Before 1911, physicians had as much (or as little) education in the humanities as anyone else. Then the famous Flexner Report called for a lab- and clinic-heavy curriculum for physician training. Sixty-plus years later, George Engel advocated a “biopsychosocial” model, recommending that the psychological and social contributors to illness be addressed in medical school. Soon, ethics and professionalism became part of the formal curriculum. Back to the future? Educators are now recommending that the humanities be part of every physician’s education. Contributors to the August issue explain what “medical humanities” comprises and argue that medical education is incomplete without it.
Students more familiar with the quantifiable knowledge taught in medical and premedical curricula become aware that this perspective is not the only or even the most comprehensive way to see health, illness, and healing.
Comics allowed me to convey multiple layers of a single experience. With both text and image at my disposal, I could use one to enhance the other or create contradictions and juxtapositions that were jarring or darkly humorous.