Disorienting or Transforming? Using the Arts and Humanities to Foster Social Advocacy

Snow Wangding, Lorelei Lingard, Paul Haidet, Benjamin Vipler, Javeed Sukhera, Tracy Moniz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: The arts and humanities (AH) have transformative potential in medical education. Research suggests that AH-based pedagogies may facilitate both personal and professional transformation in medical learners, which may then further enhance the teaching and learning of social advocacy skills. However, the potential for such curricula to advance social advocacy training remains under-explored. Therefore, we sought to identify how AH may facilitate transformative learning of social advocacy in medical education. Methods: Building upon previous research, we conducted a critical narrative review seeking examples from the literature on how AH may promote transformative learning of social advocacy in North American medical education. Through a search of seven databases and MedEdPORTAL, we identified 11 articles and conducted both descriptive and interpretative analyses of their relation to key tenets of transformative learning, including: disorientation/dissonance, critical reflection, and discourse/dialogue. Results: We found that AH are used in varied ways to foster transformative learning in social advocacy. However, most approaches emphasize their use to elicit disorientation and dissonance; there is less evidence in the literature regarding how they may be of potential utility when applied to disorienting dilemma, critical reflection, and discourse/ dialogue. Discussion: The tremendous potential of AH to foster transformative learning in social advocacy is constrained due to minimal attention to critical reflection and dialogue. Future research must consider how novel approaches that draw from AH may be used for more robust engagement with transformative learning tenets in medical education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-200
Number of pages9
JournalOpen Praxis
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • General Medicine

Cite this