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Required Sessions

Arts & Humanities


School of Medicine - Anatomy Lessons I and II: Cadaver as First Teacher

These are two required sessions in the Phase I Human Body Block that provide students with the opportunity:

  • to explore and articulate the experience of human dissection
  • to consider their thoughts and feelings about death and dying
  • to acknowledge the donor as a human being.

Session I includes presentations by Rev. Julie Swaney, Director of Clinical Pastoral Education at University Hospital and Dr. Mark Earnest, Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and Director, Interprofessional Education followed by a reading of “Take All of Murphy” from Vincent Lam’s acclaimed novel, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, by a professional actor from Denver’s Stories On Stage.

Session II features a lecture on the history of anatomy by a visiting professor. In 2010, Charleen Moore of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio presented: “Dried, Pickled and Plastinated: A Short History of Anatomy.” The lecture is followed by a panel discussion by family members of donors.

School of Medicine - Seeing With Pictures: Improving Observational Skills

This is a required session in the Phase I Foundations of Doctoring Physical Exam Curriculum that provides students with the opportunity:

  • to understand how closely studying works of art can translate to observational skills in the clinical encounter
  • to articulate the importance of carefully observing the details of a patient presentation
  • to describe the importance of understanding the context in which patients present.

This session begins with a lecture to demonstrate close observation of fine art. Students and faculty break into small groups to analyze and discuss both works of art and clinical images.

Physical Therapy - Illness, Disability, and the Individual: An Integrated and Longitudinal Humanities Seminar

Throughout the last century, scientific discoveries and advances in clinical research and medical technology have powerfully affected both our material world and our inner world, including the images and the expectations we now have of ourselves and of humanity. Four seminars across the PT three-year curriculum will be organized around the screening and discussion of a film and selected literary materials, which focus on the experience of illness and disability in childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. “Illness, Disability and the Individual” is an integrated and longitudinal exploration and analysis of imaginative materials such as film, poetry and fiction that represent the vagaries of the human condition across the lifespan. Through stories of illness, disability, and accident, students in the Physical Therapy Program will have an opportunity:

  • to consider the personal and cultural meanings of illness and disability
  • to analyze the positive and negative images of healthcare professionals
  • to explore the varieties of patient-professional relationships
  • to become informed of the rights of patients and responsibilities of professionals

Films include Gattaca, Ordinary People, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and Iris.

Anschutz Medical Campus - Healing With Stories: An Introduction to Narrative Medicine

"Healing With Stories: An Introduction to Narrative Medicine" includes writing an illness narrative in the Interprofessional Ethics Course. Along with assigned literary materials, the lecture on narrative medicine and the writing assignment introduce all first-year health professions students to the following:

  • how good literary reading and expressive writing skills can complement good patient care
  • the stylistic characteristics of illness narratives
  • concepts about the human condition in the form of an illness narrative