Fine Art is Good Medicine – Especially for the Doctor

Two-day conference highlights growing interest in using art to train physicians

Philadelphia, PA, October 7, 2013

Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced the Art + Medicine: How Art Can Make Better Doctors conference, co-sponsored by Jefferson Medical College and Elsevier. Coinciding with the annual meeting of the American Association of Medical Colleges in Philadelphia, the conference will take place on November 2-3, 2013, at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia.

The conference is designed to encourage physicians, medical educators and students to discover the role that art can play in medical education, scientific research, patient care and professional development.

"The inspiration for this conference came from the dual passions—art and medicine—of the late medical illustrator and physician Dr. Frank H. Netter, whose landmark Atlas of Human Anatomy, published by Elsevier, has remained the anatomy "bible" for generations of medical students," said Linda Belfus, Senior Vice President, Elsevier. "Today, much of medicine is focused on technology and tests. The art of detailed, careful observation that was once at the center of the physician-patient interaction can be ignored. The goal of this conference is to raise awareness in the medical education community, as well as among physicians and medical students, of this exciting trend in medical education."

In a pioneering study by Yale University researchers on whether medical students' observational skills can be enhanced through systematic training using representational paintings (JAMA, Vol. 286, No. 9, 9-5-2001), the researchers wrote, "Observational skills that define the astute clinician are usually only acquired after years of clinical experience. Recognizing both the subtle and obvious visual details is a critical aspect of visual diagnosis or 'seeing.'"

For more than 10 years, Jefferson Medical College has been a leader among medical schools using the humanities and particularly art to hone skills in observation, diagnosis, and understanding of patients' needs.

Art + Medicine will present four programs featuring artists and educators whose work is a collaboration of art and medicine.

  • Professor Margaret S. Livingstone, professor of neurobiology at Harvard, is doing groundbreaking research on vision and the brain. Her book Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing uses what she has learned about vision to understand how artists instinctively exploit light, visual image processing and color perception to achieve remarkable effects.
  • Dr. Carlos Machado is the chief medical illustrator—following in the footsteps of Dr. Netter—for the upcoming 6th edition of the Atlas of Human Anatomy.
  • Bo Bartlett, a protégé of Andrew Wyeth, is a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) and a well-known American realist painter.
  • Dr. Sal Mangione, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University and Director of the History of Medicine Curriculum, will present a lecture, Leonardo and the Reinvention of Anatomy.
  • Monica Zimmerman, director of Museum Education at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts will demonstrate the elements of the PAFA program. "Since the days of Thomas Eakins, PAFA has partnered with medical institutions to provide artists with scientific understandings of human anatomy," Zimmerman said.

For the complete agenda and to register visit Elsevier Health. All events are free and open to the public. Seating is limited; reservations are required.

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About Thomas Jefferson University
Thomas Jefferson University (TJU), the largest freestanding academic medical center in Philadelphia, is nationally renowned for medical and health sciences education and innovative research.  Founded in 1824, TJU includes Jefferson Medical College (JMC), one of the largest private medical schools in the country and ranked among the nation's best medical schools by U.S. News & World Report, and the Jefferson Schools of Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions, Population Health and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Jefferson University Physicians is TJU's multi-specialty physician practice consisting of the full-time faculty of JMC. Thomas Jefferson University partners with its clinical affiliate, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals.

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps scientists and clinicians to find new answers, reshape human knowledge, and tackle the most urgent human crises. For 140 years, we have partnered with the research world to curate and verify scientific knowledge. Today, we’re committed to bringing that rigor to a new generation of platforms. Elsevier provides digital solutions and tools in the areas of strategic research management, R&D performance, clinical decision support, and professional education; including ScienceDirect, Scopus, SciVal, ClinicalKey and Sherpath. Elsevier publishes over 2,500 digitized journals, including The Lancet and Cell, 39,000 e-book titles and many iconic reference works, including Gray's Anatomy. Elsevier is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.

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