Medical Diagnostics: Observation, Interpretation, the Art of Being a Better MD

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Course DatesMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRNRegistration
July 15, 2019 - August 02, 20197/15 - 8/02M-F 8:30A-11:20AWaitlistedKelli Auerbach

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Course Description

There’s a reason medicine is referred to as an art. While science is certainly integral to the field of medicine, equally important are more qualitative abilities in observation, interpretation, navigating ambiguity and emotional complexity, and facing the unknown. This highly experiential course will explore how such skills are essential to good doctoring, and can make medical practitioners better at diagnosing, communicating with patients, and collaborating with a medical team.

We will take multiple field trips which may include: Brown’s Hay Library to see its rare collection of Renaissance medical books; Brown Medical School’s Anatomy Lab; RISD’s Nature Lab to explore the relationship between the natural and biological worlds; a medical simulation experience with model patients; a virtual reality experience in the Brown Yurt. In addition we’ll read essays, memoir excerpts, and short stories by and about physicians, that explore what it means to think, feel, and act like a doctor.

The course requires no prior knowledge. It is geared toward students who are considering a career in medicine as the skills developed in this course can, ultimately, make the student a more nuanced health practitioner. The course also welcomes students who may not plan on a medical career but have a particular interest in medicine, interdisciplinary studies, or have had personal experiences with the health industry. Students can expect significant reading, writing, creative experiments, and lively discussion.

This course will hone skills in both critical thinking and creative output. By the end of this course students will: 1) have a foundation in the newly emerging field of Medical Humanities; 2) be introduced to the work of writer/doctors; 3) understand how qualitative/creative skills are integral to medical practice.

Prerequisites: The course is designed for and so limited to rising juniors and seniors.


Course Information

  • Course Code: CEEL0994
  • Length: 3 weeks
  • Supplemental Fee: $100

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2019.

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