Catalyst Conversations | Eyes Opened: Deep Looking and Thinking

November 17, 2022
Event Types
Special Program
Public Program
A woman with shoulder length blonde hair looks at a framed print on the wall.

Opening Reception: Symbionts: Contemporary Artists and the Biosphere at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, 2022. Photo: Chloe Tomasetta

Bartos Theater, 20 Ames Street Building E15, Atrium level, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
Day & Time
Free, but registration required

Dabney Hailey
Dr. Joel Katz
Moderated by Deborah Davidson

For more information, contact:

eagarner [at] (Emily Garner)

Join us to experience Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), a research-based methodology for holding open, rigorous discussions about art and other complex materials.

Originally developed for museums and schools, VTS is now applied in many sectors internationally, including healthcare and business. Dr. Joel Katz, who first brought this approach to medical education, and Dabney Hailey, an expert VTS trainer, will be our guides. They will demonstrate how this approach promotes curiosity, psychological safety and collaboration, metacognition and bias mitigation, and comfort with ambiguity, all key to improving patient care, increasing diagnostic accuracy, and conducting research. Dabney will facilitate a VTS discussion about a work of art, guiding us into deep observation, listening, and thinking. Joel will steward our reflection on how this VTS methodology connects with clinical practice, medical education, and more. You’ll learn how this approach is being introduced at Harvard Medical School and affiliated hospitals’ medical curriculum and why leveraging the visual arts can improve health and wellness.

This program is co-presented with Catalyst Conversations, an organization that leads provocative conversations between artists, scientists, and the public. 


Joel T. Katz, M.D., M.A.C.P. is a former biomedical illustrator who has championed the use of visual arts to improve patient care and health professions education.  An infectious diseases consultant and Vice Chair for Education at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, he holds the Marshall A. Wolf Distinguished Chair in Medical Education at Harvard Medical School. Twenty years ago, he co-founded the ongoing course, Training the Eye: Improving the Art of Physical Diagnosis, which first brought Visual Thinking Strategies into medical education. This year, he founded the new Center for the Visual Arts in Healthcare at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is a graduate of Earlham College and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and is Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  

Dabney Hailey, M.A., Founder and Principal of Hailey Group, spent more than a decade as the Gruber ’66 curator at the Davis Museum and later Director of Academic Programs at the Rose Art Museum. In 2014, she founded Hailey Group, a pioneering consultancy that catalyzes innovation, leadership, and team communication through arts learning. Hailey Group works with organizations across the business and healthcare sectors internationally, from Fortune 500s to small nonprofits. Since 2019, Dabney has been co-director of the Harvard Medical School course, Training the Eye: Improving the Art of Physical Diagnosis. In 2020, she co-founded VTS@Work, a training program for professionals to deeply learn and apply Visual Thinking Strategies within their work contexts. She holds a B.A. from Hendrix College and an M.A. from Northwestern University.