Type to search

Supporting Your Practice

Using Theatre and Improv to Enhance Dental Education

Research studies show that students who engage with a humanities experience are more comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty; are stronger communicators and collaborators; and can better understand the perspective of another.

So, what can healthcare professionals learn from the humanities? And what can they learn specifically from theatre and improv?

“Most of what we do every day is a form of improv,” says Jafine. “Very rarely do we interact with someone and know what they are going to say. We adapt and are spontaneous based on what the other person is sharing.”  

Professor Hartley Jafine grew up in a dental family and teaches drama in the Medical Schools of both McMaster University and the University of Toronto. The basis for his teaching is to use the skills and techniques of improv drama to help clinicians communicate more empathically with patients and colleagues.

In conversation with Dr. John O’Keefe, Director of Knowledge Networks CDA, Jafine explains that theatre skills are essentially life skills, and can be readily translated to healthcare professionals as a way of enhancing clinical competencies. He stresses the importance of listening, and recommends immersion in theatre as a fun and valuable way of building team cohesion and wellness.

We hope you find the conversation useful. We welcome your thoughts, questions and/or suggestions about this post and other topics. Leave a comment in the box below or send us your feedback by email.

Until next time!
CDA Oasis Team

Coping with Personal Protective Equipment - Top Tips from Actors Who Used to Working in Restrictive Clothing & Equipment 


Full Conversation (10.00")

1 Comment

  1. Larry Stanleigh July 23, 2020

    This is so great! As the lead sponsor of the Loose Moose Theater’s High School Improv Comedy Championship, and lecturer on Success is All About Relationships, I completely agree that Improv is a life skill.
    Thanks so much for bringing Hartley’s teaching into the forefront.


Leave a Comment Larry Stanleigh Cancel Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *