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Medicine and Humanity: School of Medicine Becomes First in New York to Establish Osler Society

THE FUTURE. Photo by Dr. Vu Huy Tran, emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital (part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System).

In keeping with their mission of molding students into doctors who provide care with exceptional skill and compassion, the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine has instituted Osler Society of the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ (NSLIJ) School of Medicine, a valuable resource for health professionals to explore, foster, and unite the arts with the practice of medicine.

The official launch of an Osler Society—established for the first time at a medical school or institution in New York—was honored with a celebration at the School of Medicine on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, featuring an inspiring spectrum of poetry and other readings, music, photography and artwork submissions from students, faculty and staff from the School of Medicine and throughout the NSLIJ Health System. Nearly 100 hundred people were in attendance.

“For healthcare professionals, Osler Society serves as an important outlet for creativity and self-reflection that can enhance all areas of medical practice, including communication and critical thinking,” said Lawrence Smith, MD, MACP, founding Dean of the School of Medicine. “We are pleased to offer the tremendous benefits of Osler Society to our physicians-in-training, faculty, staff and practitioners system wide.”

Established to promote humanism in medicine, Osler Society was formed in honor of William Osler, MD, referred to as the “Father of Modern Medicine” and the “Greatest Physician of All Time.” A superb clinician who practiced during the early 20th century, Osler was greatly esteemed by his peers in the US and abroad.  Keenly aware of the stresses that doctors faced, he emphasized the importance of literature, the arts, time management, and life balance.  He also laid the groundwork for modern medical ethics, women in medicine, and a humanistic approach to patient advocacy and care for all regardless of gender, religion or national origin.  Today, the Osler Society program and philosophy can be found throughout medical schools and healthcare institutions worldwide, beginning in this region with Osler Society of New York—the predecessor to the newly formed program at the School of Medicine.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to reinvigorate Osler Society within an institution that is reshaping the way we teach medicine and approach patient care,” said Martin Edelstein, MD, primary care physician and founder of Osler Society of NY. “Our mutual goal is to advance both the art and science of medicine—and to assist health professionals at all stages of their training and practice.” 

The launch of Osler Society coincided with the latest release of the School of Medicine arts and literary journal, Narrateur: Reflections on Caring, third edition.  Published by the School of Medicine and NSLIJ Health System, the Narrateur is a special collection of creative writings, photography and art from doctors, nurses, residents, medical students and others throughout the Health System and School of Medicine.

“The Narrateur proves its value over and again,” said editor-in-chief Jamie Talan, also an award-winning science writer and assistant professor of science education at the School of Medicine.  “For those who care for the sick, the Narrateur and resources like Osler Society provides a critical platform for self-knowledge, insight and contemplation.”

Membership in Osler Society at the School of Medicine is free of charge and open to physicians, faculty, nurses, staff and other health professionals, including medical and premedical/health students, who are interested in combining their passion for the arts with medical practice to become their best selves.

For more information about Osler Society at the School of Medicine, please contact Lisa Martin, Coordinator, Humanities in Medicine Program at Lisa.B.Martin@hofstra.edu or call 516-463-7389.

(Photo credit:  THE FUTURE by Vu Huy Tran, MD, emergency medicine physician, Lenox Hill Hospital [North Shore-LIJ], New York.  Recently published in Narrateur: Reflections on Caring, Issue 3.)

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