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Arts And Humanities Important For Patient Health

Media release
February 11, 2005

Arts And Humanities Important For Patient Health

A visiting leading English clinical professor and Vice Chancellor of the University of Durham says the presence good art and an attractive ambience are vital for the health and well-being of patients in hospitals.

Professor Sir Kenneth Calman is visiting New Zealand until the 17th of February as a guest of the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Otago. While in Christchurch he will present three public lectures on medicine and the arts, along with clinical teaching, and meetings with University staff and management.

“I believe that the arts are of benefit to sick people, and health providers need to consider how this therapeutic effect can be used throughout the health system,” he says.

“ I also think that an understanding of the arts and humanities is very important in medical education, producing doctors who have more understanding of people and patients.”

Sir Kenneth will be viewing art in Christchurch Hospital on Friday February 11 from 2-3pm

Sir Kenneth’s longstanding interest in art and health is reflected in his involvement in art trusts in hospitals in the UK. The Trusts support the purchase of artworks to be hung in hospitals and medical centres.

Sir Kenneth has had a distinguished career in medicine, academia, and health care administration. He will also meet the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Otago, Professor David Skegg, and Health Department Managers in Wellington to discuss the development of postgraduate medical education.

Among his many responsibilities over the last decade have been Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health (UK), Chair of the Board of the World Health Organisation(WHO), and Chair of the European Environment and Health Committee.

He has also written seven books and over 100 scientific papers. His current academic interests are in risk, storytelling, ethics and education.

Sir Kenneth Calman is delivering two lectures today: “The Development of Medical Education- Past/Present/Future” at 12.30pm in the Rolleston Lecture Theatre, and “Art, Humanities and Wellness” at 6.45pm at the Great Hall in the Arts Centre.


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