Humor in Medicine: (Always look on) The bright side of dark

Žan Trontelj, Josh Rocchio, Vesna Pekarović Džakulin, Mateja Kokalj Kokot, Andrej Pangerc

Keywords: humor, medicine, destigmatization, coping mechanism


The aim of this workshop is to demonstrate how humor can be used in addressing and destigmatizing sensitive topics in medicine and medical education, and its role as a coping and even healing mechanism in challenging times.


Introductory lecture (25 minutes): In the form of a stand-up performance giving some context to the topic and a real-life example of how humor is essential to medical practice, especially in its darkest hours.
Buzz groups (5 minutes): Work in pairs: identifying a real-life scenario from the past, present, or future (an event, a difficult conversation or situation) that participants feel comfortable discussing and that could be addressed from a different, humorous point of view.
Group work (20 minutes): Two to four pairs form a group that chooses one real-life scenario of the ones previously discussed in the buzz groups and make a satire of it for later presentation. That can take a form of a single joke, sketch, role-play scenario, stand-up performance, meme, improvisational theater or anything else. Group leaders are provided to help, supervise, and facilitate the process.
Plenary presentations (20 minutes): Each group presents their work. A single introductory sentence about the background of each presentation is to be given for some context and then the presentation follows.
Wrap-up session (5 minutes) for reflection on how this teaching method can be used on different levels of medical education and to get reacclimated to the normal congress setting.

Expected Outcomes:

We expect to establish an open and safe environment for the participants to feel secure enough to share their difficult experiences and, with the help of comic relief, feel at least part of the weight lifted from their shoulders. Based on a positive experience we hope that participants will be able to consider including humor when addressing difficult issues in their teaching practice.

Points for discussion:


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