Artists with autism, Down syndrome teach lesson on caring to UCLA medical students

UCLA Health article
(Note to editors: Digital images of artwork available upon request.)
Artists from a center for adults with developmental disabilities will debut a remarkable exhibit of self-portraits to medical students as part of the Doctoring Program, a four-year curriculum pioneered at UCLA to train medical students how to become compassionate caregivers. 
The event will introduce medical students to adults who can't always communicate verbally with their physicians. What can we learn about these people by exploring their art?
The exhibit takes place as third-year students are studying brain disorders, neurology and psychiatry. The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA is the first U.S. medical school to integrate art into its educational curriculum as a tool for teaching empathy to future doctors.
Among the participants:
LuAnn Wilkerson
Wilkerson, senior associate dean of education at the Geffen School of Medicine, planned the innovative curriculum. She hopes the art series will help students see the world in new ways and serve as a bridge to understanding people with all types of illness. 
Debra Emerson
Emerson is the executive director of St. Madeleine Sophie's Center, a San Diego day center for adults with developmental disabilities.
Wendy Morris
Morris is the administrator of Sophie's Gallery at St. Madeleine Sophie's Center, whose talented students create enough art to stock three stores with combined annual sales of $100,000.
Clayton Hauer
Hauer is a Sophie's artist eager to introduce the students to "Dr. Reality," the shapely blonde protagonist he created and most likes to paint. 
Tim Conaway
Conaway is a Sophie's artist who draws precise places in time, such as the steam locomotives he saw at age 3 in Yuma, or a lake in Finland's southern hills in August. He will demonstrate his technique during the exhibit. 
Ted Meyer
Meyer, artist-in-residence at the Geffen School of Medicine, curates the two-year series of rotating exhibits. He spent his childhood in hospitals for treatment of Gaucher's disease. Now healthy, the Los Angeles artist devotes himself to sensitizing future doctors to the patient's point of view. 
Thursday, Jan. 27, noon to 1:30 p.m. 
(The artists will answer students' questions as they socialize over pizza and view 22 portraits in the lobby, after a half-hour presentation by Sophie's staff.) 
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Learning Resource Center (Room 1440)
700 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles 90095
Elaine Schmidt, [email protected], 310-794-2272
To reserve complimentary parking, R.S.V.P. by 10 a.m. Thursday to the media contact.  Passenger vehicles should park in Lot 9. Oversized vehicle parking must be arranged in advance.
Media Contact:
Elaine Schmidt
(310) 794-2272
[email protected]

Related Content


Media Contact

Elaine Schmidt
(310) 794-2272
[email protected]