An Intersection of Art and Medicine

close up of tree against sky
Photo by Pixabay on

Welcome to the Art of Medicine! I am Tianyi Wang, a current senior in college and planning to pursue a career in medicine. After three years of working hard at a top Ivy League university, and then obtaining a 99 percentile MCAT score after an initial setback, I have realized this year how much I need art. I need to sing once and a while to release emotions. I need to write when my mind is in disarray — to somehow organize the cacophony of thoughts. And this year, I have decided to revisit fine art. So far, drawing has been amazing at further understanding the human condition and human anatomy. I am inspired to be more observant and aware of my surroundings, and to see the beauty of what is around me.

This site was created to increase awareness of art’s role in healing. Research by Robert Ulrich, from Texas A&M University, found that viewing natural scenes in a hospital helps stress recovery in patients by reducing negative emotions, increasing positive emotions, and reducing stressful thoughts. Clinical indicators show that blood pressure & pain, patient/family satisfaction, length of stay all improved. In fact, viewing universally preferred scenes like a sunset, trees, blue sky activates an opiate rich pathway, which creates a natural “morphine-like” high. Patients who looked at pictures of nature used weaker painkillers than those who looked at abstract art, or nothing. Here’s the source of this information: Health Outcomes of Viewing Art

But I want to emphasize not only art’s power in aiding patients, but also its palliative role for the healer. In order to be an effective mentor and healer for others, one has to master self-care. I have too many premed friends who are constantly stressed, not eating right, not exercising, adopting negative mindsets.

So first, Art of Medicine is the platform for a project in the making: providing natural scenery art pieces to patients who are terminally ill, mentally and emotionally unwell, and bed-bound.

And secondly, it is a place in which I blog about life as a premed, tips on staying sane as a preprofessional in healthcare, how to get good grades without losing your identity in other areas of life, etc. Also, on a post each Friday called “Friday Sketches,” I’ll share my current drawing/painting project or completed works. I hope it will inspire others out there — whether actively struggling with an illness or not— to take some time out of a seemingly too hectic lifestyle, and create something beautiful and meaningful to you.