A Miller School student blends artistry with ophthalmology
By Margy Rockwood
Miller School student Courtney Goodman
he Miller School’s NextGenMD curriculum offers 13 pathways of emphasis designed to broaden students’ perspectives and equip them with skills to tackle future health care challenges.
For Courtney Goodman, an artist and aspiring ophthalmologist, opting into the ethics, humanities and health law pathway was a no-brainer. She joined fellow students in pursuing research and group discussions about medical ethics and created a capstone project that integrated art and medicine.
“We know that empathy, unfortunately, dwindles throughout medical school. Having a way to build on and explore the humanism involved in medicine is key to combating this,” said Melissa Fellman, M.D., assistant professor of neurology and director of the pathway.
Goodman created four pieces for her project; two, including an acrylic painting, “The Anterior Chamber” (photo), relate to her chosen field of ophthalmology, which she sees as a logical blend of her love of the visual arts, her attention to detail and her desire to help people recover their vision.
“In ophthalmology, many diagnoses are made by visually identifying often very subtle findings,” Goodman said. “And when performing eye surgeries, you have to be able to use your hands to do very intricate work. In my painting, the painstaking layering of colors and then putting in the finest details became kind of a rite of passage for me in my career choice.”
According to Dr. Fellman, an important part of the pathway is helping students navigate the ups and downs of being a doctor.
“You will be confronted with some of the toughest parts of life — patients dying, patients suffering,” she said. “You have to acquire the tools to be able to take care of yourself while you are taking care of other people.”