BUFFALO, N.Y. — Since Hippocrates, medical practice has been seen as both science and art. In the 21 century, amid ever-greater scientific advances, medical schools are working to maintain balance between the two, developing new ways to highlight the art of medicine.
On Dec. 5, first-year medical students at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences will participate in a new requirement: attending the First Year Humanities Day.
UB medical students will hear about and discuss medicine as depicted in poetry, music and drawing; they will even be able to participate as artists themselves, drawing a nude model in one of the sessions as they learn to correlate findings from gross anatomy in a living body. Other topics include discussing health care in terms of cost, cultural attitudes and ethics.
“UB, along with other medical schools nationwide, understands that just as we require our students to develop scientific expertise, they also need to develop expertise in the art of practicing medicine,” says Michael Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences at UB and dean of the medical school.
“Our students must learn to appreciate and understand not just clinical symptoms but the individual who is experiencing them,” he says. “The medical school’s new humanities requirement is one way to achieve this goal.”
The half-day event, sponsored by the UB medical school’s Center for Medical Humanities, includes a broad range of workshops and lectures that use the arts, humanities, ethics and social sciences to teach the art of medicine and techniques of observation, analysis and self-reflection.
Members of the media are welcome to attend: for more information, contact Ellen Goldbaum, firstname.lastname@example.org and 716-645-4605.
Written by lawyers Hallie Love and Nathalie Martin, Yoga for Lawyers - Mind-Body Techniques to Feel Better All the Time, published by the American Bar Association 2014, is a gentle introductory approach grounded in scientific studies, scholarly research, and clear instructions. Proven to relieve stress, energize, and improve sleep, the featured easy-to-learn and easy-to-do meditative techniques and therapeutic yoga stretches can change your life in just minutes every day.
With photos detailing the exercises and written descriptions of how and why to do them, Yoga for Lawyers offers techniques that can help you improve your law practice by sharpening your ability to concentrate and bettering your overall state of mind and well being.
Pointing to studies that show lawyers are twice as likely as others to be alcoholics and three times more likely to suffer a heart attack, a professor from the University of New Mexico School of Law has helped write a book advocating yoga to help.
Nathalie Martin, the Frederick M. Hart Chair in Consumer and Clinical Law, co-authored “Yoga for Lawyers: Mind-Body Techniques to Feel Better All the Time” with Hallie Love. Love, who is a yoga teacher, also has more than a decade of experience as a practicing lawyer.
Professor Martin's passions include three long-term life goals: first, helping small businesses get started in New Mexico, and thus improving the State's overall economy; second, helping consumers avoid the many traps and pitfalls created by the current consumer credit world; and third, helping lawyers maintain balance in their lives.
She routinely advises law students on managing stress while practice law in a healthy and productive way, and invites students to visit her personal wellness page.
Here's a link to my page (contemplativelawyers.com) with articles and resources related to lawyers, meditation, and mindfulness. With so much attention now being given to these topics, it is hard to keep the page updated! Let me know if you see other links I should add.
Some days I wish I were still living in New Mexico . . .
You probably don’t need statistics to appreciate the pervasive role of stress in American life, but the numbers are there if you do. A recent Stress in America survey found that a quarter of adults experience high stress on a regular basis, and 42% say their stress levels are rising.
Given the impact stress has been known to have on physical and psychological well-being, that makes it a pretty urgent problem for behavioral researchers to consider.
“As everyone knows, stress is prevalent in everyday life,” said APS President Elizabeth A. Phelps of New York University, by way of introducing her presidential symposium at the 2014 APS Annual Convention. “And it seems to be increasing.”
Phelps gathered a wide-ranging panel to address the roots of stress — as well as potential interventions for it — from neurobiological, cognitive, health, and developmental perspectives.
If you believe as I do that a mindful mediator is a more effective mediator—both because of his or her adept ability to utilize conflict resolution skills but more importantly because of the direct effect he or she has on the parties' affect (i.e., mood)—then I have a suggested program for you below.
No surprise to any of you who read my blogs: I think the reflectiveness, the mindfulness, of the mediator is significant, sometimes paramount, in the resolving of disputes. That mindfulness state is what in my opinion moves a dispute professional from adequate to excellent, to one who serves clients in a manner that is outstanding.
Because I think both play and self-knowledge can enhance our mindfulness, I am recommending a workshop to you. It's being taught September 18-21, by Doctors Bonnie Badenoch and Theresa Kestly in the artist and farmland community of Corrales, New Mexico, near the Rio Grande River. Click for all the details and to register. I have taken two seminars from Bonnie in the past, read two of her books which I recommend frequently, and believe she is gifted at working with clients. Even though I have not yet taken a class from Theresa, I know much about her approach and philosophy because I have read and appreciated several chapters of her forthcoming book The Interpersonal Neurobiology of Play. Both she and Bonnie are well-grounded in the science that underlies what they practice and teach.
So if you want to enhance your ability to resolve disputes while having fun in a beautiful setting learning from two mindful experts, sign up here.
Note: To learn more benefits of play, go to some of my past posts: here, here, and here.
Click to watch a video Path of Freedom about a meditation project in a Rhode Island men's prison. From YouTube:
In the harsh environment of a Rhode Island men's prison, a group of fifty inmates are transforming their lives through the practice of meditation. Path of Freedom follows former inmate Fleet Maull as he visits prison to share his strategies for surviving on the inside. The film offers a rare glimpse into the inner lives of men reaching for forgiveness, inner peace and freedom behind bars.
Click to watch a video of Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas giving a short overview (around 20 minutes) of the biology of mindfulness and compassion. I recommend it; she's entertaining, in addition to being knowledgeable.
When people say, “This is the way to do it,” that’s not true. There are always many ways, and the way you choose should depend on the current context. You can’t solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. So when someone says, “Learn this so it’s second nature,” let a bell go off in your head, because that means mindlessness. The rules you were given were the rules that worked for the person who created them, and the more different you are from that person, the worse they’re going to work for you. When you’re mindful, rules, routines, and goals guide you; they don’t govern you.
Here's an article I wrote for the February edition of the Denver Bar Association's The Docket. From the article:
Mindfulness, which can be a result of meditation, has many benefits in addition to weathering the storms of feelings and thoughts. A recent article in The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry listed four components of mindfulness: attention regulation, body awareness, emotional regulation, and change in perspective on the self. Although each of those components is neutral in itself, when used wisely and toward positive and wholesome purposes together, they can provide great assistance to lawyers. For example, mindfulness can reduce stress, enhance problem-solving, and improve client service. Not sure how mindful you are? You might begin a self-assessment by taking a look at the questions on the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). The MAAS is available many places on the Internet and can be found with a quick search. Below are a couple of the questions from its set of 15: