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Medical Humanities

Arts in Medicine

Director of Program in Medical Humanities Henry Claman, MD 

The Arts in Medicine curriculum is part of the Anschutz Medical Campus program in Medical Humanities. These new initiatives, under the auspices of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities, bring the liberal arts (broadly interpreted) to campus.
Medical Humanities is an interdisciplinary exploration of how the humanities disciplines can engage and illuminate the nature, goals and practice of medicine. The medical humanities include art, history, philosophy, literature and theology as they intersect with the science and art of medicine. Our goal is to integrate these areas into the experiences of students, faculty and staff, as well as the broader community. The humanities can help us to understand better the meaning of life and death and promote the growth and development of more reflective and empathetic health care providers.
Driven by the philosophy that humanism is an important component of becoming excellent in all aspects of health education, we’ve sought innovative teaching methods and divergent content. These activities include required course segments, elective courses, and an emphasis on reflective writing, as well as a weekly lecture series open to the public.

Therese Jones, PhD
Director, Arts and Humanities in Healthcare

Editor, Journal of Medical Humanities
Center for Bioethics and Humanities

The Human Touch 

An annual anthology of poetry, prose, photography and graphic art from the Anschutz Medical Campus of the University of Colorado, The Human Touch talks about health and illness seen from a Medical Humanity perspective.  It is issued under the auspices of the Arts and Humanities in Healthcare Program from the Center for Bioethics and Humanities.  The Human Touch was founded by Henry N. Claman, M.D., from the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and is edited mainly by medical students.
It is distributed free by the AMC Bookstore in Building 500.

Arts in Medicine, Medicine in Art Class

Medicine is a science, and it is also an art. Traditional medical education focuses on the science. This course will encourage exploration of the art. Goals are to:

  1. Help students appreciate the relationship between medicine and art;
  2. Expand student’s awareness of healing techniques and philosophies;
  3. Explore the relationship between creativity and illness; and
  4. Develop students’ skills in observation.


  1. Attend Arts in Medicine lectures
  2. Participate in four field trips
  3. Lesson in Observation (Denver Art Museum)
  4. Ethnographic Tour of Traditional Healing pieces (DAM)
  5. Studio Experience (charcoal nudes) (CU)
  6. Art Therapy Program Visit
  7. Reflective paper

Course and Faculty Evaluations
Students will be evaluated on attendance at lectures and field trips. They will also be asked to write a 1-2 page reflective paper on what they have gained from this experience.

A written evaluation of the instructor will be obtained from all participating students at the end of the course. This feedback on the instructor, course content, and course logistics will be used to modify/improve the course in the future.

This course will help develop observation skills, which are key in physical exam. In addition, it will reinforce the importance of humanistic values. This course will aid students in becoming humanistic doctors. By helping students appreciate the interplay between art and medicine, this course will help us understand the body as more than DNA and glycolysis. The body will be discovered as a complex system of experiences and emotions, traditions and fears. Any physician would benefit from awareness of the emotional and creative body. ACGME competencies require residents to demonstrate skills in physical exam and humanism. This course will prepare students in both areas.