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Colleagues from the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and Leicester met in September 2001 at Leeds Medical School to discuss teaching humanities subjects within the medical curriculum. Several different disciplines and organisations were represented, all of which expressed an interest in teaching and broadening current medical training. We had a wide ranging discussion about the value of the humanities for medicine and touched on the difficulties entailed in the evaluation of courses that have more to do with developing “attitudes” than with “knowledge” and “skills”.

Dr Paul Lazarus led a debate on the use of student learning journals and their use as a reflective tool in education. Debate concerned the extent to which such journals should be private property or public and used for assessment purposes. There were also two poster presentations of Special Study Modules in Literature and Creative Writing from Sheffield and Written Communication from Leeds.

Arising from the meeting, the group decided on the following aims and aspirations, to be promoted by means of regular meetings and by group or interpersonal communication:

  • to promote the role of medical humanities within medical, nursing schools, health care institutions and to society in general, and to consider formulating a consensus statement on the values of medical humanities in education and in improving patient outcomes, to be offered as a guide for individual centres when planning their curricula or other initiatives

  • to explore methods of evaluating the efficacy of medical humanities

  • to function as a regional network, relating directly to the forthcoming nationally based Association for Medical Humanities.

Apologies for absence were received from Newcastle, Durham, Birmingham, and Nottingham. We plan to meet again in March 2002, after the AMH has held its inaugural meeting on 9th February.

Further information: Dr Emma Storr, Communication Skills Unit, MEU Level 7 Worsley Building, University of Leeds, LS2 7NL. e.storr{at}leeds.ac.uk

Dr Paul Lazarus, Department of Primary Care, University of Leicester, Leicester General Hospital, LE1 4PW. pal6{at}lei.ac.uk

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