Med Humanities 37:127-128 doi:10.1136/jmh.2010.006973
  • Educational case study

Confluence: understanding medical humanities through street theatre

  1. Satendra Singh2,3
  1. 1Third year medical student, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, India
  2. 2Medical Humanities Group, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, India
  3. 3Department of Physiology, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, India
  1. Correspondence to Satendra Singh, Assistant Professor of Physiology, Medical Humanities Group, Medical Education Unit, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi 110095 India; satendra{at}
  • Accepted 23 June 2011
  • Published Online First 21 July 2011

The effectiveness of arts-based interventions in medical education is well documented1 but the development of medical humanities in Southeast Asia is a relatively recent phenomenon.2 3 The University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, was the first Indian medical school to introduce medical humanities to its staff and students. A Medical Humanities Group was founded in 2009 and membership was open to all.4 Initial activities were directed towards sharing literature, with a bias towards Indian culture, including poetry in Hindi. In the inaugural year, student-led lunchtime meetings were attended by faculty. In the second year, there was a series of lectures by eminent guest speakers, in the form of a colloquium, called ‘Confluence’. The idea was to provide a forum to discuss art and medicine as a whole.5 As a result of these discussions, the group decided they wanted to work on the street theatre-based project described in this case study.

The role of performance

Involvement in drama offers medical students a powerful medium for self-expression, helps to improve their understanding of the experience of the illness and facilitates empathic feelings.6 7 Participation in the performing arts may also promote self-confidence,8 an …