The Healer’s Art Program is a national program offered by the Remen Institute for the Study of Health and Illness (RISHI) that enables medical students to learn how to provide compassionate care and build resilience through reflection, discussions, and story-telling. Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine (WSU-BSOM) administers the program.
The Remen Insitute for the Study of Health and Illness at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine
- A diversity of studies have shown that medical students suffer from high levels burnout, which often contributes to a perceived lack of empathy and decreased professionalism.
- To prevent burnout, Rachel Naomi Remen, MD originated the course in 1991 while at the University of California San Francisco.
- She designed the course to aid students to build resiliency and reflect on the importance of compassionate care at a time when physicians were experiencing a loss of meaning and commitment to their work.
- Healer’s Art is one of several projects coordinated by RISHI and is usually implemented at 70-80 medical schools.
- This program utilizes a reflection-based and story-telling curriculum to optimize medical student education surrounding compassionate care.
- Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine (WSU-BSOM), like many medical schools, is aware that students and practicing physicians experience burnout and professional dissatisfaction.
- By offering the Healer’s Art Program to its first- and second-year students, WSU-BSOM hopes to preempt dissatisfaction.
- WSU-BSOM houses RISHI and offers the course to domestic and international medical schools by training faculty on how to implement this program at their medical school.
Patient Population Served and Payor Information
- At WSU-BSOM, the class includes 480 total students with a male/female ratio of 45.4%/54.6%. Underrepresented minorities also make up 20.4% of total enrollment.
- Medical students that participate in Healer’s Art Program at other medical schools represent the diversity of their medical schools.
- Students at osteopathic, physician assistant, physical therapy and veterinary programs can also receive this curriculum.
- The curriculum is now administered at the Boonshoft School of Medicine and overseen by the Department of Medical Education.
- Course Co-Directors at WSU-BSOM include Dr. Dean Parmelee, Dr. Evangeline Andarsio, Dr. S. Bruce Binder, Dr. John Donnelly.
- Academic medical school funding
Research + Planning
- The support of a dean or associate dean is necessary to introduce the Healer’s Art Course into a medical school’s first- or second-year curriculum.
- After gaining support, faculty then need to attend an intensive training at RISHI to learn how to deliver the course.
- To ensure that the course meets its objectives, the Center for the Study of the Healer’s Art (CSHA) conducts ongoing evaluations using faculty and student feedback.
Tools or Products Developed
- The Healer’s Art curriculum: This curriculum was initially developed in 1991 and served as the basis of the course at WSU-BSOM.
- The 15-hour course teaches:
- Relationship forming between the physician and patient and between physicians and colleagues
- Academic and community faculty members must attend a training workshop at RISHI to learn how to implement and sustain the Healer’s Art Program at their own institution.
Team Members Involved
- The participating students at Boonshoft School of Medicine have the option to take the course, although it does not confer any academic credits.
- The course is structured as 3-hours sessions that meets bi-weekly :
- Session One: “Discovering and Nurturing Your Wholeness”
- Session Two: “Sharing Grief and Honoring Loss”
- Session Three: “Group Conversation”
- Session Four: “Beyond Analysis: Allowing Awe in Medicine”
- Session Five: “The Care of the Soul: Service as a Way of Life”
- Students engage in topics regarding the loss of life, comforting patients, and personal-reflection through discussions and meditation. Each session reinforces previous sessions.
- Upon completion, students receive a comprehensive letter from the course directors that is incorporated into their final Medical Student Performance Evaluation.
- Cost of membership and licensing fee to offer this copyrighted course
- Cost of course materials
- Cost of labor for educators running the sessions
- Cost of faculty training at RISHI
Where We Are
The Healer’s Art was incorporated into the Boonshoft School of Medicine curriculum in 2004, and the program is ongoing.
- An evaluation of the Healer’s Art program that had 489 student and 88 faculty respondents found:
- students (65.7%) and faculty (75.0%) use content from the course in their profession
- students found the course to be of high quality (average 4.47 on a 5-point scale)
- students (average 4.59 on a 5-point scale) and faculty (4.76 on a 5-point scale) perceived that the course provided content that is not present in the rest of the curriculum
- The Healer’s Art has provided space and multiple outlets for students to reflect on compassionate care and self-resiliency.
- The course is now taught at more than 70 medical schools in the US and abroad.
- Brazeau, C. M., Schroeder, R., Rovi, S., & Boyd, L. (2010). Relationships between medical student burnout, empathy, and professionalism climate. Academic Medicine, 85(10), S33-S36.
- Dyrbye, L. N., Thomas, M. R., Harper, W., Massie Jr, F. S., Power, D. V., Eacker, A., … & Shanafelt, T. D. (2009). The learning environment and medical student burnout: a multicentre study. Medical education, 43(3), 274-282.
- Remen RN, Rabow MW. The Healer’s Art: professionalism, service and mission. Med Educ. 2005;39(11):1167–1168. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2929.2005.02296.x
- WSU-BSOM. (2019, November 14). Facts at a glance. Retrieved from https://medicine.wright.edu/about/facts-at-a-glance
- WSU-BSOM. (2019, July 24). Healer’s art course. Retrieved from https://medicine.wright.edu/medical-education/healers-art-course
- Evangeline Andarsio, MD
- Rachel Naomi Remen, MD
- Dean Parmelee, MD
- John Donnelly, MD
- Bruce Binder, MD
- Okechi Boms, BS
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