Posts tagged ‘Humanities’

A comic look at important issues in medicine and medical training

Gandhi-1

Comic created by Jonathan Ghandi

This week, the Annals of Internal Medicine published a graphic narrative by Penn State College of Medicine professor Dr. Michael Green. It marks the first time a clinically oriented medical journal has published a comic.

The comic, which Green created in collaboration with freelance illustrator Ray Rieck, addresses a question that many new doctors face – when to trust others and when to rely on their own judgment.

Dr. Christine Laine, editor-in-chief of Annals of Internal Medicine, said the journal had been considering using the graphic story format as a new way to present selected case reports at about the same time that Green submitted his piece.

“We found it a compelling way to highlight some of the issues covered in a series on patient safety that we had in the works,” she said. “We decided that publishing it would be a good way to draw attention to that series and see how readers react to the graphic story format.”

Green, who has been teaching a course on comics and medicine to fourth-year medical students for several years, believes in the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words.

He sees graphic storytelling as an effective way to communicate a complicated subject and anticipates it will be well-received in the medical community. (more…)

March 8, 2013 at 10:45 am Leave a comment

Perspectives: Promoting health and wellness on our campus and in the community

This is an excerpt from the October 2012 edition of Perspectives, an electronic newsletter from Harold L. Paz, M.D., chief executive officer, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, senior vice president for health affairs, Penn State, and dean, Penn State College of Medicine.

Dr. Harold Paz

Harold L. Paz, M.D., M.S.

As an academic health center, we have a proud mission that extends beyond treating the sick – promoting health and wellness has long been a vital part of what we do for our patients, our employees and students, and the community as a whole. Increasingly our nation’s health care system is changing in ways that reinforce the importance of wellness, prevention and effective disease management. More than ever before, hospitals and clinicians are being rewarded for keeping people healthy and out of the hospital, rather than the more traditional model of being paid for taking care of people once they’re sick. With preventable illness and often manageable chronic diseases taking a significant toll in terms of mortality, quality of life, productivity, and health care resources, it’s essential for academic health centers to lead the effort to find effective strategies to promote good health through prevention, wellness programs, and tools to help patients and the public take charge of their health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has defined obesity as an epidemic. It accounts for more than 10% of U.S. medical costs, or about $150 billion a year. Currently 1 in 3 adults and nearly 1 in 6 children are obese, so finding effective ways to help patients reach and maintain a healthy weight is one of the most important ways an academic health center can improve health and well-being among the populations it serves. We know that cultural changes such as the increased presence of higher calorie foods and larger portion sizes have contributed to the obesity epidemic in the past few decades. At the same time, Penn State Hershey researchers are finding that other societal changes, like the advent of social media, may be useful in fighting it.

A recent study conducted by Jennifer L. Kraschnewski, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine and public health sciences, Christopher Sciamanna, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine and public health sciences, and chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine, and colleagues in Hershey and at University Park, demonstrated the effectiveness of a web-based weight loss program that features successful strategies of others who have lost weight. The researchers designed a website called Achieve Together using data gathered from a previous study that identified key behaviors associated with successfully maintaining a weight loss of 30 pounds or more. The website matched users to role models closest to them in age, gender, and target weight, and allowed them to view their role models’ strategies for weight loss, which they could then use to develop their own weight-loss plan. Over the course of twelve weeks, study participants who used the web-based program lost an average of 4.5 pounds more than members of a control group of people trying to lose weight on their own. As the researchers suggest, since web-based programs like this one entail minimal costs, they could prove to be a cost-effective way to promote and support weight loss.

Read more about our community health and wellness education efforts in the complete “Perspective” here >>

October 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm Leave a comment

The Department of Humanities: Once a ‘curiosity,’ now an ‘awakening’

When medical students from Penn State College of Medicine  make their Friday call at the Downtown Daily Bread soup kitchen in Harrisburg, it’s more than an exercise in providing counsel and comfort to the homeless. The brainchild of professor Cheryl Dellasega, Ph.D., this outreach illustrates one way the institution reaches “far beyond our boundaries,” according to Daniel Shapiro, Ph.D., chair and professor of the Department of Humanities at the College of Medicine.

The students’ service is part of a larger goal of the Department of Humanities and the College of Medicine to produce compassionate healers, or, as Shapiro says, “clinicians and scholars who are not only technologically sophisticated but also sophisticated about matters of the human body, mind, and spirit.”

Humanities historical marker photo

Click to view large image

The Department of Humanities at Penn State Hershey has been a model for other medical schools. Founded in 1967, the College of Medicine is young by medical school standards. But it’s also a pioneer as the first U.S. medical school with a Department of Humanities, a fixture since its inception. “This department has really been a springboard for founding other kinds of programs and centers and departments in many medical schools across the country,” says Philip Wilson, Ph.D., historian of medicine and science and professor of humanities.“What was first a curiosity became an awakening.” The founder of the Department of Humanities is considered a pioneer in humanistic medicine—E. A.Vastyan, who died in 2010 in Harrisburg. Vastyan was an Episcopal priest and chaplain at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston when founding Dean, George Harrell, recruited him to Hershey. “The fact that this institution was founded with a humanities department is one piece of data to support that that mission has been incorporated into the heart of the place from the start,” says Shapiro. (more…)

February 13, 2012 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Beyond superheroes: Comics as a new genre for medical storytelling

Comics in medicine classPenn State College of Medicine may be the only place in the country where a fourth year medical student can take an elective Humanities course about comics titled “Graphic Storytelling and Medical Narratives.” But before you snort derisively, listen to Michael Green, M.D., professor in the Departments of Humanities and Medicine, explain why he created this course.

“Most people think comics are juvenile, silly, and frivolous, that it’s only about superheroes or funny cartoons,” Green said. “But I’m teaching about a specific, growing genre of graphic narratives that tell incredibly moving stories about serious topics.”

Even within this broad category, there is a growing number of individuals creating memoir-type stories related to medical issues–for instance, patients telling stories about their illnesses, medical providers sharing their experiences, and family members providing their perspectives on healthcare. As Green sees it, his course offers students an opportunity to learn and explore themes relevant to the practice of medicine. (more…)

January 19, 2012 at 8:36 am 1 comment

The Doctors Kienle Center for Humanistic Medicine

Some people claim that with the rapid growth of technological medicine, the patients’ perspective of their illness and care has been neglected. The Center for Humanistic Medicine (CHM) at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center was founded in 1979 to promote ways to restore and enhance care that is both compassionate and technically excellent, emphasizing every patient’s individual needs.

In 1985, the work of the CHM blossomed when Drs. Lawrence F. and Jane Witmer Kienle of Medford, New Jersey, generously decided to provide continuing financial support. Following the death of Dr. Jane Kienle is 1991, the CHM was renamed The Doctors Kienle Center for Humanistic Medicine to recognize the contributions of both Doctors Kienle. The Kienles also supported the development of The Doctors Kienle Chair for Humane Medicine, a position currently held by Dr. J.O. Ballard.

The ongoing mission of The Doctors Kienle Center is to support, facilitate, and initiate education and research that will render the delivery of healthcare more humane, both locally and nationally. This work has flourished with the support of representatives from many departments throughout Penn State Hershey Medical Center and with that from volunteers in the hospital, medical school, and community.

December 2, 2010 at 4:37 pm Leave a comment


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