Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Florence Gelo

  • Teaching social determinants of health through art

    Florence GeloPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States When teaching medical students, I often incorporate works of art to introduce students to social determinants of health and to gain insight into the nature and importance of whole person care, the physical, behavioral, emotional, social, and spiritual factors that contribute to well-being. Social determinants of health (SDH) are factors…

  • Not just for the sake of ourselves

    Florence GeloPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States The Fatal Wounding of Sir Philip Sidney is a painting that I have used often to teach close looking to medical and theological students. The painting is full of details: color, lines, and textures. Faces and body language serve as vessels for emotion and are abundant and finely detailed. It…

  • Gently, Doctor, tell me what you see

    Florence GeloPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States In order to emphasize the role of the arts when teaching the humanities in medicine, I have often taken medical students, residents, and doctors to art museums to develop the art of looking. During one such program for medicine residents at the Reading Public Museum, we looked at a work…

  • The vulnerability of love

    Florence GeloPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States On Thanksgiving Day, I watch my niece Jenn with her seven-month-old daughter Laila playing on the living room floor. Jenn’s gaze has never left Laila despite the commotion nearby made by family who are setting the table for dinner, moving furniture to add additional chairs. The kitchen is lively. Utensils…

  • An essential attitude of the heart

    Florence Gelo Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   Andy Warhol, 1970. By Alice Neel. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Timothy Collins. Digital image © Whitney Museum of American Art / Licensed by Scala / Art Resource, NY I project an image of the painting, Andy Warhol, on the screen in the medical school classroom.…

  • “Looking at … Looking away”: A challenging and vital skill

    Florence Gelo Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA Alice Neel Self-Portrait. Alice Neel. 1980. Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. © Estate of Alice Neel, 1980. For nearly a decade, I have used images of paintings to teach students in health care professions how to cultivate the skills of looking while learning to recognize their own…

  • Engage the emotions

    Florence Gelo Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610). The Taking of Christ, 1602 Oil on canvas. 135.5 x 169.5 cm L.14702. On indefinite loan to the National Gallery of Ireland from the Jesuit Community, Leeson St., Dublin, who acknowledge the kind generosity of the late Dr Marie Lea-Wilson, 1992 Photo ©…

  • The painter and the potter: voices in color and texture

    Florence GeloPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Drawn to this painting of a vase at the edge of a table, I pause and think, “Don’t we all live on the edges of life, on stratums of the precarious and uncertain?” Jimmy Lueders’ Armand’s Pot II projects from the wall on which it hangs at the Woodmere Art…

  • God’s menu

    Florence GeloPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, USA “You act like you are waiting to die!” Sophie explains that this accusation comes in many forms from friends and members of her church. “Why don’t you go to the health spa? Give up those medications. What you need are good, nutritious foods, vitamins, and minerals. There is a spa in…

  • When you cannot decide witch doctor to consult

    Florence GeloRosemary HarrisPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Physicians often face practical dilemmas when treating patients from cultures whose belief systems may differ greatly from those underlying Western medicine. Non-Western healing modalities often attempt to integrate the spiritual and physical, and in some instances, traditional healers may be appropriately integrated into patient care. Dr. Harris uses the…