The Healer’s Art Course

Overview

The Healer’s Art is an innovative discovery model course in values clarification and professionalism for first and second year medical students now offered annually at 70+ US medical schools as well as medical schools around the world (click “more” and scroll down for link to Bar Chart of Current Healer’s Art Schools). Designed in 1991 by Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, the course offers a safe learning environment for a personal in-depth exploration of the time-honored values of service, healing relationship, reverence for life and compassionate care.

  • .In The Healer’s Art course I learned that
    ..it is okay to love my patients.”
    —second year medical student
  • .The Healer’s Art renewed my sense of honor,
    ..awe and responsibility in medicine.”
    —first year medical student
  • .First and foremost we are people helping people.
    ..Only then are we doctors helping patients.”
    —first year medical student
  • .Inspire me with love for all of thy creatures. May I
    ..see in all who suffer only the fellow human being.”
    —Maimonides, 14th century physician

The Healer’s Art course utilizes principles of adult education, contemplative studies, humanistic and transpersonal psychology, cognitive psychology, formation education, creative arts and storytelling to present and explore human dimensions of medicine rarely discussed in medical training. Topics covered include deep listening, presence, acceptance, loss, grief, healing, relationship, encounters with awe and mystery, and self-care practices. The curriculum enables students to uncover and strengthen the altruistic values, sense of calling, and intention to serve that have led them to medicine, creating a firm foundation for meeting the challenging demands of contemporary medical training and practice.

Since 1991 hundreds of medical school faculty have been trained at ISHI to offer The Healer’s Art course at their medical schools both here and abroad (see link for Bar Chart of Current Healer’s Art Schools below). In a rigorous standardized course evaluation, the thousands of students nationwide and internationally who take the course every year report that it fills a gap in their existing curriculum and enables them to make the practice of medicine uniquely their own.

Faculty are often as profoundly affected by the course as the students, reporting a renewal of their enthusiasm for teaching and their love of medicine. Each summer ISHI offers an intensive 5-day retreat training to enable medical school faculty to bring the course to their school.

The Center for the Study of The Healer’s Art (CSHA) conducts ongoing national research on the outcomes of the course and has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals.

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