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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Art of Analysis: A cooperative program between a museum and medicine

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Art of Analysis (AoA) is a cooperative effort of the Ohio State University College of Medicine (OSUCOM) and Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) aimed at medical students who are participating in learning communities, groups formed in pre-clinical medical student education to emotionally support and encourage students through the arduous process of medical training, to develop critical thinking skills; engender empathy; increase tolerance for ambiguity; build team problem solving abilities; and consider multiple perspectives through the observation of artwork. While several medical education institutions in the past have described similar programs, AoA uses a unique critical thinking strategy called “ODIP” (Observe, Describe, Interpret, Prove). Group participants include medical students, the learning community faculty (faculty members from OSUCOM) and CMA educators who facilitate and direct the AoA program. The groups set expectations before the program, emphasizing the goals and objectives of the program. Students then use the ODIP strategy to interpret one work of art as a group before they individually venture into the galleries to find artwork that answers a question posed by facilitators. Students present their theories and defend these ideas in a group discussion format during the two-hour program. The formalized ODIP process provides a framework for students to express their ideas, and by utilizing learning communities create an opportunity for openness and discussion that may not exist between new acquaintances participating in the AoA program de novo. The ODIP strategy is not unique to the AoA program but has been developed by CMA in its efforts to aid critical and personal interpretations of artwork. It is designed to apply to various learners, and is easily applicable to the adult-style learners with varying backgrounds unique to medical training. It is the goal of the AoA program to create abilities in teamwork, tolerance of alternate ideas, an empathy particular to the visual arts, and critical thinking skills. Correlation between the AoA program and ODIP format can easily be made with medical rounds and the process of developing a differential diagnosis as healthcare continues to transition into a more inclusive, multi-disciplinary team approach to health and disease prevention. The AoA program at CMA serves as an important tool in the education of physicians at OSUCOM, helping in the development of skills essential to the clinical practice of medicine.

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