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ACT 2021 Featured Capstone:

Art Museum-based Compassion & Resilience Training

Jonathan S. Pincus

Macy Institute Fellow at Harvard University – Cooperstown, New York, USA

Jonathan Pincus Photo.jpeg

Who did your Capstone Project serve ?
I created a new teaching module for the Art and Medical Humanities curriculum of the Internal Medicine Residency program at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, New York, USA.

What was the suffering that your project addressed?
In the pursuit of excellence, it is sometimes easy to forget we are all human. There is tremendous pressure on medical trainees to be free of error. Learning how to reflect on the discomfort of not having the right answer is good for resilience, and an opportunity to practice self-directed compassion, and improve patient care.

How did this project address that suffering?
The Internal Medicine Residents were allowed early entry into the Fenimore Museum of American Art in order in order to create a safe haven for the residents to deepen their relationships with one another. Works of art were used as visual prompts for difficult questions and conversations. The focus was to foster humanistic medical practice via training in intra and inter-personal skills to improve patient care.

Who was your audience and how many people participated? 
The audience consisted of doctors undergoing advanced training in the specialty of Internal Medicine. The entire cohort from transitional year interns to PGYs 1, 2 & 3 participated plus a few Attending Physicians to provide the clinical correlation.

How was the project delivered (the format)? 
Once per week for five consecutive weeks, I led self-directed tours at the Fenimore Museum of American Art in Cooperstown, guiding small groups from the cohort of residents through the museum galleries until everyone had cycled through.

What was the reported impact on or feedback from participants? On yourself? 
One participant shared: "I enjoyed Jonathan Pincus' insights and the way he would use art to talk about systemic issues in medicine. For me, it made me think about the importance of cultural competency, and how I can utilize it within my own practice."

How has the ACT Program helped you become an Ambassador of Compassion? 
ACT training has helped me become a better listener and glean insight into my "monkey mind."

What advice would you give to someone who's considering participating in the ACT Program? 
This was a wonderful experience! Without a doubt, the best aspect of participation is meeting a group of wonderful people you might never cross paths with otherwise and for that I am most grateful!



Be the change!

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