Miller School Educator Honored as Gold Humanism Scholar
Gauri Agarwal, M.D., associate professor of medicine and associate dean for curriculum at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, has been honored as a Gold Humanism Scholar for her work in integrating the humanities and artificial intelligence in medical education. She is one of two U.S. educators who will advance their studies this year at the Harvard Macy Institute Program for Educators in the Health Professions with support from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.
As a Gold Humanism Scholar, Dr. Agarwal will continue her work on “The HUMANN Project: The Humanities Underpinning Machines and Artificial Neural Networks,” at the Harvard institute.
“The goal of this project is to develop a longitudinal curriculum in which medical and nursing students learn about the key applications and limitations of artificial intelligence (AI) in clinical practice,” said Dr. Agarwal. “It will underscore the importance of human judgment, observation, communication skills, empathy and de-biasing when utilizing AI tools in the care of patients.”
Futuristic Technology, Humanistic Perspective
Noting that the AI field continues to grow at a rapid pace, Dr. Agarwal said, “There are concerns that physicians and nurses could overly rely on AI algorithms, which might weaken the patient relationship. However, AI can be helpful in improving communication and increasing time at the bedside.
“The automation of routine tasks and the thoughtful leveraging of AI and the medical humanities can improve the well-being of health care professionals, thereby allowing them to offer more humanistic and compassionate care to patients.”
Dr. Agarwal believes that activities such as observing art, listening to music, and writing narratives can play a role in medical and nursing education. At the Miller School, she is developing a curriculum for medical and nursing students that incorporates the humanities to cultivate empathy in patient care.
“This curriculum is aligned with our health system’s mission to deliver high-quality, compassionate care while promoting the health and well-being of our community,” she noted.
Advancing the Art of Medicine
For instance, last year’s incoming class spent a day at the Lowe Art Museum, discussing the artwork with teams of their peers. “Students would pick up more details about a piece as they spent more time examining the work,” Dr. Agarwal said. “They also learned how to facilitate a conversation, engage in active listening and value each other’s varied perspectives, demonstrating the power of the humanities to build patient-centered skills in a low-pressure environment.”
Dr. Agarwal is a member of the Gold Humanism Honor Society and serves as a faculty advisor for the society’s University of Miami chapter. She is also a 2017 recipient of the Gold Foundation’s Leonard Tow Award for Humanism in Medicine.
Each year the Gold Foundation selects health care educators for this prestigious scholarship whose work helps develop or evaluate educational projects focused on humanistic patient care. The projects must be replicable across health care settings to further amplify their impact. The nursing education recipient was Hannah Murphy Buc, Ph.D., R.N., a University of Maryland professor who is developing a “Restorative Justice Student Leadership Program” for undergraduate nursing students.
“With so many outside forces impacting health care today, it’s critical that we continue to ensure humanism is embedded in new innovations and empowered by new tools,” said Ann Bruder, associate vice president of programs at the Gold Foundation. “Drs. Agarwal and Murphy Buc will be tackling topics that are key areas for the future of humanistic health care. Their commitment to ensuring inclusivity, compassion and respect for patients, families, health care clinicians and colleagues is palpable throughout their work.”