There are artistic representations of medicine and illness in anatomical and physiological illustrations of the human body, medical instruction manuals, treatment documentation and aesthetic works. These have facilitated discovery and understanding for different parts of medicine, health, illness and disability.

Ethics in Health Care

Explore the AMA Journal of Ethics for articles, podcasts and polls that focus on ethical issues that affect physicans, physicians-in-training and their patients.

In particular, the use of portraits can be instrumental in representing and explaining medical pathologies, pathopsychologies and trauma. Portraiture in health care can be used to introduce innovative strategies for perceiving ethical and aesthetic value. Most importantly, it can also motivate deeper and fuller understanding of the experiences of patients, physicians and others in health care.

The June issue of AMA Journal of Ethics® (@JournalofEthics) features numerous perspectives on portraiture in health care and gives you an opportunity to earn CME credit.

Articles include:

  1. “Practicing Regard in Clinical Portraiture.” 

    1. John is one patient-sitter whose cancer and portraiture experiences illuminate what it means to witness, to express regard for another’s difficult health and health care experiences.
  2. “Anthony and the Role of Silence in Portraiture in Clinical Settings.” 

    1. Anthony’s experience of head and neck cancer diagnosis, surgery, and recovery suggests how silence is ethically, artistically, and clinically significant.
  3. “Why Teachers and Learners of Medicine Need Portraiture.” 

    1. Portraiture facilitates learners’ explorations of their own and others’ biases, limitations, and approaches to gathering information from and about a source.
  4. “Health Care Professionals’ Journeys of Caring Through Portraiture.” 

    1. Intersections of humanities and health care prompt students and clinicians to look beyond science and into the emotional journeys of caring.

Listen and learn

In the journal’s June podcast, expert James Van Arsdall, EdD, social science faculty at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska and an advanced trauma life support educator for the American College of Surgeons, shares his experience of sitting for a portrait after his treatment for oral cancer.

Related Coverage

Renaissance man: A surgeon’s healing journey through art history

Mark Gilbert, PhD, is an artist and a researcher associated with the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. On the podcast, Gilbert discusses how he came to do portraiture in clinical settings.

Listen to or watch previous episodes of the podcast, “Ethics Talk,” or subscribe in iTunes or other services. 

Earn CME    

The AMA Journal of Ethics CME modules, “How Portraiture Can Help Build Therapeutic Capacity in Patient-Clinician Relationships” and “Ethics Talk: Portraiture in Clinical Contexts,” are each designated by the AMA for a maximum of 0.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™

The offerings are part of the AMA Ed Hub™, an online platform that brings together high-quality CME, maintenance of certification, and educational content—in one place—with relevant learning activities, automated credit tracking and reporting for some states and specialty boards. 

Learn more about AMA CME accreditation.  

Submit manuscripts and artwork 

The journal’s editorial focus is on commentaries and articles that offer practical advice and insights for medical students and physicians. Submit a manuscript for publication. 

Related Coverage

Mental health and COVID-19: How a psychiatrist tackles fear, anxiety

The 2020 John Conley Ethics Essay Contest and the Conley Art of Medicine Contest are now open for submission. Read the essay prompt and see visual media requirements on the AMA Journal of Ethics website. 

Apply to become a theme issue editor to help the journal develop theme issues on interested and neglected topics. 

Visit the journal’s COVID-19 Ethics Resource Center for articles, podcasts, and videos relevant to the ethical challenges of the current pandemic.  

A look ahead

Upcoming issues of the AMA Journal of Ethics will focus on humor in health care as well as opioids and public health. Sign up to receive email alerts when new issues are published.

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