Workshop Abstract

Medical Improv

How can we harness the power of health humanities and medical improv to enhance our classrooms and clinics? Find out at this workshop!

Presenter: Hartley Jafine


The Problem

Health humanities and medical improv, which are incredibly valuable pedagogical tools for faculty development, enhancing health education, leadership, and wellness are often offered as extra-curricular experience rather than core curriculum.

The Approach

Applied improv is an effective learning approach that fosters a more authentic understanding of the complexities of and development of clinical competencies and health education. Applied improv offers a deep type of self-reflection (Schon) that enables participants to engage in the learning process through experiential learning (Kolb). Further, learners are able to engage with uncertainty and reflect on their own learning through embodied exercises designed to enhance clinical skills, identify personal bias, and raises critical consciousness. 

Specifically within health professions education, ‘medical improv’ (Watson), the purposeful use of improvisational theatre principles and training techniques in education is gaining increasing attention and the presenter has over a decade of experience facilitating theatre workshops and courses within medical and health science education.

The core principles of play theory (Sutton-Smith) will be explored, with emphasis placed on maintaining a low stakes and supportive environment and highlight how applied improv and theatre supports a wide range of learning needs through a creative and open-ended facilitation style. Further, initial research/evaluation of medical improv curriculums will be highlighted as well as and future implications of the results for medical education.

Instructional Methods

For all health care professionals, clinical interactions and patient encounters combine performance and unpredictable situations (Watson, K. 2011). In this workshop, the participants will engage with the practice of applied theatre through specific exercises. Each exercise will be followed by a reflective debrief and investigation of its application to faculty development. The workshop will provide a space for participants to think creatively on their feet, develop an awareness of body language, enhance relationships with each other, and raise personal awareness.  At the end of this session participants will understand the benefits of incorporating theatre and improv into medicine and learn techniques and potential application of engaging with theatre in their own educational spaces.