Student Humanities Blog

Stéphanie Benoît is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at the University of Ottawa

 

AiLi Wang is a medical student in the Class of 2018 at the University of Ottawa

 

What is medicine? It is much more than learning to diagnose and treat diseases. It has physical and mental components—factual and intuitive aspects. Its definition is complex and multi-factorial. Medicine is an art in all its forms.

Speaking of the arts… The Anatomy Colouring Book was a project first envisioned by Dr. Alireza Jalali as a way for medical students to study anatomy creatively. Stéphanie and AiLi, two medical students known for their interest in bridging science and the arts, were recruited and given an opportunity to re-imagine the human body as an œuvre d'art. They both worked during their first year of clerkship to develop drawings that would accurately capture the anatomical body as well as bring imagination and creativity to paper. Though challenging, the process of creating the illustrations was a way to pursue their passion for art while contributing to their peers’ learning opportunities. ...continue reading

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Yara Abou-Hamde is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at Western University

 

Dear Mom and Dad,

When you arrived in Canada eleven years ago with four young children, you knew you had given up everything familiar to give us a chance at a more secure life. What you did not know then was that your only daughter would go on to pursue a career in medicine, adding stretches of foreign terrain.

Now, I have made it to clinical clerkship. It has been a dream. You know how much joy I get from learning on the job and being able to provide care to patients. It has been both exciting and relieving to know for certain that I have chosen the right career path for myself. ...continue reading

The Canadian Association for Health Humanities, which will be launched at the Creating Spaces Conference in Halifax, April 27–28, 2018, is seeking nominations for the inaugural Executive Committee. Positions include President, Vice President/President-elect, Treasurer, and Secretary/Communications.

 

This dynamic executive committee will create policies and direction to foster the growth and development of our new national, health humanities organization. A lot has already been accomplished thanks to the diligent work of our colleagues, students and friends. Over 1000 people have attended our annual Creating Space conference since its inception eight years ago. We have funding for three years from Associated Medical Services, which is being used in part for start-up costs, including administrative support. The CAHH website is also operating and a conditional constitution has been posted for members’ review. ...continue reading

Austin Lam is a medical student in the Class of 2021 at the University of Toronto

 

I remember the final oral examination for my Phenomenology course at McGill University. I was nearing completion of my undergraduate degree, yet I remained uncertain as to whether I had been accepted to medical school or not. My professor, who knew of my aspirations, presented me with a poignant question after the exam: “What does it mean to care in healthcare?”  We had studied Heidegger’s Being and Time (BT) during the course, in which Heidegger developed a nuanced, intricate, and memorable illustration of Care.

This powerful question has stayed with me through the fledgling stages of my medical training. ...continue reading

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Sunjit Parmar is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at the University of British Columbia

 

 

A withering mind:
As this body crawls forth to die
My soul still marches forth and thrives.
With each passing breath
I move further from life;
Yet this soul somehow survives.
None can halt the decay—
No person, no bribe.
And still, ever-growing, ever so alive
I now realize I have lived a lie ...continue reading

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Maggie Hulbert is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at Queen's University

 

The Unravelling
(Broadview Press, 2017)

Graphic novels have emerged from the field of medical humanities as a powerful medium for telling stories — particularly stories of mental illness. Ellen Forney and David B. are two recent, best-selling graphic novelists who write about their experiences with mental illness and have broken ground for many new artists to carve their place in the mental health graphic novel genre. Clem and Olivier Martini, brothers and authors of The Unravelling, also deserve recognition as graphic novel trailblazers. The Unravelling is the second book that touches on their family’s experience with Olivier’s diagnosis of schizophrenia. However, this book also centres on their mother, Catherine — Olivier’s caretaker and roommate — who is rapidly losing her independence and cognitive abilities at age 89. It is a personal and emotional account of caregiving, as well as an angry lament of the state of Canada’s healthcare system for the mentally ill and ageing. ...continue reading

Marc Levin is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at McMaster University

 

I was always an active kid growing up. In high school, I attended an all-boys prep school. The curriculum was based on the old British system; accordingly, rugby was our main sport. Much to my mother’s dismay and my father’s delight, I started playing rugby in grade nine and went on to play at an international age-grade level.

Rugby was exhilarating. It provided me with a unique opportunity to develop communication skills, passion, emotion, work ethic, and resilience. It gave me the chance to experience raw moments of leadership and comradery. ...continue reading

Lorenzo Madrazo is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at the University of Ottawa

 

 

 

Murmurs.
Grade 3 out of 6 systolic—
A harsh tone
I listened to carefully.
Yet I failed to hear
the wearied decrescendo of your sighs;
the pain colouring your voice. ...continue reading

Hong Yu (Andrew) Su is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at Western University

Jessica Chin is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at Western University

Matthew Greenacre is a medical student in the Class of 2019 at Western University

 

 

John is a fictitious name given to an elderly gentleman that myself and some of my colleagues visited on a regular basis. John may be one person, but his situation mirrors that of many, many more across the country. In that sense, therefore, John represents not just himself, but a much greater social predicament. This is John’s story. ...continue reading

Ariane Litalien is a medical student in the Class of 2020 at McGill University

 

I was about halfway through my second year as a medical student at McGill University when—for a variety of health-related reasons—life decided I needed to take a break from my studies. I packed up my short white coat, Littmann stethoscope, and practice suturing tools in a square box, wrote “transition to clerkship” in tidy Sharpie letters on the top flap, and started looking for a full-time job.

Like Vancouver and a handful of European countries, Montreal’s public health agency (CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l'Île-de-Montréal) was on the verge of opening four supervised injection sites for intravenous drug users across the city. Given my professional experience related to social work and HIV, I decided to apply for a position as an outreach worker. ...continue reading