“The HEAL Program provides interdisciplinary opportunities for students to blend the art and science of medicine, in service of promoting their professional formation, compassionate clinical practice, and optimal health of the patients and communities they will serve.”

Pamela Schaff, MD, Director, Keck School of Medicine

HEAL Program Humanities, Ethics/Economics, Art, and the Law

The HEAL Program at the Keck School of Medicine of USC provides students with the tools they need to develop their professional identities as they accept the complexities of a life committed to health care. Medical students are confronted with an ever-expanding body of scientific knowledge and must embrace their role as lifelong learners—as physician-citizen-scientists—who are open to diverse perspectives, willing to grapple with uncertainty, to seek the expertise of colleagues and their patients, and to find joy in their chosen profession. The HEAL program prepares students to care for patients as complete human beings, not as injuries or illnesses: HEAL offers over 200 hours of curricular content and is enhanced by collaboration with scholars from the University Park Campus, and an artist and musician-in-residence.

Core Curriculum

The HEAL Program is an integrating feature across all four years of the KSOM curriculum. HEAL content and skills are delivered in required pre-clinical and clinical coursework, electives, creative writing workshops, and events that feature speakers whose expertise encompasses domains within the humanities, ethics, economics, art, and law. This longitudinal course of study builds skills in critical reflection, ethical decision-making, analysis of healthcare policy, and systems-based approaches to patient safety. It progresses from the personal to the professional, beginning with students’ examination of their own values and personal ethics, and moves toward the critical examination of the physician’s role in society.

HEAL Program Goals:

  • Stimulate imagination, curiosity, skills of close observation, and careful interpretation through engagement with the arts and humanities
  • Promote critical reflection on professional experience and its meaning
  • Provide longitudinal, integrated instruction in health care ethics and ethical decision-making
  • Provide longitudinal, integrated instruction in health care policy, economics, and the business of medicine
  • Foster the capacity to analyze policy in light of the economic, legal, social, and ethical dimensions of health care
  • Develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to participate in a systems-based approach to medical practice and the promotion of patient safety

For more information about the HEAL Program click here.