ARTZ @ Jefferson

Changing how healthcare works

The majority of medical and other health professions students begin their training with altruism and empathy.

But research has shown that by the third year of training, students’ empathy significantly declines. Healthcare providers’ lack of empathy can produce patients who mistrust their physicians, disregard instructions vital to treatment, and feel profoundly uncared for. People living with dementia in particular can often feel misunderstood, unheard, and invisible.

Program Details


Together, Jefferson students and their mentors are changing the way healthcare works.

Through “ARTZ @ Jefferson,” students are able to spend weeks getting to know people with dementia and care partners as their mentors. And mentors are able to guide and share their experiences with students regarding what it means to live with dementia.

The initial vehicle for these relationships is the students’ and mentors’ shared experiences looking at and discussing works of art in local museums. And over time, mentors and students together generate ways that healthcare could work differently — more compassionately — for people living with chronic illness.

To learn more or get involved, click here.

*Bill D. passed away in August 2020, you can read more about his legacy on our blog


What to Expect in this Program


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What People Are Saying


  • I liked hearing the interactions between those living with dementia and their care partners. It is such an intimate and extreme bond, being able to see that dynamic carried out was very valuable. The wisdom of those with dementia regarding the artwork was so insightful, very beautiful.

    — ARTZ @ Jeff Student (3rd year medical student)
  • It’s difficult to have meaningful communication that we can share anymore. Looking at and talking about the art we were able to talk like a couple again. My wife really liked her student and I really felt that she was really helping him and contributing to others again.

    –– ARTZ @ Jeff Mentor (care partner)
  • It gave us an opportunity to see people who have dementia as more than just their condition. I think in a busy clinical setting it can be all too easy to see a dementia patient for just that, a dementia patient. But I think because of this program we'll all be very quick to recognize dementia patients as people who probably had quite meaningful lives and still have a lot to offer if someone is willing to listen.

    –– ARTZ @ Jeff Student (1st year medical student)
  • I only see good coming from this.

    –– ARTZ @ Jeff Mentor

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