A newsletter from the Division of Medical Humanities at NYU Langone Health
October 15, 2021

The Impact of Patient Narratives on Medical Students’ Perceptions of Shared Decision Making

Does reading a patient testimonial instead of informational text affect medical students’ perception of the relevance of shared decision-making (SDM) and patient-centered values? Through a randomized controlled experiment, Marie Eggeling, Martina Bientzle, Simone Korger, and Joachim Kimmerle, investigated whether narratives impacted students' attitudes and motivation to engage in SDM.

Creative Thinking: Its Importance and How to Cultivate It

How does creative thinking play a role in medical practice? Authors Ahmad Munir, DO, and Omer A.Awan, MD, MPHC, explore how keeping one's mind flexible and curious can lead to innovation and advancements in medicine. They offer several strategies to help develop creative thinking.

A Visual History of Cancer

Cancer is seen as a modern disease, but there are references to cancer going back centuries, from ancient and medieval texts to 19th-century surgical manuals. Through a selection of historical images, Agnes Arnold-Forster explores changing attitudes and treatments towards the disease.

Hektoen International

Hektoen International's latest issue features articles on gross anatomy education in the time of COVID, Asclepius’ snake-entwined staff, obesity and art, the discovery of aspirin, and more.

Highlights from Projects and People in
Humanities and Ethics at NYU Langone Health

New Annotation:
Devon Zander on The Impatient Dr. Lange by Seema Yasmin

“Like many public health crusaders, Lange understood the connection between societal and historical factors and the spread and development of disease, specifically HIV and AIDS.”

Physician Vulnerability and Passion for Art in Medicine with Dr. Mike Natter

Mike Natter, MD, formerly a Rudin Fellow in Medical Ethics and Humanities and currently an endocrinology fellow at NYU Langone, is featured in this Editor's Pick episode from DocWorking: The Whole Physician Podcast.

Support the Literature, Arts, and Medicine
Database and Magazine

As someone who is interested in Medical Humanities, we hope you will join us in support of the Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database and Magazine. One of the core components of NYU Langone’s Division of Medical Humanities, LitMed is an open access collection of more than 3,000 annotations of works of literature, art, and performing arts that provide insight into the human condition. Please make a gift today. Learn more.

The Burns Archive Photo of the Week

Albers-Schönberg’s Cylinder for Renal Radiology

The accurate diagnosis of the presence of stones prior to surgery was a major advancement in renal surgery. The X-ray played a critical role in pre-surgical diagnosis. To determine the exact location of a calculus in radiology’s earliest era (1896-1899) kidneys were taken out and fluoroscoped at the time of nephrolithotomy. The well-documented accounts of renal calculi discovered by X-ray, and subsequently confirmed by operation were heralded by surgeons worldwide. The first case was reported by Glasgow surgeon MacIntyre in July 1896. By 1901, Philadelphia radiologist Charles Leonard (1861-1913) reported 136 cases.
       In 1903, Heinrich Albers-Schönberg, MD (1865-1921), advanced the radiology of renal calculi. In his landmark text (Die Roentgen-Technik), he describes his compression diaphragm, which intensified the object by cutting out secondary rays. This photograph shows the use of Albers-Schönberg’s lead cylinder device, which provided the clearest kidney photographs by preventing the diffusion of X-rays. Its weight also flattened the abdomen, and helped to diminish the respiratory motion of the patient.
       By 1904, calculi could be identified on plane films of the abdomen, as radiological science had advanced significantly in the six years since physicians had begun using X-rays for medical purposes. With the development of more powerful X-ray machines and catheterization procedures, stones could accurately be located within the kidney prior to surgery. As a result, exploratory nephrotomy for calculi, one of the common renal surgical procedures of the last decades of the nineteenth century, would become unnecessary and obsolete.

With thanks to The Burns Archive for providing historic medical photographs and commentary for this weekly feature


Quick Links

Calls for Submission & Other Opportunities

Line of sight: Highlights 2021 photography competition open for submissions
The Lancet's Highlights annual photography competition is open for submissions. Submissions can be on any health-related topic and from any country or setting, from clinics to community health care, from urban locations to remote places, from global health to clinical medicine. Deadline 11/16/21. More information.


Events & Conferences


Building Mindfulness and Resilience in a Changing World

7th Annual Narrative Medicine Free Zoom Event, presented by Narrative Medicine Program, Advocate Aurora Health

Disability in Early America

With Sari Altschuler, Northeastern University; Nicole Belolan, Rutgers University; Laurel Daen, University of Notre Dame; moderated by Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai, MHS
Hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society

Resilience During a Pandemic and Beyond


The Topography of Wellness: How Health and Disease Formed the American Landscape

Speaker: Sara Jensen Carr
Critical Health Humanities Seminar, Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard

National Organization for Arts in Health
5th Annual National Conference:
“The Art of Resilience”

Created for artists, arts administrators, healthcare professionals, designers, educators, students and anyone with an interest in arts in health, the NOAH conference is designed to provide opportunities for participants to exchange ideas, gain applicable knowledge, build connections and energize developments for the future of the field.

"What the Language of Science Cannot Capture: Modern Medicine and the Need for Narrative."

A talk by Dr. Naomi Rosenberg

Learning to Hear the Stories Patients Need to Tell

Presented as part of The Examined Life Conference

Medicine and Poetry: Sonnets of Love and Grief

Presented as part of The Examined Life Conference

Writing pain: From words to stories

Presented as part of The Examined Life Conference

The Need for Narrative: Grappling and Reckoning with These Times

This new narrative medicine basic workshop invites you to join the narrative medicine international community in bringing our creative resources to the task of locating ourselves in these unprecedented times and exploring the power of narrative work to bring our experiences into focus. REGISTRATION ENDS TODAY

Poetry as an Ethical Act: Poetry of Witness in Health Care

Presented as part of The Examined Life Conference

Gold Writing Workshops with Judith Hannan

Author Judith Hannan will be holding a Fall edition of the Gold Writing Workshop, with four sessions on Fridays: Oct. 29, Nov. 5, 12, 19, from noon to 2 p.m. ET. Writing workshop participants must agree to attend all four sessions. This workshop is particularly focused on supporting healthcare professionals and students. Nurses, doctors, and all healthcare team members of any discipline are welcome.

William C. Stubing Memorial Lecture: Confronting the Public Health and Ethical Challenges of COVID-19

Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Christine Grady, Chief of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center
Sponsored by the NYU School of Global Public Health and The Greenwall Foundation

Narrative Medicine Rounds: "The AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) 1987-1993"

A talk with Sarah Schulman about her book and the history of ACT UP and American AIDS activism

Patient-Physician Communication: A MedHumChat Discussion

A live audience version of MedHumChat (short for Medical Humanities Chat), presented as part of The Examined Life Conference

Healing Arts Houston: Innovations in Arts and Health

The three-day conference is open to the public and will be a dynamic space for dialogue, learning, and inspiration. Practicing artists, health care professionals, medical educators, and scholars are welcome to attend. Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit is available for physicians.
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