The Program of Art in Medicine and the University of Arizona Museum of Art (UAMA) began a partnership in the fall of 2015, a mutually beneficial relationship providing our students deeper engagement with their own creative expression.

Art is good medicine for both the artist and the observer. It is used in the curriculum at the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix to help medical students sharpen their skills in observation and description, foster critical thinking, as well as improve communication skills. Medical students are challenged to explore the range of human emotion and perception of the world as conveyed visually. Through its partnership with the UAMA, UA College of Medicine – Phoenix students are offered an opportunity for structured observation of artworks and discussion of fine arts concepts with the goal of bolstering their visual diagnostic and communication skills, ultimately enhancing patient care.

By having this art work readily available for viewing on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, we offer everyone the freedom for artistic exploration; it is an opportunity for staff, faculty and students to also observe, interpret and reflect, gaining insight into various perspectives on the world; in addition, it allows observers to continually challenge those perspectives.

More important, it is a chance for our students to enhance their understanding and observation skills beyond just clinical relevance. And, on the lighter side, it is a source of enjoyment amidst the rigors of medical education.

Goals of the Partnership

To use artwork to improve the relationship between physicians and patients by:

  • Improving observation, perception and communication skills.
  • Improving visual diagnostic skills.
  • Practicing skills in a different context and outside of content area.
  • Distinguishing between appreciation and preference.
  • Understanding personal bias.
  • And learning to see in order to heal.