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The Fundamental Role of Arts and Humanities in Medical Education

Arts and humanities are essential to the human experience and their benefits to medical education go far beyond joys and pleasures.

Logo for the Fundamental Role of Arts and Humanities in Medical Education

By integrating arts and humanities throughout medical education, trainees and physicians can learn to be better observers and interpreters; and build empathy, communication and teamwork skills, and more.

The AAMC is committed to supporting the integration of arts and humanities.

Through the Fundamental Role of Arts and Humanities in Medical Education (FRAHME), we will provide resources to help medical educators start, develop, and/or improve the use of arts and humanities in their teaching. 

Subscribe to the FRAHME Newsletter

The bi-monthly AAMC FRAHME newsletter is for anyone interested in learning more about integrating arts and humanities into medical education.


The Fundamental Role of Arts and Humanities in Medical Education monograph

Our monograph, The Fundamental Role of the Arts and Humanities in Medical Education, provides an in-depth overview of the role arts and humanities play in educating a physician workforce to meet 21st-century health care needs, including enhancing the patient experience, improving population health, reducing costs, and promoting clinician well-being.

Download report

Getting Started Guide for Arts and Humanities in Medical Education

The Getting Started Guide is designed for educators who are new to incorporating arts and humanities into their programs, courses, or curricula. The Guide provides specific ideas and examples for integrating the arts and humanities into competency-based medical education as well as general guidance on logistics such as finding partners, selecting material and connecting with others.

Read Guide

The Art of Diagnosis

Each year, the AAMC, the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM), and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation invite proposals from medical schools to host an event where undergraduate medical students have the opportunity to present creative works related to their experiences with diagnosis, diagnostic error, or learning the diagnostic process. Several schools are selected each year to receive a $5,000 grant to host their event.

The schools selected for awards in 2023 were Albany Medical College, San Juan Bautista School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. 

In 2022, AAMC hosted a virtual forum with representatives from each of that year's awarded schools: Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, Morehouse School of Medicine, and University of Toledo College of Medicine. Representatives presented summaries of their events and selected work from medical student artists and writers.

Watch forum

AAMC collects stories and poetry from healthcare professionals

In partnership with StoryCorps, The Good Listening Project, and the National Endowment for the Arts, the AAMC collected hundreds of contributions to our story sharing project. This project took place in 2020 and 2021 and offered a way for physicians, residents, and medical students to reflect on the uncertainty surrounding the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustice. Some prevailing themes of these contributions were disconnection, hope and gratitude, and grief and loss.

Our article, “Bearing Witness: Storytelling by Healthcare Professionals and Learners During Times of Uncertainty,” describes the project in more detail. You can also access original creative submissions:

Scoping Review

The AAMC commissioned a scoping review of arts and humanities in medical education that has resulted in three articles:

Grants Program

The AAMC has awarded eight $25,000 grants to U.S.-based member medical schools and teaching hospitals working on arts and humanities programs. These grantees will evaluate the impact of existing integrative arts and humanities programs or curricula across the continuum of medical education (undergraduate, graduate, continuing medical education). 

Read about the Awardees

Weaving Humanities and Arts into the Fabric of Medicine

In December 2020, the AAMC collaborated with the National Academics of Science, Engineering and Medicine to host a virtual event on the unique and valuable role the arts and humanities can play in medicine, medical education, and clinician wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The event featured a tapestry of activities and demonstrations that showcase current, integrative arts and humanities approaches to teaching and learning in medicine.

Watch the Recording

More on arts and humanities in medical education


Learning about history, visual and performing arts, and literature can help physicians develop empathy and professionalism.

  • Aug. 15, 2017

Want to be a better doctor? Medical improv transforms goofy theater games into serious skills like empathy, teamwork, and super-quick thinking.

  • Jan. 13, 2020

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in publications and related programming or products do not necessarily represent those of these organizations.

National Endowment for the Arts (arts.gov) Logo
National Endowment for the Humanities
Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation
Corporation for Public Broadcasting logo