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February 4, 1998

Incorporating Art and Creativity Into Medical Practice

Author Affiliations

Brown University School of Medicine

Brown University School of Medicine

JAMA. 1998;279(5):398. doi:10.1001/jama.279.5.397

As a medical student, I often hear comments such as "medicine is both art and science." I rarely see the incorporation of the creative arts in daily medical practice. This issue of Pulse presents new perspectives on the value of the arts in medical therapy, healing, and recovery.

Exactly how the arts improve a patient's condition has yet to be answered. Perhaps the value of art in medical practice is best gleaned from the stories of those actively incorporating it into their lives.

Annette Ridenour reviews the changes in how medical institutions incorporate art into health care delivery. The goal of Patch Adams, MD, is to transform the lives of his patients through clowning. When he writes about his encounter with a young, bed-ridden Russian girl, one no longer wonders just how creative a physician can be with patients in order to relieve their suffering.