By Wendy Sarubbi | December 9, 2013 3:54 pm

A musical, based on the story of a 10-year-old leukemia patient who just wants to go to Disney World for Christmas, welcomed the holidays at the UCF College of Medicine December 6 and illustrated the traits of “The Good Doctor – A UCF Tradition.”

The college’s Arts In Medicine (AIM) organization organized its second annual holiday showcase to promote the healing powers of the arts. The event included singing, dancing, oratory and instrument performances from more than 50 College of Medicine students, faculty, staff and their family members.  The youngest star of the show was 10-year-old Tyler Dean, the son of second-year medical student Michael Dean. Tyler played the young leukemia patient  and said he hoped the role helped M.D. students learn to better care for children. “It made me feel very proud to be on stage and be a part of this,” Tyler said. His proud father added: “Tyler’s my shining star.”

Holiday_Showcase2013_427The event also gave back to the community. Students painted a donated piano with images from medicine that look like flowers and a cartoonish caduceus serpent appropriately named Art. The piano was donated by the family of Gladys McCall Lowery, a former WDBO announcer, minister and music teacher. Students donated the instrument to Community Based Care of Central Florida, which cares for local foster children. Karla Radka, the group’s vice president of community impact and leadership, attended the holiday showcase and thanked the medical school for its gift. “We are very thankful to extend our family of organizations that support our kids to include the UCF College of Medicine,” she said. “The piano will bring a lot of joy, and it will be a part of the healing process for our kids.”

The healing process is at the core of “The Good Doctor,” a tradition Dean Deborah German imparts on first-year medical students at their White Coat Ceremony. As their first medical school assignment, Dr. German asks students to list the traits of the doctor they would want caring for their most beloved person.  She writes those traits on a blackboard and those characteristics become the students’ contract with the medical school. The blackboard listing the traits offered by the 2013-2014 first-year class was stood on stage for the entire performance.


“What a beautiful blend of art and medicine,” Dr. German said of the production. “The fact that our students put together such a performance in the midst of exams shows the depth of their talent.”

AIM President Michael Metzner, of the class of 2016, began the holiday showcase  a year ago with a talent show.  This year’s 10-act play was inspired by a young patient Michael was studying who had glioblastoma, a severe form of brain cancer. “I wanted a show that followed a child who had a scary diagnosis but pushed through, all while highlighting the physician-patient relationship,” Michael said. “I think the ‘good doctor’ tradition worked perfectly into the story and we were able to touch upon both serious and humorous aspects of the medical field.”

He and fellow second-year medical student Erica Newlin, an undergraduate theater major, wrote the play and organized rehearsals while juggling their medical school schedule. Erica said she was thrilled to be at a medical school that allowed her to follow her love of the arts.  “Starting at UCF, I was delighted that my medical school was one which fosters creativity and love of the arts,” she said. “It’s a thrill to go to school alongside so many passionate, intelligent and incredibly creative individuals.”

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