medical humanities

Gaudeamus Igitur by John Stone

“Gaudeamus Igitur” is one of my favorite poems of all times. John Stone was a poet and cardiologist at Emory University, He wrote this poem (the title means “Therefore, Let us Rejoice” for a graduating class at Emory Medical School. More

Medical Humanities

When your body threatens mutiny and you are peering into the abyss, you want a doctor who has contemplated mortality in a deep way. Being sick is indeed hell and every patient deserves a Virgil. Infusing the medical training with a bit more Virgil just might be the key. More

Art & Anatomy

The “art of medicine” is a term that is used—sometimes disparagingly—to refer to the non-technical skills of medicine. Artistic rendering enables us to appreciate the emotional grappling one must do in the world of anatomy and in the larger world of medicine. More

In Search of a Beloved Teacher

“Written and Illustrated by…” These words were written on a blackboard in September, 1971, in crisp, authoritative chalk. This was practical magic, unfolding on our laminate pressboard desks every single day. Ms. Zive handed us power, and it was exhilarating. More

Medical Humanities: The Rx for Uncertainty?

A large part of our medical maturation is facing uncertainty and then accepting it into our fold. This is far harder than memorizing all those rare diseases. The humanities can offer doctors a paradigm for living with ambiguity and even for relishing it. More

Why Medicine Needs Poetry

“When patients come to us with headache, and stomach pain, and foot pain, and 300 other issues, they are really speaking in metaphor. We may call it somatization disorder, or write them off as “complainers,” but in fact, it is metaphor. To be skilled clinicians—and to get the right diagnosis—we must be able to interpret our patients’ metaphors.” More

A Singular Intimacy

Despite enormous advances in healthcare, patients and caregivers alike are dissatisfied with their experience. So much of medicine has been boiled down to rote algorithms and assembly-line care. Seeking inspiration from the gripping narratives of urban medicine to the unlikely poetry of the ICU, Danielle Ofri probes the most fundamental aspect of medical care—how caregivers and patients connect. More

Poetry in Medicine

When I make rounds with medical students and interns, I’ve often tried to sneak in a poem at the end. It’s not always the most well-received bit of medical teaching, More

Documentary: Why Doctors Write

Ken Browne Productions is excited to launch the trailer for the film, “Why Doctors Write: Finding Humanity in Medicine.” Danielle Ofri is filmed at Bellevue Hospital along with one of her long-time patients. When completed, the documentary will explore storytelling and creativity in medicine. More

Adding Spice to the Slog: Humanities in Medical Training

As soon as we’d finish rounds on the medical wards I’d race to pass out an Anatole Broyard essay in the nanoseconds before dispersal entropy overtook our team. More

Storytelling in Medicine: the Passion and the Peril

So much of medicine is about stories—the ones we hear, the ones we tell, the ones we participate in—that it is no accident that doctors and nurses are attracted to stories. More

Humanities For Science Majors

For one premed, a chance exposure to an unknown sliver of literature sprung open an entirely new world. The unexpected opportunity to steep in the humanities offered me ways to think and write about medicine that I doubt would have been accessible to me otherwise.
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Patients Need Poetry…And So Do Doctors

Sometimes it is the things we deem least practical that wield the most power. In fact, poetry’s impracticality may be its strength. By being just words on a page, it isn’t expected to pull the weight of chemotherapy, antibiotics, or an MRI machine. So when a poem does pack a punch, we’re often bowled over. More

Creativity in Medicine

“What are you doing creatively these days?” It’s not a question you hear commonly. Medicine is a field with a strong history of creativity, but its daily practice feels less and less creative More

Literary Publishing at Bellevue Hospital

Watch a video about literary publishing at the oldest public hospital in the country. The Bellevue Literary Review and the Bellevue Literary Press are the first ever literary publishing ventures in a medical center More

Books by Danielle Ofri

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