Patients as teachers, medical students as filmmakers: The video slam, a pilot study

Dan Shapiro, Lynne Tomasa, Nancy Alexander Koff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In 2006-2007 and 2007-2008, the authors pilot-tested a filmmaking project, (medical students filmed patients) to assess the project's potential to teach about the challenges of living with serious chronic illness. Two years of second-year medical students (N = 32) from The University of Arizona, working in groups of two or three, were paired with patients and filmed multiple home visits during eight months. Students edited their films to 7 to 10 minutes and added transitions, titles, and music. A mixed audience of students and faculty viewed the resulting 12 films in a "Video Slam." Faculty also used the films in the formal curriculum to illustrate teaching points related to chronic illness. Student filmmakers, on average, made 4.4 visits, collected 5.6 hours of film, and edited for 26.6 hours. Students reported that the project affected what they planned to cover in clinic visits, increased their plans to involve patients in care, enhanced their appreciation for patient-centered care, improved their knowledge of community resources, improved their understanding of allied health professionals' roles, and taught them about patients' innovative adaptations. Overall, students rated the project highly for its impact on their education (mean = 4.52 of 5). Student and faculty viewers of the films (N = 74) found the films compelling (mean = 4.95 of 5) and informative (mean = 4.93 of 5). The authors encountered the ethical dilemmas of deciding who controls the patients' recorded stories and navigating between patient anonymity/ confidentiality and allowing patients to use their stories to teach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1235-1243
Number of pages9
JournalAcademic Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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