Why the Medical Humanities?

The importance of creativity

Whether you’re faced with a complex diagnostic or treatment challenge, creativity can go a long way. Over the past few years, researchers have been uncovering robust evidence indicating that the medical humanities not only enhance and deepen learning in medical practitioners, they also promote healing and well-being in patients.

According to recent studies, the medical humanities will not only enhance your observation skills, they’ll also improve your memory, help you connect with patients and provide a better understanding of the history of medicine.

Dr. Jock Murray, the former dean of the medical school and founder of our Medical Humanities-HEALS program, currently leads the History of Medicine component of the HEALS program. For more on the importance of the humanities in medicine, read Dr. Murray's article, Knowledge and wisdom.

Creativity—a must in medicine

"Creativity should not be "optional" in medicine. It allows us to solve clinical problems in new ways, helps us pull together disparate ideas and sustains us in the face of uncertainty...

Like most people, doctors want to find and sustain meaning in what we do. Even more challenging, we work every day with patients who struggle to find new meaning in the face of illness. They expect us to offer guidance on the journey.

True healers have always used images, music and poems to help find the way. Little by little, these and many other creative tools are finding their way back into our bags."

- Dr. Allan Peterkin, University of Toronto  

Image: Ceramic Tile Collage created by Dalhousie medical students, Class of 2010