Doctor discusses art, clinical diagnosis of observation
Department Chair of Dermatology at the Baylor College of Medicine Dr. John E. Wolf Jr. paid a visit to UH on April 14 to lecture about “The Art of Observation,” a part of a series of programs that examines methods of observation from art historians and physicians.
The series was developed by the Blaffer Art Museum and The Honors College in collaboration with the Houston Methodist Center for Performing Arts Medicine and Baylor College of Medicine.
Wolf, who has more than 44 years of experience, is a board-certified doctor of dermatology. He has won numerous awards and is also a published author.
Wolf asked the audience to help stimulate ideas about observations.
“Who should be interested in improving their observational skills? The answer is everyone. Observations play a crucial role in medicine,” Wolf said. “I took this concept seriously from a very young age and applied it towards my career.”
Like his fictional role model, Sherlock Holmes, Wolf uses observational skills. He believes in a difference between seeing and observing; when you observe, you pay more attention to details. This concept applies to professionals in the medical field and in our everyday lives.
“Observation is carefully looking at something and then thinking about it, “Wolf said. “Pay attention, focus the mind and dismiss all distractions from your thought process and have a curious attitude towards things. Openness is important.”
Art can play an important role in medicine and has helped it become as advanced as it is today, Wolf said, thanks to many old paintings from hundreds of years ago.
Some slides in the lecture included paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn, Francisco Goya and Diego Rivera. These paintings were guides that helped doctors understand the human body and taught them about the organs and how to cure the ill. They have also helped doctors make careful medical observations and discoveries.