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Grants nourish students' creativity

Using his Fisch award, medical student Justin Finch photographed teens living on the streets in Camden, Maine.

A new grant program is giving medical students a chance to exercise their right brains

The Fisch Art of Medicine Student Awards, which allow students to nurture their creative sides by taking clasentors, or simply focusing on an artistic pursuit, are meant to enhance the lifelong connectises, working with mons between the art and science of medicine.

University pediatrics professor emeritus Robert O. Fisch, M.D., a Holocaust survivor who has shared his experiences through paintings and books, established and endowed the program.

Fourth-year medical students Brian Muthyala and Justin Finch received the first Fisch awards last year. Muthyala used his award to take courses in audio editing and radio documentary before producing an audio documentary on two Minnesota doctors, Eric Meininger, M.D., and Ken McMillen, M.D., who work with homeless people.

“There are few chances in medical school to create and to be creative,” Muthyala says. “And to combine medicine with creative pursuits was a unique and very rewarding experience.”

Using his award, Finch attended a documentary photography workshop in Maine and then photographed teens living on the streets in Camden, a tourist town on the Maine coast.

“This was one of the most memorable experiences of my life,” says Finch. “In retrospect, the experience was really about listening and storytelling—something we do in medicine every day—and I think that is what made it so profound.”

Finch and Muthyala will discuss and present their work at the first annual Robert O. Fisch Art of Medicine Colloquium on March 11 at the Weisman Art Museum.

Project proposals for the 2008-2009 Fisch Art of Medicine Student Awards are now being accepted. Applications must be received by May 1. For more information, e-mail or call Jon Hallberg, M.D., creative director of the University’s Center for Arts and Medicine, at 612-624-2477.

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