Med school’s teaching scholar finds inspiration in the humanities

April 8, 2013 11:15 AM

Arthur Nead

Dr. Chad S. Miller, assistant professor of clinical medicine, is the recipient of the 2013 Teaching Scholar Award at the Tulane School of Medicine. Miller’s innovations in introducing future generations of medical school faculty to best practices in teaching were central in his being selected to receive the honor.

Dr. Chad Miller

Dr. Chad S. Miller, this year’s recipient of the medical school’s Teaching Scholar Award, teaches medical students reasoning and observation skills. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

Miller, who received his medical degree in 2004 and completed his residency at Tulane, is director of student programs for the Department of Medicine and the department’s clerkship director. Of the courses he teaches, Miller says, “the clinical clerkship is the big one. That’s when the students start doing their clinical rotations, when they actually go into the hospital.”
Miller teaches several elective courses coordinating with the clinical experience, including one on clinical problem solving that tests students’ knowledge of medicine and reasoning skills. In another, Miller trains students how to be effective teachers of medicine. He provides the same training for current faculty in the School of Medicine.
One course called Advanced Art and Practice of Internal Medicine targets fourth-year medical students. “It’s an opportunity for them to gain knowledge and learn from the humanities,” says Miller. “They do a lot of reading, and we go to the New Orleans Museum of Art where they work on their observational skills. They look at details in paintings, interpreting what they see, and what the artist might have been trying to convey.
“It’s practice in observation in another setting, one outside the medical arena, and the students really seem to enjoy it,” Miller says. “We take something from our colleagues in the art world who are very good at this and bring it back with us to the hospital.”
The Office of Medical Education presents the Teaching Scholar Award annually. Recipients of the award are inducted into the medical school’s Society of Teaching Scholars.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu