Poetry — and Medicine

by janetkayfetz

“John F. Martin [professor of cardiovascular medicine at University College London and adjunct professor at the Yale School of Medicine] is, in no particular order, a cardiologist, transatlantic academic, specialist in gene therapies for treating heart attacks, clinician, and published poet . . .

One of Martin’s preoccupations is a fear that medical students are at risk of becoming ‘intellectually brutalized.’ For years before matriculating, he believes, they’re conditioned to focus upon the microscopic at the expense of the holistic.

‘Very few students are able to think of the physiology of the way the body works, how the big systems of the internal cosmos function. Medicine on both sides of the Atlantic is becoming a factory system. So what can we do to stop this brutalization of the medical students’ minds and souls? The thing that occurred to me was let’s encourage them to write poetry.’”

Dr. Martin and his colleagues at U.C.L. and Yale designed a poetry competition for the medical students at the Yale U.C.L. Collaborative.

“Simple rules: one page maximum, two poems maximum.”

Read more about this wonderful idea in Poet, M.D. by Mark Singer in The New Yorker: October 14, 2013.