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September 1, 1989


JAMA. 1989;262(9):1255-1262. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430090123057

CHAIRPERSON'S COLUMN  A creative mind and an accurate view of natural phenomena are important tools of both art and medicine. Great artists, through a deeper understanding of their subjects and medium, are able to depict a simple scene in a manner that fixes the image in our minds. Similarly, great medical educators are able to render a correct diagnosis based on the most subtle clues, imprinting a cluster of symptoms in our memories. Art and medicine also share in providing a social benefit: healing the soul as well as the body. Both can, at times, make social statements.The Art Institute of Chicago recently stirred controversy with an installation inviting unflattering treatment of the American flag. It sparked demonstrations from both those who defended the honor of the flag and those who defended the right of free speech. Only a few blocks away, the American Medical Association convened its annual