Renown Health's Artist-in-Residence Program Features the Softer Side of Medicine|
RENO, Nev. (April 23, 2009) – It’s no secret hospitals can be an emotional place. Whether it’s the joy of welcoming a new life into the world, the struggle of recuperating after a surgery or the sorrow felt when loosing family or friends, emotions experienced at a hospital can be some of the most intense feelings experienced in a lifetime. As a way to express and capture these emotions, Renown Health, in conjunction with the University of Nevada School of Medicine, offers an Artist-in-Residence program.
“The goal of this program is to develop and nurture skills of observation, analysis, empathy, and self-reflection -- skills that are essential for humane medical care,” said Marin Gillis, director of humanities and ethics at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. “The program promotes a deepened understanding of the connections between medicine and art/humanities. It examines first-hand the claim that creativity and expression are integral components to healing.”
The Artist-in-Residence program at Renown Health was developed in 1997 as a way for artists to observe and appreciate the fragility of the human condition as well as develop an understanding for the many doctors, nurses and hospital staff who experience these emotions every day. Along with offering medical school students an outlet for artistic expression, the hope for the artist is to get to know hospital caregivers and the work they do.
Renown Health’s most recent artists; Kyle Yamamoto and Seth Bellister both completed the program during their fall semester of medical school. During his time as an Artist-in-Residence, Yamamoto produced a film. The film focused on images of the overall medical school experience, from the basic science years in the classroom to the clinical years in the hospital. Yamamoto said his inspiration for the film was the education he shared with classmates.
“As a student who majored in science and always had plans to go to medical school, I struggled to find the time to express my skills artistically,” said Yamamoto. “This residency allowed me the opportunity to better appreciate the intricacies of medical education and have the resources to express them through my favorite artistic medium – film.”
Bellister, a visual artist, is a fourth year medical student at the University of Nevada School of Medicine.
“Medical school is a time when, as students, we often feel overwhelmed by the complexities of the human condition as it relates to the medical condition,” said Bellister. “This residency program provided an amazing opportunity to reconnect with my roots as a balanced man exploring my experiences in the healing arts through the visual arts. The program gave me the time and resources to work on an artistic project during medical school.”
Bellister is in the process of completing his artwork, a serious of oil paintings, inspired by the strength of the many women who battle gynecologic cancers everyday. According to Bellister, his paintings celebrate the courage of these women.
As part of this program, all artists-in-residence are given two mentors – a physician mentor and a former artist in residence mentor. They are required to set up a meeting schedule with both mentors in addition to keeping a reflective journal during their residency. Artists in residence must write a final paper and create artistic products that can be read, viewed, heard and/or performed. Artists are also required to complete all the mandatory reading, writing and meeting assignments. The duration of this residency is one semester.
“It is important for the public to see the caring edge to these physicians,” said Jan Johnson, Healing Arts program coordinator at Renown Health. “This program is one more way we can help the public understand what goes on at the hospital and one more way we can make a genuine difference in these artist’s lives.”
The Artist-in-Residence program at Renown Health takes place once a year, during the Fall semester. Interested artists can apply for the program through the university. Yamamoto and Bellister’s works of art will be on display at the University of Nevada Reno May 12, 2009 from 4 – 6 p.m. Both artists will speak about their work and will be available to answer questions. The art will then be brought to Renown Health for exhibit in the summer and will then go to the Sierra Arts Gallery in Fall 2009.
Recent studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Journal of General Internal Medicine demonstrates that fine-art training significantly improves observational skills. Arts training has been incorporated into medical school curricula at Yale, Stanford, Cornell (Weill), NYU, Columbia, and Harvard medical schools.
The Healing Arts program at Renown Regional began in the early 1990s. Since then, a book titled "The Harvest of Lesser Burdens: Art in the Field of Medicine" was published in partnership with the Nevada Museum of Art. Renown Regional Medical Center features more than 800 works of original art, including two works in each of the 190 private patient rooms in the Tahoe Tower and 222 works of original art in the Baby & Family Suites. The program also includes regular performances at the patients’ bedside on the pediatric and oncology units. Another integral component of the Healing Arts program includes the completion of Fianna’s Healing Garden with fountains, streams, three sculptures by internationally known San Francisco artist, Cork Marcheschi and a flowering landscape. A grand opening for the garden is scheduled for spring 2009.
Both Yamamoto and Bellister will be present and available to speak about their work at the May 12 exhibit. Media interested in interviewing them can contact Nicole Shearer, Renown Health public relations business partner at 775-982-5595.
Don Butterfield, Director of Communications, 775-690-4208
Daniel Davis, Public Relations Business Partner, 775-691-7308
Nicole Shearer, Public Relations Business Partner, 775-772-5191