Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota Forges New Relationships with University’s Medical School

Boris Oicherman, WAM’s Ihlenfeld Curator for Creative Collaboration, and Academic Health Center’s Director of Infectious Disease Center Timothy Schacker have proposed and received approval from the medical school (Academic Health Center) Dean JakubTolar and WAM (Weisman Art Museum) Director Lyndel King to proceed with developing a platform for incorporating the arts in the Academic Health Center.

Academic Health Center and Weisman Art Museum will collaborate on establishing a platform for sustainable, long-term collaborative relationships of artists and researchers dedicated to developing innovative approaches to healthcare. Short-term (1-2 years) objectives:
Establish a number of collaborative relationships between artists and researchers that will provide a basis for creating a long-term program. Special attention will be given to developing sustainable models of support for the arts at AHC that go beyond fixed-term grants and projects. Three projects have been identified as the first to be explored.
• Artist Peng Wu collaborates with Prof. Michael Howell, a researcher of sleep, to combine artistic and scientific perspectives on how to enhance and improve sleep therapy.
• Dancer and choreographer Anna Marie Shogren engages with the Center for Aging Science & Care Innovation at the Nursing School to research how dancers and caregivers can collaborate on developing better care protocols for patients.
• Artist Alyson Hiltner works with biological matter and life forms as with her sculptural material. She would develop a conversation with Prof. Paul Laizzo (Visible Heart Lab) and Brenda Ogle (Bioengineering) to establish a broad platform for biological arts in the AHC.

WAM’s Education Director, Jamee Yung, has been asked by AHC Assistant Dean for Curriculum Ann Pereira to be part of the planning team for updating the medical school curriculum. AHC is particularly interested in using fine arts to enhance visual diagnostic skills. Jamee’s expertise is a perfect fit. She trains students and teachers in developing observational skills that help make meaning from works of art. These are the same skills necessary for diagnosis. Research at the Yale University has established that using experiences with artworks is successful in developing diagnostic skills in medical students. Jamee has worked with a few medical school classes over the last few years, but this update would integrate WAM’s program into the curriculum.

These projects could make the U of MN AHC one of the leaders in innovative medical education.

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