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The Healer’s Art is an innovative discovery model course in values clarification and professionalism for first- and second-year medical students now offered annually at 90+ U.S. medical schools as well as medical schools around the world. Designed in 1991 by Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, the course offers a safe learning environment for a personal in-depth exploration of the time-honored values of service, healing relationship, reverence for life and compassionate care.

The Healer’s Art Course in Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Jane Shaw was the first veterinarian to attend the Healer’s Art Faculty Development workshop in 2008, Dr. Camille Torres-Henderson followed in 2010 and Dr. Laurie Fonken in 2011. The Healer’s Art was introduced to veterinary students in 2012 when Colorado State University offered the first course to 1st, 2nd and 3rd year veterinary students. Since that time 35 veterinary faculty from 15 Veterinary Schools have taken the faculty development training and 8 schools have added the course to their curriculum.

It reminded me that we each have our own unique story. We don’t always do everything perfectly, but we do what we can and learn along the way. The class made me feel empowered as a future veterinarian that we can look at the profession more holistically. First Year Veterinary Student

The Healer’s Art course utilizes principles of adult education, contemplative studies, humanistic and transpersonal psychology, cognitive psychology, formation education, creative arts and storytelling to present and explore human dimensions of medicine rarely discussed in medical training. Topics covered include deep listening, presence, acceptance, loss, grief, healing, relationship, encounters with awe and mystery and self-care practices. The curriculum enables students to uncover and strengthen the altruistic values, sense of calling and intention to serve that have led them to medicine, creating a firm foundation for meeting the challenging demands of contemporary medical training and practice.

Since 1991 hundreds of medical school faculty have been trained at RISHI to offer The Healer’s Art course at their medical schools both here and abroad. In a rigorous standardized course evaluation, the thousands of students nationwide and internationally who take the course every year report that it fills a gap in their existing curriculum and enables them to make the practice of medicine uniquely their own.

Faculty are often as profoundly affected by the course as the students, reporting a renewal of their enthusiasm for teaching and their love of medicine. Each summer RISHI offers an intensive faculty training to enable human and veterinary medical faculty to bring the course to their school. For details about The Healer’s Art Faculty Training, including goals and objectives, click here.

The Center for the Study of The Healer’s Art (CSHA) conducts ongoing national research on the outcomes of the course and has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals.

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