Workshops for DC law enforcement officers - made possible, in part, by a grant from the Washington DC Humanities Council
Day-long workshop for prospective medical students sponsored by the Georgetown Experimental Medical Studies Program (GEMS), Georgetown Medical School, July, 2016
Letter to the editor by Dr. Lynn McKinley-Grant on behalf of the Insight Institute, Washington Post, March 25, 2015
What law enforcement can learn from art
Jacai Colson, 28, a four-year veteran of the Prince George County police force, was killed after a gunman opened fire at the District 3 police station, in Landover on March 13. (Handout/Reuters)
The March 19 editorial “Painful questions” wondered whether changes in training or department practices could have prevented a friendly-fire police death. The answer is yes. As a physician, I have seen positive changes recently in the practice of medicine as innovations in the arts and humanities have been introduced in medical schools, some of which should be applied to law enforcement.
Medical schools use arts and humanities to encourage analytic and intuitive thinking that involves all the senses to diagnose a patient more accurately. Such programs save lives, decrease medical error, increase patient safety and satisfaction, and decrease health-care costs.
I have experienced the power of art in medicine and the military to improve observation and communication skills, empathy and cultural competence through my work as president of Insight Institute, an educational nonprofit that uses art to develop better observation and communication skills to foster critical, creative and independent thinking.
First responders come to emergency scenes with explicit and implicit biases that reflect background, personality, education and training. Art encourages the anticipation and adaptability to surprise, ambiguity and uncertainty, and it increases sensitivity to preconceptions determined by race, gender, language, life experience and cultural background, which shape split-second reactions that can save lives.
The arts can complement field training and promote best policing practices to improve performance, reduce crime and build public trust in law enforcement.
Lynn McKinley-Grant, Washington