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Healer's Art




Question about Healer’s Art?

For more information on Healer’s Art at Colorado State University, contact:

Dr. Laurie Fonken, PhD, LPC
Phone: (970) 491-3919

Dr. Jane Shaw, DVM, PhD
Phone: (970) 297-4007

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During veterinary education, while it is crucial to learn medicine and science, it is important to address competencies such as professionalism, self-care, meaning, and community. The Healer’s Art provides an opportunity to infuse healing, service, wholeness and relationship into veterinary education.  

The Healer’s Art creates time for students to reflect and remember what brought them to veterinary medicine and why they want to work with caregivers and their animals. The course provides a safe place for students to explore their feelings, passions, struggles and aspirations with one another. Students will learn not only to share with others, but to listen to others with an open mind and heart, broadening their perspective, promoting diversity awareness and respect for others.

Healer’s Art at Colorado State University

Colorado State University was the first veterinary school to offer the Healer’s Art course to first, second, and third year veterinary students. Small groups of veterinary students are brought together with mentoring veterinarians and medical/counseling professionals in a discovery model that encourages honest and mutually respectful sharing of experience, belief and personal truths. This 15-hour elective course, offered in the spring, is process-based and enables the formation of a community of inquiry between students and faculty.  We strive to create whole students, who possess exceptionally strong scientific and technical skills, balanced with compassion, dedication and tools to cope with the challenges they face.

Healer’s Art Modules

  1. Discovering and Nurturing your Wholeness
  2. Sharing Grief and Honoring Loss (two sessions)
  3. Beyond Analysis: Allowing the Awe in Veterinary Medicine
  4. Service as a Way of Life: The Care of the Soul

History of Healer’s Art

The Healer’s Art course was designed by Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, director of the Remen Institute for the Study of Health and Illness (RISHI) and professor of Family and Community Medicine at University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. The course is currently offered in over 90 medical schools throughout the world, and in two veterinary schools, Colorado State University, and University of California, Davis.

Healer’s Art Veterinary Faculty Training

Faculty are as profoundly affected by The Healer’s Art as the students, reporting professional renewal and enhanced enthusiasm for teaching and passion for veterinary medicine. Each year the Institute for the Study of Health and Illness offers an intensive onsite training to enable faculty to teach the Healer’s Art at their medical, nursing or veterinary school. The Healer’s Art faculty training is both experiential and didactic, and offers participating course directors the opportunity to personally experience each session of the course, and learn the discovery model principles that underlie and shape the five modules. 

Apply for the Healer’s Art Veterinary Faculty Training

The Institute for the Study of Health and Illness invited Dr. Jane R. Shaw and Dr. Laurie Fonken to serve as mentors for veterinary faculty, who would like to offer the Healer’s Art at their veterinary college. There are reserved spots for six veterinary schools (12 veterinary faculty, two from each school) at the upcoming faculty development training. Interested faculty need to complete an application to attend the training and it is highly recommended that each school send two individuals to serves as course coordinators. Applications are reviewed and selections made on a first-come basis.

Healer's Art Veterinary Student Outcomes

This case study sought to understand veterinary students’ perceptions and experiences of the Healer’s Art elective at Colorado State University to support well-being and resilience. Healer’s Art course evaluations and written materials for course exercise were finalized for themes and lessons learned. Students appreciated connected, not competing with peers that resulted from the course practices of non-judgment, generous listening and presence. Click here to view the case study on PubMed

​Healer's Art Course Testimonials 

"I learned that often we isolate ourselves instead of connecting...when in fact a lot of us are going through the same things and having the same emotional experiences.  I also gained important insight on how to maintain my values and take care of myself going forward.” - Veterinary student

"Had a Healers Art curriculum been part of my education, I may have had better knowledge, understanding, and resources at my disposal for navigating the emotional/psychological challenges of the profession that accumulate over time. Challenges that can lead to burnout, compassion fatigue, that result from feeling dissatisfied, overwhelm, and depressed." - Veterinary faculty

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Contact Us:
​1678 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1678

(970) 297-5051

(970) 297-1275