The Medicine and Humanities Program offers activities that allow students to express their creativity and artistic talents, and electives that foster critical thinking about ethical issues and the role of physicians in society.


Murmurs magazine

Murmurs Magazine, a student initiative, aims to re-imagine the clinical practice of medicine and revisit the humanistic and spiritual elements of healing. It was started in 2012 as an avenue for medical student and resident artists from across Canada to publish literary and visual works of art exploring the human side of medicine. In subsequent years, and with the strong support of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine, the magazine has produced three in-print editions, curated an active online forum and been presented at several national conferences. This past year, the magazine celebrated a burgeoning partnership between Ottawa and Shanghai with its third edition entitled ‘East meets West’. The Murmurs team hopes to continue a tradition of publishing creative medical pieces for many years to come.

Murmurs team in Ottawa: Faculty of Medicine Undergraduate Medical Education students Agata Dzwonek, Andrea Zumrova, AiLi Wang, Elizabeth Morrison.

Murmurs team in Shanghai: Mingjun Gu, Shengming Wang, Yirui Shen, Yuanyuan Zou.

A web link and ISBN library publication number are being created by Talia Chung and the University of Ottawa Library.

Annual medical student art show and artists’ book

The annual Medical Student Art Show, organized by the Arts in Medicine Interest Group (AIM), is an event established for medical students of all years to express their creativity and artistic talents. The Art Show allows medical students to use visual arts to communicate the life experiences and knowledge that they have gained during their medical school journey and beyond.

In 2016, the theme of the art show was “Discovery” and its link to medicine. Discovery is experienced by the human life in various forms. Each individual engages in a journey of self-discovery every day as they try to identify and understand themselves. We often ask ourselves, “who are we? What is our purpose in life? What defines us? What makes us unique?”

Discovery is also the cornerstone of medicine. Medicine is an ever-changing field and new discoveries are constantly being made through the development of better medications and higher standards of patient care. As medical students, we learn to engage in these new discoveries as we strive to provide a higher quality of care to our patients and embark on our path to becoming competent and well-rounded physicians.

The AIM editorial board for 2015-16 consists of the following University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine Undergraduate Medical Education students: Melissa Maltez, Tetyana Maniuk, Nikhat Nawar and AiLi Wang.

Arts-in-Medicine (AIM)

AIM is an interest group for uOttawa medical students to show off their artistic talents and creativity through participation in fun events such as MedShow, coffee houses, workshops, art shows and Murmurs Magazine. Furthermore, students are able to share their art skills and knowledge with others and explore the connection between the arts and medicine. The students have put together am unofficial Facebook page of their own, centred on arts in medicine.


Name of the elective: Medicine and the Humanities

Supervisor: Dr.  Michel Shamy, Director of the Medicine and the Humanities program

Place: Roger Guindon Hall, University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine

Duration: Five days, mornings and afternoons

Number of students: 10-15 students

Availability: Offered in both English and French: January 23rd to February 3rd, 2023

Contact: [email protected]. Tel.: 613 562-5800 x 8092


In this elective, participants will: 

  1. Reflect critically about the doctor’s roles and responsibilities towards society, as a person and as a health care provider.
  2. Reflect critically to better understand complex ethical issues.
  3. Explain the repercussions of the doctor’s and the patient’s values and perceptions in the care context, taking into consideration the meaning of the patient’s history and its interpretation.
  4. Explore texts in philosophy, anthropology and cognitive sciences in order to better structure their thoughts and build valid arguments.
  5. Improve the observation and listening skills they need for medical practice by writing to reflect on their own clinical experience.


This elective will help students to acquire the knowledge, skills and abilities relevant to clinical medicine by exploring the psychosocial aspects of medicine, ethics, the patient-doctor relationship, as well as the caregiver’s and the patient’s values. Students will also have the opportunity to develop their capacity for observation as well as their reflective and communication skills. They will explore their role as health care professionals in light of concepts derived from social and human sciences. They will gain a larger view of medical practice, beyond purely clinical abilities.

Training entails participation in interactive workshops, writing sessions, discussions, observation of artwork, reading of philosophical texts and completion of online self-learning modules.


Develop better tolerance for the uncertainty associated with health care delivery by addressing different views of the body and the spirit through the appreciation of philosophy, sociology and anthropology.

With the help of narrative medicine, listen more attentively to the patient’s history to better understand him/her.

Capacity to reconcile and integrate the scientific approach to illness by identifying cultural and social determinants of health and by exploring significant cases from medical history.

Develop clinical observation skills by observing works of art to understand the multiple interpretations that could show up in medical practice.

Develop collaborative relationships with peers.

Engage in reflective practice and creative expression to improve wellbeing.

Broaden approach to medicine beyond the biomedical aspect.


This elective offers 40 credits for the Medicine and the Humanities program. To be authorized to include a special mention in the Medical Student Performance Record (MSPR), the student will need to accumulate a minimum of 100 credit hours or obtain a Certificate of Merit in Medicine and the Humanities after accumulating 125 credits, and complete a special project.