Journal of the Scientific Society

: 2019  |  Volume : 46  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 73--74

Cinemeducation: Using films to teach medical students

Deepti Mohan Kadeangadi, Shivaswamy Shivamallappa Mudigunda 
 Department of Community Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research, Belagavi, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Shivaswamy Shivamallappa Mudigunda
Department of Community Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research, Belagavi - 590 010, Karnataka

How to cite this article:
Kadeangadi DM, Mudigunda SS. Cinemeducation: Using films to teach medical students.J Sci Soc 2019;46:73-74

How to cite this URL:
Kadeangadi DM, Mudigunda SS. Cinemeducation: Using films to teach medical students. J Sci Soc [serial online] 2019 [cited 2021 Sep 23 ];46:73-74
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Soft skills such as professionalism, communication, and ethics are often neglected and difficult to teach in medicine. Use of cinema in medical education was first reported from the psychiatry residency education. Darbyshire and Baker have highlighted the importance of medical practice observation and listening to patients as compared to cinema, where it uses sounds and visuals to interact with each other, which is similar to practice of medicine where doctors observe and listen to their patients.[1] The term “Cinemeducation” was coined by Alexander et al. to refer to use of movie clips from movies and videos to educate medical students and residents about psychosocial aspects of medicine. Further, the ability of film to engage learners in discussion is a part of the active learning process which is a part of the constructivist learning theory, in which learners actively build concepts or ideas upon pre-existing foundations. Aspects of social learning theory can also be applied when students are exposed to both positive and negative role models.

United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Thailand, India, Ireland, and Saudi Arabia are using cinemeducation to teach medical students. In India, Seth G. S. Medical College, Mumbai, has started faculty movie clubs with funding from Dr. Manu Kothari, and other medical colleges such as PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Coimbatore, and Yenepoya University, Mangalore, are teaching medical ethics/bioethics in India using cinemeducation. The Community Medicine Department of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research, Belagavi, has used cinemeducation to teach “Professionalism and Ethics” to the prefinal MBBS students using movie clips of Patch Adams since January 2019.

The Medical Council of India has also prescribed the use of short films and videos in its recent guidelines for Foundation course for new MBBS admission batch for teaching in its revised curriculum “Competency-Based Medical Education” implemented in 2019.[2] The University of Salamanca in Spain has started “The Journal of Medicine and Movies” in 2004 to publish articles in this topic. Movie databases such as YouTube, Wikipedia, ImDb,, and TmDb can be used by the cinemeducation facilitators to search details about relevant films.

 What is Cinemeducation?

“Cinema + medicine + education” means the use of movies/clippings to help students to teach medicine. Different kinds of movies have proved to be effective whether trigger films, movie clips, or whole-length films are used, or when deciding between television (TV) series and motion pictures.

 Why Cinemeducation?

Cinemeducation is unique and enjoyable narrative medical approach to teach medical humanities. People's emotions play key roles in learning attitudes and behavior. Using movies in teaching is an effective way to reach people's affective domain, promote reflective attitudes, and link learning to experiences. Cinema is the audio-visual (AV) version of storytelling. Life stories and narratives enhance emotions and therefore set up the foundation for conveying concepts. Movies provide a narrative model framed in emotions and images that are also grounded in the students' familiar, everyday universe. Cinema is useful in teaching because it is familiar, evocative, and nonthreatening for students.

 Where it Can Be Used?

Movies can be used in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education in promoting or favoring positive attitude toward psychiatry, provide opportunities to engage in end-of-life issues conversations, as a part of medical humanities and professionalism.

 How it Can Be Used?

Cinemeducation in group setting is helpful in brainstorming, creating useful ideas, and sharing perspectives from scenes and characters in movie from different perspectives. The emotional power of movies can be used to teach/promote empathetic behaviors, self-reflection, compassion, altruism, and professionalism, which are the hidden part of medical curriculum.

 Guidelines to Conduct Cinemeducation Sessions

Decide the subject area, competencies to be taught/issues to be discussedRead the available information and critical reviews about the topicSelect films/TV clippings – social/economic/humanitarian aspectsGather all the students in the auditorium/big hall with AV aidsDelineate the specific learning objectives of the class for the sessionUse small group work/group discussion/group presentation and plenary sessions by the faculty and facilitatorsCollect feedback from the participants about the session and other instrumentsMeta-cognition – Reflections on compassion, family dynamics, suffering, physical and mental illness, spirituality, grief, breaking bad news, end-of-life/palliative care.

 Who Can Use it?

Cinemeducation can be used by all health science specialties – Medical, Nursing, Physiotherapy, Dental, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, etc., both for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. In the medical college setup, it can be used in Medicine, Surgery, Psychiatry, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Community Medicine, and even by super-specialty departments to teach resident doctors.

 Choice of Films

It can be old or new films. The film may be English (Hollywood or UK or any other language with running sub-titles or Indian/local language films or even from the TV serials such as Sanjeevani (Hindi) and Emergency Room (English) or even YouTube clippings. Some of the movies commonly used for cinemeducation are “The Doctor” (1991), “Patch Adams” (1998), “Wit” (2001), and “My sister's Keeper” (2009).[3],[4],[5]


Cinemeducation is an effective method of imparting empathy and relational skills, especially in the teaching of interdisciplinary topics such as professionalism and ethics. All health professional institutions and all disciplines can practice cinemeducation to enhance the learning experience of their undergraduate and postgraduate students.


1Darbyshire D, Baker P. A systematic review and thematic analysis of cinema in medical education. Med Humanit 2012;38:28-e33. doi:10.1136/medhum-2011-010026.
2Foundation Course Module 1 Foundation Course for the Undergraduate Medical Education Program 2019. Medical Council of India. Available from: [Last accessed on 2019 Dec 31].
3Lumlertgul N, Kijpaisalratana N, Pityaratstian N, Wangsaturaka D. Cinemeducation: A pilot student project using movies to help students learn medical professionalism. Med Teach 2009;31:e327-32. Available from: [Last accessed on 2019 Dec 31].
4Shankar PR. Cinemeducation: Facilitating educational sessions for medical students using the power of movies. Arch Med Health Sci 2019;7:96-103. Available from:;year=2019;volume=7;issue=1;spage=96;epage=103;aulast=Shankar. [Last accessed on 2019 Dec 31].
5Blasco PG, Moreto G, Roncoletta AF, Levites MR, Janaudis MA. Using movie clips to foster learners' reflection: improving education in the affective domain. Fam Med 2006;38:94-6.