Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care

Aired: July 25, 2010
As healthcare becomes increasingly technical, both patients and healthcare providers often feel that the human touch has been lost. Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care is an award-winning, hospital-based, scholar-led humanities reading and discussion program for health care professionals that benefits both them and their patients. In this episode, Dr. Diane Kaufman, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Pediatrics at UMDNJ, Suzanne McConnell, writer, professor and fiction editor for the Bellevue Literary Review and Mary Rizzo, Associate Director of NJCH, discuss how literature has been improving the practice of medicine in New Jersey hospitals.

Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care is currently at five hospitals in New Jersey. Rizzo discusses how the program works and explains how to bring Literature & Medicine to other hospitals in the state.

As medical practice gets increasingly technical, healthcare practitioners often feel that they’re unable to adequately connect with their patients. Kaufman explores how literature can help a doctor be open to the complexity of their patient’s lives and experiences.

Working in healthcare is a stressful occupation. Kaufman and McConnell discuss how literature can help healthcare professionals cope with the burnout experienced by so many in the field.

To Learn More Visit:

  • NJCH Literature & Medicine: Find out more about Literature & Medicine in New Jersey, one of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities major programs.
  • Maine Humanities Council Literature & Medicine: Creators of Literature & Medicine, the Maine Humanities Council offers tremendous resources related to the program nationwide and globally.
  • Center for Humanism and Medicine at UMDNJ-NJMS: Featured on this episode, the Center for Humanism and Medicine at UMDNJ-NJMS is at the forefront of combining the humanities with medical education.
  • Suzanne McConnell: In addition to facilitating Literature & Medicine sessions at UMDNJ and VA Healthcare New Jersey, Suzanne McConnell is an accomplished writer, editor and teacher.
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