MD Program Opportunities: Arts and Humanities
Life Sciences Orchestra Hill Auditorium

Engage and Reflect

Keeping up with your creative side.

A Balanced Approach

Exposure to the arts and humanities while training to become a doctor helps foster essential skills like compassion, listening and empathy. Participating in artistic endeavors during med school can also help boost mental health, provide an outlet for creative energy and build camaraderie with peers. Our curriculum incorporates personal writing reflection throughout your training, for example, in our Doctoring and Healer’s Art courses. There are many more opportunities to engage with the arts and humanities while you train with us.

Academic Opportunities

For students interested in studying medicine through an artistic lens, there are options to explore in a more formal structure.  

Medical Humanities Path of Excellence

One of the eight co-curricular, longitudinal electives students can apply to join in M1 year, the Medical Humanities Path of Excellence is focused on the connections between medicine and the humanities, and how they intersect when it comes to the patient experience and life as a physician. Students are welcome to develop their Capstone for Impact project in this Path.

Non-Traditional MSTP 

The option to apply for a PhD in the social sciences or humanities along with your MD is ideal for students looking for the flexibility to pursue exactly what they want to study. Current non-traditional MSTP students are pursuing fields as diverse as economics, philosophy and history.  


Extracurricular Opportunities

Whether you are a seasoned performer or poet, or have never made an appearance on stage or shared your writing with anyone, there are several ways to unleash your alter ego in front of an audience:

Biorhythms Solo


This all-medical student a cappella group puts on their own concerts in addition to performing at various events around Michigan Medicine and Ann Arbor. 


An online literary arts journal and blog curated by our med students for all health professions students and future providers as an outlet to showcase their creative sides while expressing their personal truths of training in the health professions.


semi-annual dance showcase that features med students from all four classes performing a variety of styles from ballroom to hip hop. No previous dance experience required. 

Life Sciences Orchestra

symphonic orchestra featuring trainee, staff and faculty members from across Michigan Medicine. Conducted by a member of the U-M School of Music, Theatre and Dance, the LSO performs twice a year in the beautiful Hill Auditorium. 

Students holding colorful painted banner smiling

Medical Arts Program

Our Medical Arts Program is one of only a few such programs in the country that connects students, house officers and faculty to the humanities and the arts through a series of engaging encounters with artists and performers.

Medical Arts Program Artists’ Guild Showcase

Founded by a med student as his Medical Humanities Path CFI project, each MAPAG showcase features an eclectic line-up of med student artists, musicians and dancers. Performances hosted at the Kerrytown Concert House in the fall and spring.


Created by medical students for medical students, MedART is a free longitudinal art therapy class designed to foster imagination and create a space for discussion and creative expression. Sessions will be led by Dr. Katherine Munter, and projects will correspond with wellness discussion topics.

Society for History and Philosophy of Medicine

In partnership with the Center for the History of Medicine, the University of Michigan Society for History and Philosophy of Medicine is a student group engaged with the pressing issues of our time in public health, social medicine, medical humanities, medical ethics, and the history of medicine and science.

The Smoker

For more than 100 years, the Galens Smoker has been a Michigan Medical School tradition where med students take on the roles of their favorite faculty in a farcical fantasy musical performance.

A photo of Kahli Zietlow
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Kahli Zietlow, MD: Building interprofessional teams
Kahli Zietlow, MD, is a clinical assistant professor of internal medicine who specializes in geriatric medicine. Originally from Michigan, she earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan before attending Duke University, where she earned her medical degree and completed her residency and fellowship. Dr. Zietlow returned to U-M in 2020 and is currently the associate director of Interprofessional Education (IPE) at UMMS and the associate program director of the Geriatric Medicine Fellowship. She is passionate about IPE, geriatric medicine and medical education. Read on to learn more about Dr. Zietlow, including her talent as a wildlife photographer!
A woman, Alli Ruff, holds a maize and blue sign that reads #ProudToBeGIM, General Internal Medicine
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Alli Ruff, MD, MHPE: Helping students succeed
Alli Ruff, MD, MHPE is a clinical associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. Originally from Florida, she came to Michigan after earning her MD from the University of Miami and completing an internal medicine residency at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Dr. Ruff loves working with learners at all levels and fills many roles around the medical school. Find out how she faces challenges as a physician and her most important advice for medical students.
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Gabriela Leticia Maica: Breaking through language and cultural barriers
Gabriela Leticia Maica (she/her/ella), pictured far right above, comes from Staten Island, NY.