Medical Students and Poetry?!?!?!?

An interesting article in the NYTimes blog last month:  A poetry contest was announced for Yale University School of Medicine and University College London Medical School, with the first-place prize of $1,500, donated anonymously by a patient interested in literature.  They expected a handful of entries.  Instead, they received 160.

Poets like John Keats, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. and William Carlos Williams were all trained as doctors. For them and other physicians of their time, reading or writing poetry required skills not that dissimilar from those employed in daily clinical work — an ability to connect emotionally with the subject, as well as careful attention to rhythm, whether it was in the form of verse or heartbeats and breathing.

“Poetry does a better job in teaching because it is about embracing the human aspect of suffering, not just knowing how many lymph nodes are positive and where the pain is on a 1-to-10 scale,” Dr. Campo said. “Reading and discussing a poem became an opportunity not only to focus on the feelings associated with illness but also to imagine themselves in their patients’ position.”

Medicine is an art, in many ways.  In this generation of desensitized individuals from all the hours we spend on computers…it’s refreshing to hear about this!

Do you have a poem about experiencing the ‘art’ of medicine to share??

By | 2016-10-14T15:18:23+00:00 February 3rd, 2012|News, Survivorship|6 Comments

About the Author:

Eva Grayzel, a nationally recognized Master Storyteller and performance artist, was diagnosed at age 33 with stage IV oral cancer and given a 15% chance of survival. After regaining her deep vibrant voice, Eva applied her stage skills to communicate the depth of her experience in a unique and powerful way. For over a decade, Eva has captivated dental professionals worldwide using her story as a catalyst for change. She performed ‘Tongue-Tied’ Off-Broadway in New York City to a sold-out audience. A champion for early detection, Eva founded the Six-Step Screening™ oral cancer awareness campaign, for which she was recognized by the American Academy of Oral Medicine. She is the author of ‘Mr. C Plays Hide & Seek’ and ‘Mr. C the Globetrotter.’ In 2017, she created ‘My Story Legacy,’ a creative format to document family stories, life values and wisdom for future generations.


  1. Alva Wigginton February 17, 2012 at 11:58 am - Reply

    A gigantic Thank you, your post was very informative

  2. Terza F February 17, 2012 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    Great posting! I was captivated by what you had to say.

  3. Larry Eistner February 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm - Reply

    Wow, suprisingly I never knew this. Keep up with good posts.

  4. Hayes, Diana A. February 29, 2012 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    Your post is valueble for me. Thanks!…

  5. Bradley Luga March 2, 2012 at 4:49 am - Reply

    You are a very intelligent individual!

  6. David Avick March 3, 2012 at 4:19 am - Reply

    Hi. I read a few posts and i wanted to say thank you for the information.

Leave A Comment