Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 191–196 | Cite as

Reducing Medical Students’ Stigmatization of People With Chronic Mental Illness: A Field Intervention at the “Living Museum” State Hospital Art Studio

  • Janis L. Cutler
  • Kelli J. Harding
  • Lucy A. Hutner
  • Clarissa Cortland
  • Mark J. Graham
Original Article



The authors designed an intervention to reduce beginning medical students’ stigmatization of people with chronic mental illness (CMI).


Pre-clinical medical students visited a state psychiatric facility’s “Living Museum,” a combination patient art studio/display space, as the intervention. During the visit, students interacted with artist-guides who showed their work and discussed their experiences creating art. Students completed a self-assessment survey developed to measure attitudes and feelings toward people with CMI after half of the class visited the Living Museum, constituting a Visit/No-Visit cross-sectional comparison.


Students who visited the Living Museum (N=64), as compared with those who did not visit (N=110), endorsed more positive attitudes toward people with CMI. Among the students who visited, however, those who reported having spoken individually with a patient-artist (N=44), paradoxically, indicated less-positive feelings toward people with CMI.


An intervention in which pre-clinical medical students visited patient-artist guides in an art-studio setting generally improved students’ attitudes toward people with CMI. Thus, nontraditional psychiatric settings offer a valuable adjunct to more traditional clinical settings to reduce stigma when introducing medical students to the field of psychiatry.


Medical Student Academic Psychiatry Positive Feeling Acad Psychiatry Intergroup Contact 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janis L. Cutler
    • 1
  • Kelli J. Harding
    • 1
  • Lucy A. Hutner
    • 1
  • Clarissa Cortland
    • 1
  • Mark J. Graham
    • 1
  1. 1.NYS Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University’s College of Physicians and SurgeonsNew York

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