Friday, April 15, 2011

Medicine as an Art

The Catholic Medical School has a program that is different from the other medical schools in Korea. Started in 2009, the program, called omnibus omnia: Latin for "Being all things to all," will provide students with a Christian vision of society. Not only will they learn how to diagnose and treat disease, but along with the typical medical school courses they will learn to see and treat the whole person and acknowledge their rightful place in society; it will be a holistic medicine

The Peace Weekly headlined their article on the program: "Fostering Catholic Identity in Medical Training." The program will require students to have 300 hours of classroom study during their four years in the medical school. The first two years will focus on the Catholic vision and holistic approach to medicine; the next two years will concentrate on the practical application of this vision and what medical expertise should mean.

It is not an exaggeration to say the education program will include all areas of study, including religion, history, literature, philosophy,  psychology, economics, politics, and sociology. It will attempt to see the medical profession from as many different angles as possible, in order to educate the whole person in all its many dimensions. They will bring in leaders in these areas of study to give lectures. And there will be efforts to present first-hand accounts of the disease process by those who are suffering the disease.

In this way the students will get a chance to speak to those suffering from different diseases not only in a clinical way but also in a human way. Rote memorizing of course material will give way to a dialogue approach, which will be one of a number of approaches to make the program more effective. And instead of the passive cramming method of education, there will be a more participatory approach on the part of students that will allow them to express themselves both in speech and in writing.

The professor of  medical humanities and the social science curriculum will be in charge of the program.That there was a lack in this area, he admits, and this will be remedied in the omnibus omnia program in the future. The school's goal is to graduate holistic physicians who have a broad vision of what it means to be in the medical profession. The professor says that this vision will be one that permeates all the teaching that is done in the schools affiliated with the Catholic University and not only in the medical school.

This lack was felt in Korea for some time and it was good news to hear that the Catholic Medical School has decided to do something to remedy the situation. The limitations of the specialist can sometimes be detrimental to the the overall goal of healing the whole person. To bring in the 'catholic' approach to life and incorporate it in a curriculum for a medical school will do a great deal in making medicine not only a science but an art.           

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