The Healer's Art

souljah1

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    Greetings fellow medical students.

    This quarter I am taking an elective that is being taught by Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen called The Healer's Art. We get together for five or six sessions to discuss different aspects of medicine that don't really relate to textbooks and science. She stated that what we learn in medical school is how to cure and manage disease, but we aren't really taught how to heal patients and/or ourselves...and that we should draw on our past experiences in order to form bonds with patients that allow for healing to occur. A lot of talk about openness, respect, acknowledgement, etc. We've talked about finding meaning, about grief and loss, about awe and mystery, and in a couple weeks we'll by writing a hypocratic oath of our own. Dr. Remen gives a lecture for about 45 minutes or so and then we break up into small groups of 5 with our group faciliator who is a physician living in the bay area. The small groups are amazing. You get to learn so much about some of your classmates, and there hasn't been a class where I don't leave with admiration and appreciation for the members of my group. It is a great compliment to our blocks. Don't get me wrong, I love our curriculum, but these sessions just help to stoke the fire.

    Anyway, Dr. Remen mentioned that this course has been instituted at other schools and I'm wondering if anyone else is taking this elective? I think it is currently being taught at ten schools or so. Just wondering if any other SDN folk are enjoying this class as well?
     
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    UMgrad

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      I attend Yale and this elective has come to be very popular among the students. Call it what you will, but this class has kindled a lot of interesting conversations during the night at Harkness. :)
       

      Castro Viejo

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        I believe in the first two years of med school at Downstate there's something similar in which students break up into groups of about ten to discuss the psychosocial aspects of medicine. Is "The Healer's Art" something that's developed as a nationally-standardized course? By whom?
         

        souljah1

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          The Healer's Art is a course developed by Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen. Quite a few schools have started to teach her course, but she teaches the course here in SF. It is pretty fun to go and listen to her talk for awhile, and then gather in small groups to share our stories, ideas, questions, and experiences.

          Here is a bio from her website:

          "Rachel Naomi Remen is one of the earliest pioneers in the mind/body holistic health movement and the first to recognize the role of the spirit in health and the recovery from illness. She is Co-Founder and Medical Director of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program featured in the Bill Moyers PBS series, Healing and the Mind and has cared for people with cancer and their families for almost 30 years.

          She is also a nationally recognized medical reformer and educator who sees the practice of medicine as a spiritual path. In recognition of her work she has received several honorary degrees and has been invited to teach in medical schools and hospitals throughout the country. Her groundbreaking holistic curricula enable physicians at all levels of training to remember their calling and strengthen their commitment to serve life.

          Dr. Remen is Clinical Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the UCSF School of Medicine and Director of the innovative UCSF course The Healer's Art, which was recently featured in US News & World Report. She is Founder and Director of the Institute for the Study of Health and Illness, a ten-year-old professional development program for graduate physicians.

          She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal, Riverhead Books, 1996. Her newest book, My Grandfather's Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge and Belonging, Riverhead Books, 2000, is a national bestseller. As a master story-teller and public speaker, she has spoken to thousands of people throughout the country, reminding them of the power of their humanity and the ability to use their lives to make a difference. Dr. Remen has a 48-year personal history of Crohn's disease and her work is a unique blend of the viewpoint of physician and patient."
           

          paean

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            I know that it was offered at Stanford and Harvard this year as well.

            Timothy: At UCSF we have lots of other stuff in the curriculum about the psychosocial aspects of medicine, but Healer's Art is an elective, and tends to be a lot more personal and reflective than most of what we so. It's been copied from UCSF (where it started) at several schools, but as something outside of the material for the boards, there's no "standardized" curriculum.
             

            md_student2b

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              At UCI we have a selective for MS 1s that seems very similar in content. It's called Patient Stories, Doctor Stories and I'm currently taking it. A great many of my fellow students have very strong, negative emotions conotated with anything related to our Patient-Doctor course (like some of my friends who took FCM at UCSF), but personally I think those are the very people who need to take such classes, to expand their perpsective on medicine and understand their role in the lives of their patients.
               
              Originally posted by souljah1
              Greetings fellow medical students.

              This quarter I am taking an elective that is being taught by Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen called The Healer's Art. We get together for five or six sessions to discuss different aspects of medicine that don't really relate to textbooks and science. She stated that what we learn in medical school is how to cure and manage disease, but we aren't really taught how to heal patients and/or ourselves...and that we should draw on our past experiences in order to form bonds with patients that allow for healing to occur. A lot of talk about openness, respect, acknowledgement, etc. We've talked about finding meaning, about grief and loss, about awe and mystery, and in a couple weeks we'll by writing a hypocratic oath of our own. Dr. Remen gives a lecture for about 45 minutes or so and then we break up into small groups of 5 with our group faciliator who is a physician living in the bay area. The small groups are amazing. You get to learn so much about some of your classmates, and there hasn't been a class where I don't leave with admiration and appreciation for the members of my group. It is a great compliment to our blocks. Don't get me wrong, I love our curriculum, but these sessions just help to stoke the fire.

              Anyway, Dr. Remen mentioned that this course has been instituted at other schools and I'm wondering if anyone else is taking this elective? I think it is currently being taught at ten schools or so. Just wondering if any other SDN folk are enjoying this class as well?

              Well kumba-****ing-yah. We have something like that here called "Module III, the patient, physician, and society," and it is the biggest exercise in emotional masturbation that I have ever seen.

              Man. being a physician is a career, not a cult. Most of the things they try to teach in these "fuzzy" courses are things that most adults learn in the normal course of growing up. Apparently our Module III instructors think they have a monopoly on compassion.
               

              paean

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                I think some people are missing the point. The class is an elective, and a very thought provoking one at that. I suspect that most of us would be frustrated at anyone who required them to take part in a class where "the instructors think they have a monopoly on compassion." However, having the opportunity to take a really fascinating elective where we get to explore our what we bring into medicine, and where unlike much of the curriculum, there isn't a right, or even standardized, answer, is really cool.

                Before you jump to conclusions if you are not taking the healer's art, it's pretty different from the doctor-patient relation classes that are part of the curriculum, and not really on subjects that "most adults learn in the normal course of growing up."
                 
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