Yale Medical Students Use Artwork To Sharpen Diagnostic Skills; Innovative Teaching Method Aims To Improve Observation Of Patients

which is chaired by her husband, Gary E. Friedlaender, M.D., professor of orthopaedics and rehabilitation and in the Cancer Center.

"There is a natural parallel between medicine and art," says Mrs. Friedlaender. "This tutorial hones some of the same observational skills involved in making a diagnosis."The medical students who participated in the tutorial found it to be a significant step in their medical training.

"This exercise helped me to really think about and analyze patients," says Leo Kim, a first-year medical student who participated in the tutorial. "Like very detailed paintings, the human body is very complex, and learning to look and really see all the details of a painting helps in diagnosing patients."

The tutorial also was an eye-opening experience for Susan Crowley, M.D., assistant professor of medicine (nephrology) at Yale and a group mentor for the tutorials.

"I was surprised at how many details you can miss when looking at paintings or a patient," she says. "It was a learning experience for me as well as for the students I mentor."

Dr. Braverman and Linda Friedlaender chose narrative oil paintings such as The Gore Family by Johann Zoffany, The Deluge by John Martin, and The Life of Buckingham by Augustus Egg. The paintings were all literal representations and they all told a story. Students looked for the relationship between the figures in the paintings, the significance of any landscape, and the location and date of the paintings.

Although Dr. Braverman has not studied the effects the tutorial has had on the nearly 30 students who have participated, reaction has been positive and he saw a marked improvement in the observational skills of his dermatology residents.

"They are taking the time to think more before they make a diagnosis," says Dr. Braverman, who plans to expand the program to include x-rays and photos of skin cells. "In the old day

Contact: Karen Peart or Helaine Patterson
203 785-5824
Yale University School of Medicine

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