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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Exploring Professionalism in Undergraduate Medical and Dental Education through Forum Theatre

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Forum Theatre (FT) was created by Brazilian theatre director Augusto Boal (1985) as an approach for promoting dialogue between the audience and those performing on stage for his “Theater for the Oppressed.” FT offers an accessible, interactive approach to exploring challenging topics and situations.  In FT, a short scene is performed.  It is then replayed again and again with audience members invited to intervene and offer different options for addressing various aspects of the problematic situation.  Originally directed to helping people address and transform oppressive conditions that characterized their lives, FT has evolved and found expression in many different communities and contexts, including health professional education.  Inspired by David Diamond’s (2008) “Theatre for Living” model (which approaches living communities as a complex, living entities), we introduced FT in the “Introduction to Medicine & Dentistry” (DMED 511) course offered as part of the Undergraduate Medical Education program in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry (FoMD).  In this article, we describe how we have successfully engaged first year medical and dental students in discussion and critical reflection of professionalism issues relevant to their experiences of small group learning using FT.



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