Hippokratia 2010; 14 (4):241-243

A. Batistatou, E A. Doulis, D. Tiniakos, A. Anogiannaki, K. Charalabopoulos


Background and Aim: Medical humanities is a multidisciplinary field, consisting of humanities (theory of literature and arts, philosophy, ethics, history and theology), social sciences (anthropology, psychology and sociology) and arts (literature, theater, cinema, music and visual arts), integrated in the undergraduate curriculum of Medical schools. The aim of the present study is to discuss medical humanities and support the necessity of introduction of a medical humanities course in the curriculum of Greek medical schools. Materials, Methods and Results: Through the relevant Pub-Med search as well as taking into account various curricula of medical schools, it is evident that medical education today is characterized by acquisition of knowledge and skills and development of medical values and attitudes. Clinical observation with the recognition of key data and patterns in the collected information, is crucial in the final medical decision, i.e. in the complex process, through which doctors accumulate data, reach conclusions and decide on therapy. All sciences included in medical humanities are important for the high quality education of future doctors. The practice of Medicine is in large an image related science. The history of anatomy and art are closely related, already from the Renaissance time. Studies have shown that attendance of courses on art critics improves the observational skills of medical students. Literature is the source of information about the nature and source of human emotions and behavior and of narratives of illness, and increases imagination. Philosophy aids in the development of analytical and synthetical thinking. Teaching of history of medicine develops humility and aids in avoiding the repetition of mistakes of the past, and quite often raises research and therapeutic skepticism. The comprehension of medical ethics and professional deontology guides the patient-doctor relationship, as well as the relations between physicians and their colleagues. The Medical Humanities course, which is already integrated in the undergraduate curriculum of many medical schools of Europe, USA and Australia, includes lectures by experts and students? presentations on the above-mentioned areas and could be offered, for a semester, during the first years.Conclusion: The aim of Medical Humanities course is the development of imagination and interpretation of data through analytical complex procedures, the development of skills of close observation and careful interpretation of the patient ?language? and the enhancement of empathy for the patients, as well as the development of the physician patient relationship and finally the conceptualization/construction of personal and professional values.

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