A group of UofL faculty, administrators and students calling themselves HEART (Humanistic, Empathetic, Altruistic, Relationship-Centered Team) is striving to ensure students don’t lose sight of medicine’s artful side, even as they focus more and more on evidence-based approaches to diagnosis and treatment.

HEART has published the first issue of Systole, a new School of Medicine literary journal the group plans to be an annual publication. It features 10 poems and essays written by medical students and is the group’s first literary effort to promote the humanistic side of medicine. Nearly 50 entries were submitted for possible inclusion.

Some pieces, like second-year student Timothy Scott Tatum’s, deal with aspects of medical training. Others address larger issues. Third-year Emily Wasser wrote a poem about war.

Next year, HEART plans to include art and photography in Systole, and will extend the invitation to submit work to include residents, faculty and alumni.

“We want to help physicians bring the other halves of their brains — and all of their ‘hearts’ — to the table when they deal with patients,” explained pediatrician Pradip Patel, chair of HEART. “That’s why we named this journal Systole. It’s a word of Greek origin that means a drawing together or a contraction. We hope this journal will help bring together our academic medical community to foster humanism in medicine.”

In addition to publication, three authors received special recognition. Sara Gleason received a $100 gift certificate to the UofL Book Store for her poem “Whisper — in Memory of Christopher.” Gleason was a student in GEMS, a guaranteed medical school admission program for Kentucky high school seniors. Fourth-year medical student Linda Shiber received a $75 gift certificate for her essay “Rest.” Supra Parthasadrathy, Class of 2010, received a $50 gift certificate for her untitled poem.

Production and publication of the first issue of Systole was funded in part by a grant from Thomas H. Pinkstaff, a UofL professor of pediatrics who died earlier this year.

“He was the kindest person you could work with and an excellent teacher. He won many teaching awards. Systole is a way for us to honor his legacy in humanism. We’re using art to nurture the Dr. Pinkstaff in ourselves and our students,” Patel said.

The group distributed the journal to all UofL School of Medicine students and department chairs as well as the dean’s staff and the university’s Board of Trustees.

HEART meets monthly to plan activities that promote a relationship-centered culture at the School of Medicine. It was also instrumental in bringing the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Gold Humanism Honor Society to campus. This national organization honors senior medical students whose actions exemplify humanism. Twenty UofL seniors recently were inducted into the society.