Professor’s work illustrates potential of medical humanities for healing
Author: Creighton University PR
Published On: 09/10/2020
Rachel Mindrup, MFA, knows better than most that the artist’s eye has a place in a medical setting.
Mindrup, assistant professor in the Creighton University College of Arts and Sciences, has, for the last 10 years, been using her talents as an artist to paint Many Faces of NF, a series of portraits of people with neurofibromatosis (NF), a genetic condition that causes tumors to grow in and on the body.The project is a personal one for Mindrup, whose son was diagnosed with NF when he was less than a year old.
The portrait series is one way in which Mindrup has worked at the intersection of the humanities and medicine, an endeavor she will continue in her new role as Creighton’s first Deming Endowed Chair in Medical Humanities. The post, established by Iowa radiation oncologist and Creighton alumnus Richard Deming, MD’80, is part of the newly formed Department of Medical Humanities in Creighton’s School of Medicine.
In her new role, Mindrup will work with a combination of medical and humanities faculty as they train medical students in the liberal arts with the goal of forming well-rounded and empathetic physicians.
“We talk about cura personalis, but this isn’t just talking about it, this is using Dr. Deming’s gift to us to foster it,” Mindrup says. “In the School of Medicine, we don’t just want to graduate skilled technicians. We want a physician who’s also going to be thoughtful and care for each patient as an individual person. We want to emphasize that the idea of healing goes way beyond just the physiological.”