The healing arts – Creative Doctors

Amanda Lyons

17/07/2018 1:56:40 PM

Creative Doctors helps doctors express their artistic side, which is good for mental health – and is also just good, plain fun.

The Creative Doctors Committee: Dr Howard Gwynne, Dr Marg Gottleib and Dr Jan Orman
The Creative Doctors Committee: Dr Howard Gwynne, Dr Marg Gottleib and Dr Jan Orman

Working as a doctor is, for many, not just a job, but a vocation – which is perhaps just as well as it requires long hours, high responsibility and large dose of left-brain thinking.
However, many doctors also have another side that Creative Doctors, a group run by a committee of three Sydney GPs, encourages them to express.
‘We’ve discovered everything in the medical profession from singer-songwriters, to internationally known roller-skaters, to classical Indian dancers,’ Dr Jan Orman, one of the Creative Doctors committee members, told newsGP.
‘There’s a guy who is a story-teller and poet and does impromptu rhymed story-telling. Last year we had a girl doing burlesque!
‘The talent for performance amongst the medical profession has to be seen to be believed.’

Chris-and-William-hero-(2).jpgDr Chris Swan and Dr William Lee, at a Creative Doctors performance night. (Image: Howard Gwynne)
Creative Doctors was originally founded and overseen by Dr Tony Chu, a hospital doctor, actor and screenwriter. However, in 2012 he was no longer able to keep running the group, so Dr Orman, Dr Howard Gwynne and Dr Marg Gottlieb decided to take up the mantle.
‘We felt it had been of such benefit to us, personally, and to a lot of other doctors in Sydney, that we would like to continue doing what Tony had begun,’ Dr Orman explained.
Each of the GPs on the Creative Doctors committee has an interest in mental health and believes that expressing creativity can have a positive impact on a doctor’s state of mind.
‘It’s very easy to get really narrow in your thinking when you’re a doctor – everything revolves around medicine,’ Dr Orman said.
‘We think it’s good for your mental health to have a bit of fun from time to time and do things that are outside of your working life.’
Each committee member has a shared motivation for running the group, as well as their own personal reasons.
‘I think the thing that motivated us to do it was that we got so much value out of it,’ Dr Orman said.
‘I’m very keen to get young doctors to remember who they are apart from doctors and to keep their creative juices running, that’s my impetus for it.
‘Howard actually discovered himself as a photographer when Tony Chu was running the Creative Doctors network; his photographs are reasonably well-known now and he’s done some really interesting things.
‘Margie just wants people to have fun, that’s her agenda.’
The group runs three events every year, one for writers, one for visual artists and one for performers. The next show is a performer’s night and will take place at the Camelot Lounge in Marrickville on Thursday 26 July, and is described by Creative Doctors as ‘a big variety night with everything from blues and rock to exotic dancing’. Entry is free thanks to sponsor Judith Babich of Active Locums, who also sponsors the New South Wales Doctors Orchestra.

Dave-Eisinger-band-hero-(1).jpgThe Dave Eisinger band play at a Creative Doctors performance night. (Image: Howard Gwynne)
‘Our performer’s night is always in the Camelot Lounge which is a fantastic, quirky venue with everything, as far as support for performers goes,’ Dr Orman said.
‘Early in the year we do a writer’s night; this year we did a Moth-type evening. In previous years we’ve had events where people have brought their writing and read excerpts to the group. There are a number of published poets in the groups and people writing novels and short stories, so that’s always very exciting.
‘At the end of the year, we have a visual arts night where doctors come to a large venue and display what they’ve been doing. We’ve got many doctors who do watercolours or oil painting. We also have a number of people who do sculptures, make jewellery, all those kinds of things, so that’s always a pretty exciting time as well.’
While the group is currently based in Sydney, Dr Orman is keen to encourage doctors to take the model further afield.
‘I’ve always had these big ideas that I’d like to encourage people in other cities and states to do this sort of thing,’ she said. ‘I’d be more than happy to mentor anybody who wants to do it in another place in Australia.
‘We have a blog, and I would encourage people to submit posts if they want to talk about their own creativity in relation to medicine, or just their own creativity and how it fits into their life.’
Interested doctors can also contact Creative Doctors via the blog. Dr Orman said that while the group is very pleased with its core events, it is also open to organising other events and expanding its numbers.
‘It’s great to have new people with new ideas, and it adds to the excitement of the process as well.’

“Doctors’ “Self care” health” Mental

newsGP weekly poll Which of the RACGP’s 2022 Advocacy Priorities would most benefit your practice?

newsGP weekly poll Which of the RACGP’s 2022 Advocacy Priorities would most benefit your practice?



Login to comment

Robbie Matek   17/07/2018 11:16:39 PM

I wonder if there is anything out there for the psychologist?
I have a rock band and do music therapy separately along with being a psychologist.