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The Department of Medical Humanities
Southern Illinois University
School of Medicine
PO Box 19603
913 N. Rutledge
Springfield IL

TEL: 217.545.4261
FAX: 217.545.7903

for further information.

June 28, 2007


- JOAN WENTWORTH (ongoing)

The standardized patient interaction involves a 15-minute, video-taped, physician-patient encounter during which students must individually demonstrate adherence to the applicable standards of care, conformity with principles of informed consent, recognition of issues of confidentiality and privacy (including public reporting obligations), and effective physician-patient communication, with emphasis on psychosocial care. Students should prepare for the standardized patient interaction by undertaking a review of plenary session notes and assigned readings, as well as through self-directed study. Following the standardized patient interview, students are required to prepare a written report setting forth the strengths and weaknesses of their individual physician-patient interactions and detailing the issues involved in the case as described on page ix. Each student will participate in a scheduled faculty-student feedback session involving formal interactive review of the videotape.

- DEPOSITION (2006 - ongoing)

The Doctoring: Medical Humanities curriculum is designed to provide students with core knowledge in the humanities, emphasizing application of the content and methodologies of humanities disciplines to the practice of medicine. Substantive areas of teaching emphasis include ethics, health policy, law, medical history, and psychosocial care. During Year Four, the Doctoring: Medical Humanities Clerkship is a two-week learning experience entitled, "Society, Law and Health Care: The Physician's Role."

The first part of the clerkship focuses on the legal aspects of the physician's role in society with emphasis on the judicial process and the administration of justice. During this time, students will expand their knowledge of the interplay between the medical and legal systems through learning about the physician as an expert witness in civil and criminal proceedings, the regulation of medical experts, and the role of forensic medicine. Students also will witness an evidence deposition designed to introduce them to the reality of physician involvement in civil litigation.


The Department of Medical Humanities has offered a team-taught Clinical Ethics Consultation elective to fourth year medical students since 1996. Students attend consultations with Clinical Ethics Center faculty, write consultation reports and critiques, and participate with faculty in all clinical ethics liaison activities. These practical experiences supplement directed readings and tutorial sessions.


Supported by two Templeton Awards, the Medical Humanities Department has developed and delivered curricula in both the psychiatry and family medicine residencies that enhanced residents’ appreciation of the spiritual and cultural dimensions of illness and care. Innovative elements of the curricula included, dialogue with representatives of major religious and cultural groups, participation in discussion and case presentations with hospital chaplains, opportunities to present and discuss personal and professional experiences with cultural difference, and a monthly viewing and discussion of a film that presented themes relating to spirituality, culture, and medicine.


The Department offers two electives, Integrating Personal and Professional Identity and Knowing The Patient as Person that explicitly explore the role of narrative in medicine and healing. Integrating Personal and Professional Identity helps students to identify and to integrate their distinctive values and personal gifts into their profession of medicine. The elective provides students with the opportunity to explore the core values and motivations that led them to choose medicine as a profession and enables them to envision a style of practice that will both nurture and be nurtured by these aspects of the student. To this end, students read and reflect on the autobiographical narrative that they submitted with their admission materials and write a mission statement that will shape their future practice of medicine.

Knowing The Patient as Person invites students to explore the personal meaning that illness has for patients. Students learn to identify the component parts of illness narratives and to understand how they function to bring narrative sense to the life-changes that illness may bring. Students write an illness narrative about some health event in their own life and use course concepts to interpret their narrative as well as the narratives of other patients.



The Department annually supports a month a long course in the theory, practice, and supervision of psychotherapy at the Lviv State Medical University (LSMU) in Lviv, Ukraine. With the help of the Medical Humanities Department at SIUSOM and other European partners in Germany and Austria, the Department of Psychiatry at LSMU is developing a cadre of trained faculty and supervisors that aim to develop a psychotherapy training program that is certifiable by the European Association for Psychotherapy. The Medical Humanities Department provides to LSMU 30 hours of theoretical instruction and 130 hours of supervision in individual and group psychotherapy. Innovative teaching methods include, “fish bowl” role plays that teach theory and technique by engaging large audiences in the direction and formation of role-plays, interviews and discussion with patients that assess the effectiveness of therapy offered by both clinics and individual therapists, and viewing and discussing films that invite cross cultural dialogue about the influence of social conditions and culture on the causes and presentations of psychopathology.

- MOCK TRIAL (1977 - 2005)

At the SIU School of Medicine, legal medicine teaching began in the mid-1970s as part of the Program of Law and Medicine (Program), which is based in the Department of Medical Humanities.

Program coursework was comprehensive and well developed and made use of various teaching modalities, including lectures, seminars, case-based tutor group discussions, and simulated patient encounters.

Perhaps the highlight of the required curriculum in legal medicine was the mock trial reenactment of the landmark Illinois case Darling v. Charleston Community Memorial Hospital.

The mock trial concluded the formal program of required undergraduate instruction in legal medicine and is viewed as an essential adjunct to a full and complete legal medicine learning experience. From 1977 until 2005, all School of Medicine students were required to participate in that important courtroom simulation.