A Scholarly Approach to Including Humanities in DPT Education


To demonstrate and develop evidence-based instructional methods and assessment strategies for use of the humanities within physical therapy education.

Methods and/or Description of Project

Evidence demonstrates that art-based instruction delivered through the humanities enhances health professions students’ observation skills, team building, attitudes, and communication. 1-3 We will introduce the addition of humanities into health professions education by means of a sociomaterial conceptual model. This model notes that interactions between objects and humans mutually transforms the properties and activities of each.4 This experiential course will provide specific curriculum descriptions and brainstorming opportunities as to how to humanities (visual, narrative, musical, video recorded, theatrical, poetic art) are incorporated into physical therapy education, ultimately to transform students' actions and behaviors. Participants of this session will have opportunities to develop their own humanities-based instructional strategies and materials for implementation in their academic and/or clinical settings.


Course facilitators will provide examples and descriptions of current humanities curriculum including strategies for instructional design and assessment as well as devote time for participants to collaboratively explore opportunities for curricular inclusion of the humanities within their home institutions. At the completion of the session, participants will have compiled instructional plans and activities (by word, images audio, or video recordings) to utilize and disseminate in home institutions. Participants will also be enocouraged to share curricular humanities ideas and successes onto the publicly shared American Council on Academic Physical Therapy’s Consortium of Humanities, Ethics, and Professionalism (CHEP) repository website.

Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Through the Looking Glass: Transforming Physical Therapy Education

One of the pillars of the ELC conference is Humanities: Bringing art and evidence into PT education. This course will specifically address evidence, describe instructional strategies, and explore curricular content involving the incorporation of Humanities’ into physical therapy education. Contributions to and dissemination onto the CHEP resource repository will increase the capacity of educators to develop and implement evidence-based humanities practice into the curriculum.


1. Katz, J. T., & Khoshbin, S. (2014). Can visual arts training improve physician performance? Trans Am Clin Climatol Assoc, 125, 331-341; discussion 341-332.
2. Pellico, L. H., Friedlaender, L., & Fennie, K. P. (2009). Looking is not seeing: using art to improve observational skills. J Nurs Educ, 48(11), 648-653. doi:10.3928/01484834-20090828-02
3. Klugman, C. M., Peel, J., & Beckmann-Mendez, D. (2011). Art Rounds: teaching interprofessional students visual thinking strategies at one school. Acad Med, 86(10), 1266-1271. doi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e31822c1427
4. Fenwick, T. (2014). Sociomateriality in medical practice and learning: attuning to what matters. Med Educ, 48(1), 44-52. doi:10.1111/medu.12295

Course Objectives

Following this instructional course, the learner will:
Identify a theoretical model and existing humanities evidence related to healthcare education.
Describe the purpose of humanities in physical therapy education.
Generate humanities instruction, implementation, and assessment strategies for DPT education.
Develop 1-2 potential resource materials for future use in class and/or clinical settings.

Instructional Methods

Instructional methods will involve the use of lecture, small and large group brainstorming, experiential activities and introduction to the CHEP repository for public use.

Tentative Outline/Schedule

0-10 minutes: Theoretical model and evidence supporting implementation of humanities into healthcare education.
11-30 minutes: Descriptions and demonstrations of current humanities practices implemented into physical therapy education.
31-60 minutes: Small group activities developing instructional strategies involving the humanities in physical therapy education.
61-80 minutes: Small group report to large group with encouragement to share through the CHEP repository.
81-90 minutes: Questions and discussion.

BACK to Abstract Results

  • Control #: 2750208
  • Type: Educational Session
  • Event/Year: ELC2017
  • Authors: Cynthia Dodds, Ms. Amber Fitzsimmons, Donna Smith
  • Keywords:

BACK to Abstract Results