Date of Award

January 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)



First Advisor

Cindy A. Crusto


The Liaison Committee on Medical Education has identified training on cross cultural interaction and bias as high-priority topics. There has been little published on the use of fine art, specifically painting or sculpture, as a means of entry into discussion on issues of bias in medicine relating to race, gender, and other identities. Making the Invisible Visible (MIV) is a 3-hour, guided museum tour that uses art observation to facilitate dialogue about biases embedded in Western culture as well as their influence on personal and professional interaction. The tour uses intersectionality and critical pedagogy as theoretical frameworks to approach multiple dimensions of identity and oppression simultaneously. We hypothesized that MIV will promote the cognitive dissonance needed to develop critical consciousness as it relates to historical origins of bias in medicine.

MIV has been incorporated into the Yale School of Medicine’s first year curriculum since fall 2015. Data was gathered immediately after each MIV session for student groups within the first-year class. Data was collected using evaluation surveys from the entire class as well as three volunteer focus group interviews. The focus groups were analyzed by a two-person research team. Of the 74 surveys collected (71% response rate), 78% considered MIV above average (38%) or excellent (40%). Focus groups revealed appreciation for the topic and the use of art. Students acknowledged their own biases and reported a deeper understanding of how biases inform systemic oppression. Although some students admitted to self-censorship, all greatly appreciated peer perspectives that were offered. All participants recognized the need to continue the dialogue throughout medical training. While demonstrating art observation as a viable tool for discussing bias in healthcare, MIV has highlighted a desire for more curricular content on the subject and offered a potential framework for future discussions.


This thesis is restricted to Yale network users only. It will be made publicly available on 05/29/2021