Sophomore Seminars

The Art of Medical Diagnosis


This is an interactive, multidisciplinary undergraduate seminar that explores the various ways in which studying art increases critical observational skills which are so vital for aspiring health care providers. You will be introduced to visual thinking strategies through classroom, art creation, and museum-based activities, and will apply these skills to both works of art and medical cases.  We will put significant focus on engaging in group discussions where you will collaboratively use visual evidence to generate and defend a hypothesis. Drawing and sketching from life will play a critical role in honing your observational skills through weekly assignments, workshops, and a final project.

No previous art experience is necessary.

Meet the Instructor(s)

Thomas Caruso

Thomas J. Caruso, MD is a practicing pediatric anesthesiologist at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. After completing his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital and fellowship in pediatric anesthesia at Stanford, he went on to pursue a master's in education at Johns Hopkins. His is a leader in medical resident and fellow education at Stanford as well as quality improvement at Stanford Hospital. In addition to being an educator and mentor, Dr. Caruso brings a strong clinical background, and contagious enthusiasm that is an invaluable asset to the course.

Samuel Rodriguez, MD

"I am a practicing pediatric anesthesiologist at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. In addition to clinical work, I am an award-winning oil painter and medical illustrator. I've taught classes on art and medicine at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School prior to moving to Stanford where I now teach similar courses in the medical school and residency programs."

Lauren Toomer

Lauren A. Toomer, lecturer in art practice, is a figurative artist, creating work about the human body and the loopholes in perception. She received her MFA in Art Practice from Stanford University and  BA in Art Practice from UC Berkeley (summa cum laude). Her graduate studies included coursework in anatomy and education. Toomer continues to work with the Division of Clinical Anatomy and Stanford Hospital affiliates. 

Toomer’s research and uninhibited work led her to receive a fellowship from the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and the Drawing of Excellence Award from UC Berkeley. She has exhibited in the directors offices at SFMOMA, the Worth Ryder, ASC Projects, and the Equal Justice Society exhibition at the University of San Francisco. She has been the guest artist speaker at SFMOMA’s Artists Gallery, the Anderson Collection, and UC Berkeley.