SOM’s Art in Medicine student organization expands | Arts and entertainment

Wayne Medical School students have expanded their organization to include events for medical students to practice their artistic endeavors.

Art in Medicine is a student organization within SOM dedicated to providing medical students with the means to practice their art, said President Ashley Kramer.

“The goals of the Art in Medicine student organization are to facilitate the creative thinking skills that are critical to our careers as future physicians and to provide a creative outlet for students who enjoy artistic endeavors,” Kramer said.

Kramer and a former classmate, Manpreet Kaur, started the organization in 2018 when they both applied to be student art gallery coordinators at SOM, Kramer said.

The art coordinator was responsible for displaying artwork in the art gallery on the third floor of the Mazurek Education Commons, but Kramer said he was interested in more artistic endeavors.

“We decided we really wanted to do more and create an official organization that would celebrate how science and art complement each other,” Kramer said.

The organization evolved into events for medical students interested in art.

Some of AIM’s events focus on skeletons, drawing anatomy, curves, shadows, tying surgical knots, and other medical topics that can be practiced through art.

Vice President Karthik Sridasyam said AIM focuses on combining art and medical sciences so that students can understand both perspectives. Sridasyam said he practiced these skills during a figure drawing event.

“One of the most memorable (events) for me was a live figure painting event we did where we hired nude models as well as a figure painting instructor,” Sridasyam said. “Seeing the curves and shadows of a person. . . gives much more dimension and value to empirical knowledge.’

Medical student and executive board member Tabassum Chowdhury said she started attending AIM events in her first year of medical school because she enjoyed art in high school.

“The first (AIM) event I went to was during my orientation week and we painted some pots and I really liked the atmosphere,” Choudhury said. “So I kept going to events and they were really fun.”

Kramer said the organization is a good resource for medical students who need to take a break from studying.

Other AIM events include collaborations with other student organizations to celebrate different cultures through arts and crafts.

“We like to put on a lot of themed events for a lot of different ethnic holidays and celebrations that are centered around the fall (semester) period, partnering with different groups,” Kramer said.

Sridasyam said having an artistic background is valuable in the medical field.

“I feel that creativity is often not emphasized as valuable in medicine, but time and time again this organization has shown me how looking at the same lessons through a different lens can offer so much perspective,” Sridasyam said.

AIM collaborated with the American Association of Indian Physicians to paint festive Diyas for the Diwali holiday, the Latin American Medical Student Association to celebrate the art of Frida Kahlo, and LGBT People in Medicine to paint the meaning of pride.

Choudhury said events that offer art activities to families got her interested in pediatrics and other specialties. She said AIM events bring a sense of humanity to aspiring doctors.

“The mentors I’ve had always say ‘hold on to what makes you human.’ To me it’s art. . . so I kind of hold on to all those things that make me human,” Choudhury said.

Shawntay Lewis is the arts and entertainment editor for The South End. You can reach her at [email protected]

Cover photo of surgical node art by first- and second-year WSU School of Medicine medical students with Art in Medicine in partnership with the Surgery Interest Group, courtesy of AIM President Ashley Kramer.

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