Creative Arts

“The idea of the practice of medicine as an art is not new.”
—Dr. Molly O’Dell, assistant professor, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

Since the early Greek philosophers waxed poetic about their scientific theories, art and science have been intertwined. This kinship extends to the field of medicine, where being a caring health provider involves as much art as science.

At the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, faculty and students embrace the arts and the roles it can play in both education and the practice of medicine. With that idea in mind, the Creativity in Health Education Program was launched to expand the social, cultural, and humanistic awareness of the school’s students, faculty, and staff by integrating the arts into their daily routines. The program also serves as a way to involve community members in the life of the school.

The program accomplishes these goals through a variety of events. Most prominent thus far have been the regular art shows kicked off by public openings of the different exhibits. Local and national artists have contributed to the shows, as have Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine medical students, faculty members, and their families. As of the fall of 2015, 12 different shows have been unveiled in the halls of the medical school, some of which have been professionally curated, but all of which have been well received. The artwork not only enriches the space of the medical school’s physical space, it also imparts the humanistic side of medicine on students and those who work in the building.

Early in 2013 another major initiative was launched by the program – an annual poetry writing competition open to medical students, master of fine arts students at Virginia Tech, undergraduate students at Virginia Tech, and members of the Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health program. With special guest judges, monetary awards, and celebration events in downtown Roanoke, the inaugural program received many excellent submissions and looks to build in the future.

The program also co-sponsors events with other regional organizations from time to time. One example is a recent lecture from John Bramblitt, an internationally renowned painter who lost his sight early on in his life and before he began his career as an artist. Besides the inspirational lecture, a live painting session took place with the resulting work featured in the subsequent art show at the medical school.

As it was put by David Trinkle, associate dean for community culture and committee member of the Creativity in Health Education Program, “Art can enhance a person’s adaption to illness as well as promote recovery. John’s message reinforces this holistic, patient-centered approach to health care that we teach our students.


Past Art Shows

Spring 2017: Research in the Abstract
Artists collaborate with researchers in new art show at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

Fall 2016: Our Valley: A Healthy Place to Live? Exhibit to showcase photography in pursuit of public health

Spring 2016: Recent Observations and Discoveries
Art show captures commonality between art, science, and medicine

Fall 2015: Scarred for Life
Exhibit to showcase the healing power of art based on human scars

Spring 2015: The Art of Precision and Reach Exhibit seeks to capture the power of art in fostering empathy

Winter 2014: Medical Avatar: The Health Time Machine
Art exhibit to feature medical avatars

Fall 2014: Life Is Beautiful
Art show to feature unexpected beauty in everyday life

Spring 2014: The Art of Science and the Science of Art
Art show to explore intersection of science and art

Fall 2013
Drama, beauty, nostalgia expressed in Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine art show

Summer 2013: Creativity and Mental Health
Art exhibit explores creativity and mental health

Spring 2013
Art exhibition offers a range of subjects, from dancing egrets to nature abstractions

Fall 2012: What's Inside?
Art exhibition explores interpretations of what’s inside the human body

Spring 2012
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine art show features work by faculty, staff, and their families

Fall 2011
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine hosts an art show featuring local artists and medical students

Spring 2011
Creativity in Health Education Program invites public to the inaugural art show