Kelly Arora teaches holistic care principles to pharmacy students
Sixteen years ago, Kelly Arora was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Her own experience in the health care system and her understanding of spirituality led her to teach courses on faith and healing for future medical professionals.
“What I found missing was the psycho-spiritual component of care,” said Arora, affiliate faculty in the School of Pharmacy. “When we operate in a biomedical-only model, we are likely to miss a lot of that. It is very easy to have your body cared for and not always the rest of you.”
Arora teaches the Jesuit concept cura personalis - care of the whole person – in her class Faith Traditions in Health Care. This third-year pharmacy course focuses on how patients make meaning of illness and injury, how they cope, and how religion and spirituality affect their healing.
Students learn about the parallel chart, a collection of subjective information about themselves as caregivers. Arora teaches that this should accompany the traditional medical chart to provide for the best possible interaction between pharmacist and patient.
“This class really aligns with the goals of the pharmacy program; to develop pharmacists who are respectful of other people’s beliefs and values, who take into account the whole person and who demonstrate compassion and empathy,” said Arora.
Arora’s students use team-based learning to collaborate on ideas for case studies and in-class assessments. Of utmost importance is treating the patient as a person, said Arora. Her students write out philosophy of care statements, in which they incorporate their own key values and clearly define how they want to practice medicine. The class also focuses on self-care, mindfulness, meaning-making practices and reflective exercises.
In addition to the pharmacy course, Arora teaches an undergraduate course called Faith and Healing, in Regis College.
“These classes beg the question, ‘what heals us?’ Is it God? Is it doctors? Is it ourselves? Is it other people?” said Arora. “We don’t heal alone. We heal in relationship with the people in our lives, including health care providers. Where is God in that too?”
Discover cura personalis in Regis’ pharmacy program.