Fort Worth Medical School Workshops Foster Deeper Connections with Patients Through Art

The “HuMed@FWMD: The Modern Art Museum” sessions are led by the TCU School of Medicine's Narrative Reflection & Patient Communication faculty members.

By Juan Cabrera

Photo Credit: Juan Cabrera

FORT WORTH – At The Modern Art Museum, Korie Hawkins, was moved by the art entitled “The Brown Sisters” by Nicholas Nixon, a series of black and white photos of 4 sisters taken every year starting from 1975 till 2020.

“It made you feel like day and time matters and matters in a way like we’re in a space where we need to be mindful of who we are, what we’re doing, our purpose, and how are we serving others,” said Hawkins, assistant director of Admissions and Outreach at the TCU School of Medicine.

Hawkins was one of the school’s faculty, staff and students who attended the “HuMed@FWMD: The Modern Art Museum” workshop, which builds skills in observation, examination, self-awareness and perspective-taking.

Chase Crossno, M.P.H, Assistant Artistic Director at the TCU School of Medicine, believes that moments like this will help medical students in the long run.

“One of the things I think for medical students that’s interesting is cultivating observational skills even through uncomfortable feelings like boredom or placing a value judgment on a work, like ‘I don’t like it,’ ”  Crosson said. “This is going to happen with patients, too.  You’re not going to always like the patients that you meet.  It’s not always going to be an immediate rapport or connection.  What are the things to push past that judgement or sense of discomfort?”

During the workshop, Terri Thornton, Curator of Education at the Modern Art Museum, helps participants dissect and analyze the art found in the floors of the permanent collection.

“I often describe contemporary art as looking in a mirror as opposed to historical art which I think more as a window.”  Thornton said. “When we look in a mirror, we kind of have to accept what we see and we have to learn from it.  And I think that’s what contemporary art has to offer.”

Thornton’s idea of art’s ability to create a moment of self-reflection works tangentially with the medical school’s Compassionate Practice® curriculum.

Crossno and Lauren Mitchell, Ph.D., Director of Narrative Medicine, work to empower medical students and professionals to foster authentic connections with the self and others by incorporating reflection and compassion into a lifelong practice.

After reading the medical students’ written reflections , The Compassionate Practice® team decided to create HuMed, or humanities in medicine, is an online journal dedicated to the medical school community in order to share their humanity based practices, such as poetry, essays, photography, video, or audio recordings and show the relationship between health and well-being.

The Compassionate Practice® team is currently accepting submissions from faculty, staff and students with the current offer of helping with revisions and preparations for publications.

REGISTER FOR HuMed@FWMD: The Modern Art Museum 

There will be HuMed@FWMD: The Modern Art Museum on May 19.  To register and find more information and to register, you may find it on the HuMed webpage