clinical medicine component. Seminars are led by Northwestern and community experts from different areas of the humanities and the arts, often taught in conjunction with Feinberg faculty members.
Premkumar’s course, titled “Troubling the Fetus: Reconsidering the Relationship between Biomedical Practice and the State,” connects current debates in American legal, policy, and biomedical spheres about reproductive health with published studies in medical anthropology, science, technology. and right.
“This type of course is essential for any medical trainee at this time in American history, when reproductive justice is front and center in mainstream media and abortion access restrictions are only growing,” said said Premkumar. “By challenging students to question the inherent logics of how biomedicine and the state work together, often at the expense of individual well-being instead of loftier goals like pronatalism, we can help create the next generation of medical advocates.”
Ricardo Rosenkranz, MD, ’93 GMEassistant clinical professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Community primary carehas been teaching his “Magic, Medicine, and Sense” seminar to first and second year medical students at Feinberg for over 10 years.
During his seminar, medical students work with world-class magicians to explore the role of belief, empowerment, and meaning in the world of magical performance. Rosenkranz, who is himself a world-renowned illusionist, encourages students to learn how magical performance can apply to modern medical practice in an effort to enhance their understanding of the doctor-patient relationship.
Rosenkranz also produces the Mysteries of Rosenkranza series of live magic and illusion shows, and owns The Rhapsody Theatera new live entertainment venue in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood that features magical shows.
First-year medical students who enroll in the “Playing Doctor” seminar have the opportunity to use improvisational theater techniques to improve their communication and teamwork skills by performing “Medical Improv” , which was originally created by Katie WatsonJDassociate professor of Medical educationMedical Social Sciences and Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The seminar is currently taught by Magdy Milad, MD, MSAlbert B. Gerbie, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, who has been improv in Chicago since 2016.
“For me, improvisation has touched almost every aspect of my life: it has improved my family life, my clinical experiences, my academic activity and my relationships. I’m a better listener and a better communicator, I’m better able to read body language, assess my condition and be able to react in the moment,” Milad said.