Dr Bambi Rakhel Ward

Medical Education Consultant|Author & Speaker

Month: April 2016

The Power of Art in Healing

Back in the early 2000s, I organised for Doctors training to be General Practitioners (or Family Doctors) to go on a field trip to a gallery of psychiatric art in Melbourne.  These doctors were known as GP registrars, and my role was that of Medical Educator/Senior Lecturer.

The visit was seen to be a radical idea at the time, and my boss needed a fair bit of convincing as to why registrars should be spending time doing this, rather than learning more practical things. However I was very aware that art and other humanities such as literature were being used increasingly in medical education to gain insights into patients’ experiences of illness and to foster empathy.

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An Inspiring Collaboration

The highlight of my almost daily cultural experiences in Melbourne last week was seeing the play ‘Bright World’ at Theatreworks in St.Kilda. I was fortunate to win two free tickets to see it, but I was planning to see it anyway. The play is a collaboration between two female playwrights – Elise Hearst and Andrea James. They both star in the production and play multiple characters (including themselves).

The play was inspirational, especially because of the way it modelled a cross-cultural collaboration. Elise is a Melbourne-based Jewish woman whose Austrian paternal grandparents escaped the Nazis in 1938. Andrea is a Sydney based great-great-niece of William Cooper – a Yorta Yorta Aboriginal activist who led a groundbreaking protest over the Nazis’ treatment of Jews in Europe after Kristallnacht in 1938. During the protest, William Cooper and supporters of the Aboriginal Advancement League marched to the doors of Melbourne’s German Consulate. What makes the protest even more remarkable to me is that it was done at a time when Aboriginal people were experiencing immense persecution themselves. They didn’t even have voting rights.

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A very busy week.

Are you one of those people who dislikes missing out on things?

I am.

I also love variety, so I have many interests. Here they are, in no particular order: writing, reading, family and friends, travel, oral history, Indigenous health, teaching Torah from a mystical perspective, and geneology.

It can be hard to prioritise them, so I sometimes end up having a very busy week. That’s what happened last week. By the weekend, all I wanted to do was recharge my batteries. I knew a shot of fresh air from Mt Dandenong would do the trick, so off I went.

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Opposites Attract.

They say that opposites attract, right?

My husband, Michael, and I are a great example of that. He’s patient; I’m not. He often runs late; I like being on time or early. I love reading books; he uses his ipad on the rare occasions that he reads a book. He’s into I.T.; I’m not. I’m very organised; he’s not. He’s a bit of a hoarder; I like to chuck things out. He loves rally car driving; I have no interest in it whatsoever.

And yet, we’re still together after 34 years of marriage.  We love each other and our values and priorities are essentially the same. Sometimes we go off and do our own thing for a while, but we always come back to doing things that we enjoy together.

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