“Thomas “Clark” Howell, MD, MSHS, is a General Surgery Resident at Duke, currently in his research year. After graduating from the UNC School of Medicine, Dr. Howell completed a Certificate in Theology and Healthcare from the Duke Divinity School.
The certificate program, he says, allowed him to think more critically about finding meaning in work and being able to empathetically connect with and understand patients of all kinds of traditions and backgrounds.
Dr. Howell says that he felt “a calling” to surgery but admits that he harbored a fear about who he might become amidst his training.
“I was concerned about this transformation that was going to happen during residency,” explains Dr. Howell. “I was worried that somehow during residency, I would lose sight of the art of medicine, that physician-patient relationship, and the empathy and courage to do the right thing.
Developed and led by Drs. Antiel and Howell and Program Coordinator Abby Van Vliet, MTS, the Project aims to combine, “a formal curriculum, small group discussions, and one-on-one mentoring to enable surgery residents to form the habits and practices necessary for navigating an increasingly hostile work environment.”
The Project integrates the arts and humanities to look at healthcare professions through a more humanistic lens. Discussions around art, poetry, history, theology, and philosophy, to name a few, are designed to inspire thoughtful dialogue as they relate to each resident as both a surgeon and as an individual.”