News at Medicine - August 2013 - Ingram Award will support the arts in medical education

Ingram Award will support the arts in medical education
August 8, 2013
During the Medical Graduates' Society reunion rece[topm Aug. 2, the 2013 Dr. Wallace Ingram Award was presented to Dr. Natalie Beausoleil, associate professor of social science and health in the Division of Community Health and Humanities, to fund a project to promote artistic activities and explore the possibility of integrating an arts program in the Faculty of Medicine. This year’s award, contributed by members of the classes attending the MGS Reunion, was $7,500. Dr. Ingram attended the reception to present this award.
“In Canada and beyond, the nature of medical education is changing, focusing now on creating well rounded professionals with a balance of arts, humanities and science informing their medical practice,” said Dr. Beausoleil. “Educators in medical schools all over the world emphasize that it is crucial for physicians understand patients’ pain and suffering in order to practice good medicine. The arts provide powerful ways for patients to express their pain and suffering.” 

Dr. Beausoleil, who is also a visual artist, said the power of the arts can significantly contribute to health professional education. “This study will promote reflective capacity and artistic creativity while exploring a possible integration of an arts program in the new curriculum currently developed in our medical school.”  

Dr. Beausoleil said that artistic creativity has not yet been investigated from a health perspective in Newfoundland and Labrador. “In the Faculty of Medicine, instructors use film, history and literature as an intrinsic part of the clinical skills course to first and second-year students and Instructors in other courses also use films as teaching tools in an ad hoc basis. However our faculty does not offer a comprehensive arts program which would include music, visual arts, performing arts, reflective and creative writing for all medical students, even as an elective.“

One important outcome of the project will be recommendations for the implementation of arts-based teaching and learning and the integration of an arts program for our medical school. “As we make the transition to a new curriculum, harnessing the power of the arts and community to heal thyself and others seems indeed like a very good idea,” said Dr. Beausoleil.

Dean James Rourke, Dr. Natalie Beausoleil, Dr. Wallace Ingram and Dr. Lynn Dwyer, representing the Medical Graduates’ Society.