How Science & Medicine Can Prep For The Future

As I perused this article on educational outreach between Johns Hopkins and a group of seventh graders in Montgomery County I was struck by the world of opportunities this interaction presented. That Hopkins hosts an event that attracts young minds interested in Science is, by itself, a well-founded activity. And if you've listened (or seen in our very own blog) to UMBC President Dr. Freeman Hrabowski expound on the virtues of creating more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) possibilities in Academia then you know that the concept of Hopkins "mining" for the future is the very essence of University right-track thinking.

I propose this model be taken a step further. Using Art, and by "Art" I mean the entire range of artistic disciplines, using the available arsenal of writing, painting, singing, dancing, making music, creating a narrative of expression can now be completely realized of as an integrative tool for the medical profession. Year after year we witness example after example of instances where art as therapy programs, world-wide art therapy in medicine programs, or even surgical procedures that mimic artistic mannerisms change lives. These intersections are now coming full-swing into the mainstream of STEM life.

I suggest we create an arm of medical artistic "componentry" that keeps a small ensemble of artists in-house. This ensemble would be able to perform, create, and produce art that can be utilized by exporting it to high schools, community centers, assisted living centers and----yes----seventh graders. Imagine taking the work of children diagnosed with cancer, perhaps it was art work, a song, a dramatic scene or even a group diary----and having this performed, or read aloud. How inspiring would that sound to an audience? Or, to perspective medical students you could present short dramatic scenes that showcase the lighter/heavier moments surrounding medical school. The difficulties, the rewards. Who writes that? Why if even a few med students wrote just one sentence, an ensemble could piece that together and a scene is born! What are the thoughts of those coming back from combat who've lost a body part, or are dealing with injuries? Could we not (though I know this has been chronicled in individual stories) document, or dramatize their challenges---what do high school students, or students in college know of the fight returning soldiers endure just to be "whole" again? The possibilities appear endless. What could an ensemble bring to those fighting debilitating illness or to those who's views of hospitals are somewhat, shall we say, "chilly?" Wouldn't community organizations like to see some of these issues presented to their members? The more light shed on how medicine and hospitals do business, the better.  

The sole purpose would be to integrate the medical institution or hospital with the community at-large. Though I could be wrong, my inner voice tells me that we'd achieve something alot more powerful than goodwill. Hospitals always allow themselves the right to send in the clowns, why not send in the rest the artistic spectrum? 


Alonzo LaMont



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