The Healer's Art
The Healer's Art is a course that has been a smashing success at University of California San Francisco's medical school under the direction of Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, for eleven years. It has recently been adopted at Dartmouth, Stanford, Yale, and Georgetown, and this year will be offered at OHSU, Harvard, Albert Einstein, University of Washington, and several other schools across the country.
The Healer's Art is based on the premise that who you are is as important as what you know when practicing medicine. It aims to take students at the beginning of their medical training, when they are on fire with the spirit of service, and provide them with faculty role models and peer support to maintain that spirit throughout their training and practice.
Compassion can be taught just as the technical aspects of medicine can be taught, and students in the Healer's Art learn that they can heal with their caring things they can't cure with their science. The practice of medicine is a tradition of service, and service is not a work of the intellect--it is a work of the heart and soul. It is not unprofessional to be a human being, and when we allow ourselves to be human beings with our patients, there is no suffering they need to hide, and no hurt too great to share, because they know we too are human.
As one student who took the course put it, "Whenever I see someone from the Healer's Art course on rounds, in the hospital, or in the cafeteria, I know that the values I hold in my heart are true."
The course consists of four sessions in which there is a large group meeting followed by small group meetings. The topics of the four sessions are:
Almost 200 students have taken the course over the four years it has been offered at OHSU. Currently the course is offered every other year. The next class will be held in Winter 2007.
For more information on The Healer's Art please contact Janna Roth in the Dean's Office.
Course Director: Karen E. Adams, MD
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