A home for humanities and the arts

Stanford's Medicine and the Muse program


Medicine and the Muse is the home for the arts and humanities at the Stanford School of Medicine. Audrey Shafer, MD, professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine, founded the program in 2000 and continues to direct it.

The program aims to integrate the arts, humanities and qualitative social sciences into medical education, scholarly endeavors and the practice of medicine. Its many offerings and collaborations include:

Related reading

Healing arts

Pegasus Physician Writers, directed by Hans Steiner, MD, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, for physicians and physicians-in-training to meet and workshop their creative writing. Participants recently wrote poetry read in concert with music performed by the St. Lawrence String Quartet, which is in residence at Stanford.

The Program in Bioethics and Film, which creates films and education programs on important issues in health care. The program’s director, filmmaker-in-residence Maren Grainger Monsen, MD, most recently co-produced and directed The Revolutionary Optimists, about children in Kolkata, India, improving health in the slums and brickfields where they live.

The Stanford Medicine Music Network, which invites musicians and music lovers to come together and share music. The program also collaborates with the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics on its annual “Music and the Brain” conference.

The Biomedical Ethics and Medical Humanities Scholarly Concentration, one of eight foundational areas in which medical students pursue in-depth study and mentorship.

The Literature and Medicine Dinner and Discussion Series, designed and led by Medicine and the Muse assistant director Jacqueline Genovese and clinical assistant professor of medicine Benny Gavi, MD, which brings together Stanford physicians from different backgrounds and specialties to talk about literature and doctoring over a meal.

Medicine and the Muse’s spring symposium, led by clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences Shaili Jain, MD, featuring medical students’ work in the arts and humanities. This year’s event will take place on April 27; the keynote speaker will be David Leventhal, executive director of Dance for PD, a dance program with therapeutic benefits for Parkinson’s patients that is offered worldwide, including at Stanford.