A Conversation

The Five Question Protocol began with a conversation in 2002 between two educators in two different disciplines at the University of Rochester—one in medical education and one in museum education. Both had read about a Yale dermatologist, Irwin Braverman, and Linda Freidlander, curator of education at Yale Centre for British Art, who used visual arts to develop diagnostic skills in medical school.1

The medical educator, Stephanie Brown Clark, an Associate Professor in the Division of Medical Humanities & Bioethics in the medical school at the University of Rochester, also had academic training that crossed disciplines. She trained as an MD, and subsequently completed a PhD in humanities (medical history and literature).

The museum educator, Susan Dodge-Peters Daiss, was McPherson Director of Education at the University of Rochester’s Memorial Art Gallery with academic training in art history, and in practical theology. The year the partnership began, she was an intern in a hospital-based chaplaincy program. Her training in hospital-based pastoral care proved to be a unique feature of our partnership. In developing the 5 Question Protocol together, we borrowed pedagogies and practices from our own training in medical education, art museum education and chaplaincy education.

As we talked with each other about works of art and working with patients, the focus shifted from observation as a freestanding skill in medical practice, to a contextual one, within the broader process of diagnosis, the core of clinical work.

1.Dolev, J., Friedlaender, L., & Braverman, I. (2001). Use of fine art to enhance visual diagnostic skills. JAMA, 286(9), 1020–1021; Berger, L. (2001, January 2). By Observing Art, Med Students Learn Art of Observation. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/02/health/by-observing-art-med-students-learn-art-of-observation.html