SOM Student Organization ‘Art in Medicine’ Expands Reach | Arts and Entertainment

Wayne State School of Medicine students have expanded their organization to include events for medical students to practice their artistic ventures.

Art in Medicine is a student organization within SOM dedicated to providing medical students with the tools to practice their art, said President Ashley Kramer.

“The goals of the Art in Medicine student organization are to facilitate the creative thinking skills essential to our careers as future physicians and to provide a creative outlet for students who enjoy artistic endeavors,” Kramer said.

Kramer and former classmate Manpreet Kaur formed the organization in 2018 when they both applied to be coordinators of the student art gallery at SOM, Kramer said.

The art coordinator was responsible for displaying artwork in the third-floor art gallery of the Mazurek Education Commons, but Kramer said she was interested in more artistic ventures.

“We decided that we really wanted to do more and create a formal organization that would celebrate how much science and art complement each other,” Kramer said.

The organization developed into events for medical students interested in the arts.

Some of the AIM events focus on skeletons, drawing anatomy, curves, shading, surgical ligatures, and other medical topics that can be practiced through art.

Vice-Chancellor Karthik Sridasyam said AIM focuses on combining art and medical sciences so that students can understand both perspectives. Sridasyam said he practiced these skills during a figure drawing event.

“One of the most memorable (events) for me was a live figure drawing event we did where we hired a nude model as well as a figure drawing instructor,” Sridasyam said. “Seeing the curves and shadows of a person. . . it gives much more dimension and value to empirical knowledge.”

Medical student and executive board member Tabassum Chowdhury said she started attending AIM events during her first year of medical school because she had enjoyed art in high school.

“The first (AIM) event I went to was during my orientation week and we painted some pots and I really liked the atmosphere,” Chowdhury said. “So I kept going to events and they were really fun.”

Kramer said the organization is a good resource for medical students who need to take a break from their studies.

Other AIM events include collaborations with other student organizations to celebrate different cultures through arts and crafts.

“We like to do a lot of themed events for a lot of different ethnic holidays and celebrations that center around the fall (semester), partnering with different groups,” Kramer said.

Sridasyam said having an artistic background is valuable in the medical field.

“I feel like creativity is often not highlighted as valuable within medicine, but time and time again this organization has shown me how looking at the same lessons through a different lens can provide so much perspective,” Sridasyam said.

AIM has partnered with the American Indian Medical Association to paint festive Diyas for the Diwali holiday, the Latino Medical Student Association to celebrate the art of Frida Khalo, and LGBT People in Medicine to paint the meaning of pride.

Chowdury said events that offer art activities for families have interested her in pediatrics and other specialties. She said AIM events bring a sense of humanity to budding doctors.

“The mentors I’ve had have always said ‘hold on to what makes you human.’ For me this is art. . . so I’m holding on to all these things that make me human,” Chowdury said.

Shawntay Lewis is the Arts and Entertainment Editor for The South End. She can be reached at [email protected].

Cover art of surgical joints with photos by first- and second-year WSU School of Medicine students with Art in Medicine in partnership with the Surgery Interest Group, provided by AIM President Ashley Kramer.

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