Medicine Through the Lens of Photography: Empathy, Advocacy, Compassion through Storytelling

Health and Humanities

Humanities in Medicine—A Photography Elective For Medical Students
Medicine Through the Lens of Photography: Empathy, Advocacy, Compassion through Storytelling

Instructor-Dr Dawn Lim, Photographer In Residence, The Program In Health, Arts and Humanities (

To register/obtain scheduling details, please contact :

Please be sure you can commit to attending all sessions (see dates below), as places are limited.

Learning Goals:

  • Explore background on the culture of medicine as seen in the literature
  • Behaviours such as bullying, harassment, favoritism, perfectionism (imposter syndrome), cynicism, and productivity as self-worth are common in medicine and are grounded in shame. These have contributed to burnout especially during the pandemic.
  • Provide medical students with the chance to explore a theme of shame in their medical practice through the medium of photographic storytelling


  1. September 22th (2 hour):
    · get to know everyone
    · please bring samples of the work you wish to share as well as your camera so we can have a sense of your style and voice
    · general discussion on what our collective work might look like
  2. October 20th  (1 hour):
    · group decision on the WHY of the photo essay
    · choose a meaningful theme for the group and how we might show those themes visually
  3. Nov 17th  (1 hour):
    · How to craft a meaningful photo essay—an exploration of themes and characters
  4. November and December will be for individual photography time
  5. January 19, 2023 (2 hours):
    · sequencing (at least one week before, please send me at least 5 jpeg files with the work you wish to submit)
    · as a group we will start the wonderful process of sequencing, selection, and
    composition of our collective photo essay
  6. February 16th  (2 hours): part two sequencing
  7. Printing–our end result will be 10-15 high quality prints to present at Synesthesia, the annual Faculty of Medicine art show.

Duration of Elective:

  • 8 hours of  instruction time plus independent time for photographing own vision of the chosen theme

Deadline and Key Details:

  • Students need access to their own camera (preferred) though smartphone may be acceptable if high resolution
  • Need to sign up early in the fall since the off hours creation time for photography may fall outside

Dr. Dawn Lim, BSc, MD, FRCP(C), MBA, Certificate of Digital Photography, Certificate of Creative Writing (candidate), Clinician Teacher and Assistant Professor, Division of Emergency Medicine, Department of Medicine