Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Both Sides of the Brain - Promoting the Humanities for Medical Students

"The University of Wisconsin Pain and Policy Studies group found that the cumulative dosage of pain
medication in milligrams per death due to HIV or cancer among the poorest 10% of countries was only 54mg compared to over 97,000mg per death due to HIV or cancer in the wealthiest 10% of countries"
This quote comes from the essay by Christopher J. de Boer that won the 2014 Robert D. Sparks Prize at the University of Iowa. The essay is a thought provoking work entitled The Price of Pain: Examining Global Inequality in Palliative Care and a Human Rights Response. (Here's a link to the essay if you'd like to read it) The Sparks Prize is one of several writing competitions available to medical students at that University of Iowa (Carver College), including a prize for short fiction and poetry. The 2014 creative writing competition winner was Cody Connor for a short story entitled The Universe Hates Entropy which you can read here along with poetry by the runners up.

The University of Iowa offers medical students a Humanities Distinction Track which seems very enlightened. They say on their website:
"The purpose of the Carver College of Medicine Humanities Distinction Track (HDT) is to encourage, support, and recognize medical students who pursue scholarship in ethics, writing, or the humanities. This track will promote students’ growth as professionals and also further the promotion of humanism in medicine."

This is a firm acknowledgement of the importance of the humanities in medical practice. What do we have in Australian medical schools that reflects that philosophy?

Monday, 26 January 2015

Important Information for Doctors Who Write

I just cranked up my search engine to do a little research about doctors who become writers. I'm looking for some good role models to take me into my retirement.

Along the winding trail through the Google forest I've found something else - a website with a great list of Creative Writing courses, conferences and workshops for doctors.
Here's the link to the list. You'll notice that high on this American-based  list The "Doctors Who" program sponsored by the Medical Journal of Australia at Veruna in the Blue Mountains. The Doctors Who website needs updating but I was chuffed to see it there nonetheless.

Next link down the list is to The Examined Life Conference at the University of Iowa scheduled for April this year. Look carefully at the website's banner and you may well see someone you know.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Do you want to achieve more in 2015?

There's someone who will either inspire you to bigger and better things or make you feel really bad about yourself.
Dr Genevieve Yates has achieved so much in both medicine and creative pursuits that the rest of us can only gasp in admiration and disbelief.
Genevieve is a playwright, a writer of short stories, a musician, a composer and a whole lot more - and that's just between engagements in medicine
To find out more about Genevieve click here  to go to her website - I'm sure you'll be impressed.

This year I am going to be more like Genevieve!

Monday, 19 January 2015

We're Back!!

Creative Doctors is finally back from its long Christmas break. We have been to places far and wide (Israel, Germany and Italy to be exact and that's only one of us!) and are back again full of ideas and enthusiasm.
Luckily while we've been looking the other way others have been busy.
Most notable was the article in the Sydney Morning Herald on 8th January by Andrew Taylor about Dr Cathy Fraser and the NSW Doctors Orchestra.
Here's the link to the article for those of you who missed it. The article was accompanied by a great photo of the orchestra rehearsing in scrubs taken by our own Howard Gwynne.
Below are some more fabulous photos of the orchestra and its members from Howard's clever camera. Can you see anyone you know?