Beyond the Surface: Art & Medical Observation

How can doctors better serve patients from within challenging systems while our basic understandings of human complexity expands? This interdisciplinary celebrates the true art of medicine — seeing patients — spanning topics of misdiagnosis, LGBTQ+ health, medical teaching, and what the arts and humanities have to do with helping clinicians learn to see beyond the surface. Alexa Miller of Arts Practica blends her training as a visual artist and facilitator with study on medical error in her unique work with physicians. Dr. AJ Eckert, founder of Anchor Health, offers queer-affirming healthcare by and for queer people. Both are educators whose research and advocacy has advanced change in teaching and care practices.


Learn more about ArtsPractica here:


Learn more about Anchor Health’s GLAM program here:

Dr. AJ Eckert

Medical Director, Anchor Health

AJ Eckert, DO, (they/them & he/his) is Connecticut’s first out nonbinary trans doctor and serves as the Medical Director of Anchor Health’s Gender & Life-Affirming Medicine (GLAM) Program. Dr. Eckert has over 15 years’ experience in LGBTQ health care, with 8 years as a provider of primary care and gender-affirming services.

After Dr. Eckert completed their education at Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine and residency at NEOMEN/Maine Dartmouth Family Medicine Program, they decided to specialize in LGBTQ health. Dr. Eckert is board certified in Family Medicine. He is an assistant clinical professor of family medicine at Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University.

Outside of their clinical work with patients, Dr. Eckert is active in education and advocacy. In 2021, Science-Based Medicine published four of Dr. Eckert's articles, and the Journal of Medical Ethics asked him to be a reviewer. The upcoming 2nd edition of The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals features a quote from Dr. Eckert. They were on the 2021 Abstract Review Committee for the United States Professional Association for Transgender Health, or USPATH. Dr. Eckert’s expertise in his field has led him to be quoted in The Washington Post and The New York Times, among others. Additionally, they have piloted a 4th-year medical student rotation at Anchor Health. Through TikTok and YouTube, Dr. Eckert makes information about gender-affirming care accessible to trans people everywhere. 

Dr. Eckert is bilingual in English and Czech. He is a classically trained pianist but mostly plays Elton John and Queen now. They are a horror movie buff. His favorites are Halloween (1978), Phantasm, and queer horror musicals like Phantom of the Paradise. You can usually find Dr. Eckert hiking with his dog/Anchor Health's mascot Lupik in their spare time!

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Alexa Miller

A teacher of health humanities for two decades, Alexa Miller is an expert in diagnosis and uncertainty, and a leading facilitator/coach in the Visual Thinking Strategies method for transformative learning in visual art. As an original co-creator of Harvard Medical School's program Training the Eye: Improving the Art of Physical Diagnosis, she contributed to research on the impact of art on medical cognition, and was the first ever non-MD to serve as a fellow for the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine. She has published in Slate, Journal of Medical Humanities, Annals of Internal Medicine, and other medical journals and educational textbooks, and her courses have been featured in The Boston Globe, numerous podcasts, and in Brian Goldman’s 2022 book, The Power of Teamwork. Miller’s company, Arts Practica, partners with training programs and organizations to provide transformative learning in art for leaders, teams, and faculty. She teaches a course on uncertainty at Brandeis University and frequently serves as a speaker with medical and general audiences.

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