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Saint Barnabas Medical Center Pioneers New Program Bringing Humanities and Humanism to Medicine
Date:12/1/2008

atient care for the next generation of physicians.

Dr. Panush speaks empathically about the importance of incorporating humanities into the education and training of young physicians, explaining that our society needs not only skilled clinicians but also medical humanitarians. "We need to go back to the roots of medicine which was epitomized by people who were passionately humanistic," he explains. "By studying the humanities we can uncover what it means to be a patient and restore this to our noble profession -- training better doctors, learning better the art of medicine and offering better care to the sick."

Through daily rounds and weekly multidisciplinary conferences, residents and faculty have an opportunity to examine an article, poem, piece of literature or artwork that stimulates discussion on humanistic patient care. The selections are often provocative, designed to give a deeper perspective on patient care. "I enjoyed every session -- every article, poem, painting and piece of literature," commented third-year resident Dilprit Bagga, M.D., Ph.D. "The educational experience was extraordinary. The door of humanity education is opened for me now."

In its first year the program has already had a transformative effect on resident education, significantly improving measures of attitudes and practices of physicians and patient care outcomes. Core faculty members, Ashish Parikh, M.D., Sunil Sapru, M.D., Anthony Carlino, M.D., and Mindy Houng, M.D., aided by project coordinator M. Martha Eid, and special consultant/collaborator Paul Wangenheim, M.D., have embraced the challenge of enriching the curriculum while also developing tools to assess the effectiveness of the program for both resident performance and patient care outcomes. Residents have responded enthusiastically, describing the humanities curriculum as a "refreshing addition to resident training" that serves as a daily reminder that they
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SOURCE Saint Barnabas Medical Center
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