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Fearlessly exploring the other: the role of drama in medical training
  1. Kabir Singh Matharu1,
  2. Jessica Howell2,
  3. Faith Thayer Fitzgerald3
  1. 1University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, Sacramento, California, USA
  2. 2Centre for the Humanities and Health, King's College, London, UK
  3. 3Department of Internal Medicine, University of California, Davis; Sacramento, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Kabir Singh Matharu, University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, 4610 X Street, Sacramento, California, USA; ksmatharu{at}ucdavis.edu

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Case study

Drama has been used as a medium for instruction within medical education, with particular focus on illness-centred performance.1 At the University of California, Davis, faculty from the Department of English and Division of Internal Medicine informally read scenes from various plays alongside medical students in hour-long sessions. Attendant discussion from students and faculty focus on understanding and approaching these characters as ‘patients’. Similar to doctors interacting with Vivian Bearing, diagnosed with terminal ovarian cancer in Edson's Wit, students appreciated empathising with their characters. Additionally, students obtained a novel perspective by reading for a character from a different background. Their feedback from these sessions reveals that this exercise produces a deeper level of understanding characters from a sociocultural perspective rather than a physiological one.

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