SOM Student Organization ‘Art in Medicine’ Expands Access | Arts and entertainment

Students at Wayne State School of Medicine have expanded their organization to include programs for medical students to practice their artistic ventures.

Arts in Medicine is a student organization within SOM dedicated to providing medical students with the means to practice their art, said President Ashley Kramer.

“The purpose of the Art in Medicine student organization is to facilitate creative thinking skills important to our careers as future physicians and to provide a creative outlet for students who enjoy artistic endeavors,” Kramer said.

Kramer and a former classmate, Manpreet Kaur, formed the organization in 2018 when they both applied to be student art gallery coordinators at SOM, Kramer said.

Art coordinator Mazurek was responsible for displaying artwork in the Education Commons third-floor art gallery, but Kramer said she is interested in more artistic ventures.

“We decided that we really wanted to do more and create a formal organization that would celebrate science and art as complementary to each other,” Kramer said.

The organization evolved as events for medical students interested in the arts.

Some AIM events focus on skeleton, anatomy, curves, shadows, tying surgical knots and other medical topics that can be practiced through art.

Vice President Karthik Sreedasyam said AIM focuses on bridging arts and medical sciences so that students can understand both perspectives. Sreedasyam said he practiced these skills in the figure drawing program.

“One of the most memorable (events) for me was the live figure drawing event that we did where we had nude models and figure drawing instructors,” said Sridasyam. “Seeing the contours and shadows of a person . . . gives much dimension and value to empirical knowledge.”

Medical student and executive board member Tabassum Chaudhary said that she started participating in the AIM program in her first year of medical school because she enjoyed art in high school.

“The first (AIM) event I went to was during my orientation week and we painted some dishes, and I really liked the vibe,” Chowdhury said. “So I used to go to events and they were really fun.”

Kramer said the organization is a good resource for medical students who need a break from their studies.

Other AIM programs include collaborations with other student organizations to celebrate different cultures through arts and crafts.

“We want to do a lot of themes for a lot of different ethnic holidays and celebrations that center around the fall (semester), partnering with a lot of different groups,” Kramer said.

Sridasyam said having an artistic background is valuable in the medical field.

“I think creativity is often not highlighted as valuable in medicine, but this institution has shown me time and time again how looking at the same text through a different lens can provide multiple perspectives,” Sridasyam said.

AIM teamed up with the Latino Medical Student Association to paint festive divas for the Diwali holiday, celebrate the art of Frida Khalo, and LGBT People in Medicine.

Chowdhury said programs that provide arts activities to families piqued her interest in pediatrics and other specialties. She said AIM events bring a sense of humanity to growing medical practitioners.

“I’ve always had mentors who said, ‘Hold on to what makes you human.’ To me, that’s art. . . . So I’m holding on to all these things that make me human,” Chowdhury said.


Shawntay Lewis is the arts and entertainment editor for South End. He can be reached at [email protected]

Cover photo of surgical knot art by first- and second-year WSU School of Medicine medical students with Art in Medicine in partnership with Surgery Interest Group, provided by AIM President Ashley Kramer.

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