Humanities, Economics, Arts and the Law (HEAL) Program

About HEAL

Keck School of Medicine’s educational program goals state that graduating students must be able to identify alternatives in difficult ethical choices, and to act in a manner that takes into account the complexities of those choices. As does ethical decision-making, several other of Keck’s overarching goals demand narrative competence, what Rita Charon defines as “the ability to acknowledge, absorb, interpret, and act on the stories and plights of others.” (JAMA 2001) Through engagement with the humanities, students will be encouraged to explore ethical decision-making, cultural differences in worldview, and the complexities of the interpretive act —the “multiple ways of knowing —” that are essential to the effective practice of the healing arts.

Program Goals

In the service of fostering the narrative competence of medical students, this integrated four-year curriculum will:

  • Create a community of discourse as an essential component of professional formation and clinical practice
  • Provide longitudinal, integrated instruction in health care ethics and ethical decision-making
  • Foster capacity to analyze and formulate policy in light of the economic, legal, social, as well as the ethical dimensions of health care
  • Foster capacity to participate in a systems-based approach to patient safety
  • Stimulate imagination, curiosity, skills of close observation, and careful interpretation through engagement with the arts and humanities
  • Enhance empathy for patients and colleagues
  • Promote reflection on experience and its meaning

Extracurricular Program in Medical Humanities, Arts, and Ethics

A rich array of “extracurricular” activities in Medical Humanities and the Arts is available to KSOM students:

  • Student and Faculty Art Gallery, two shows exhibited each year
  • Participation in Visions and Voices events
  • Art Education workshops
  • Lingual Verve reading group
  • Styloid Process writing group