Art and diagnostics

In Cambridge, Mass., Joel Katz has spent the past six years proving that doctors will be better at their left-brain craft if they’re well-versed in art. First- and second-year Harvard Med students now vie to get into Katz’s 10-week course that uses Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts to teach future physicians how to critically analyze famous paintings.

Those who take the art course typically show “a 50% improvement” in assessing a patient’s symptoms, says Katz, himself an internist. “Usually doctors are not trained in humanism. Students usually say this has expanded their way of thinking, which benefits the patient.” (via

We had similar outings for MBA students in a program that we deliberately designed to promote whole-brain thinking. With phenomenal results!

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