Ostherr and Koski debut medical humanities film

The 2017 International Health Humanities Consortium conference was held in the Texas Medical Center, where scholars from around the world came to share their research under the theme "Diversity, Cultures, and Health Humanities."

At the conference, Dr. Kirsten Ostherr (Professor of English, Director of the Medical Futures Lab, and Director of Rice's Medical Humanities minor) and Kaisu Koski (Netherlands-based Finnish filmmaker/researcher) debuted their film "Scenes of Disclosure." Koski's work at Rice was supported by the Academy of Finland and the University of Tampere, Finland, as well as a visiting scholarship fellowship from the HRC. The film is a study in the pedagogical tool of standardized patients:

Standardized patients work with medical students to help them practice their clinical and interpersonal skills in preparation for their medical licensing exams. This documentary is the first in a series dedicated to exploring the tension between standardization and authenticity that is involved in this work, particularly in “breaking bad news.” Ideally such an encounter is deeply human, authentic, and empathic, yet the interaction is also a highly structured simulation governed by clinical protocols and checklists. In this film, standardized patients portray three distinct characters and repertoires of responses, while medical students learn to proceed according to a “breaking bad news” framework. Both sets of participants thus run parallel mental scenarios while the encounter emerges. This film results from an ongoing arts-based research project in medical education, and a research fellowship in the Medical Futures Lab at Rice University in 2016. In this project, the artist-researcher develops cinematic-performative ways to explore both the standardized patients’ work and the medical students’ learning process, and explores how it feels to tell bad news in first-person.

"Scenes of Disclosure" is making the film festival rounds in 2017, and will be available online at a later date.