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Literature & Medicine

The study of history, literature, and culture helps provide a broad context for the disciplines of science and medicine. Literature in particular opens us to new worlds and allows us to bear witness to the lives of others.  For medical caregivers working in an increasingly multicultural world, literature can also offer new ways of understanding and responding to patients and their families.

“I enjoyed the evening and am looking forward to more evenings of discussion. I see only positive ripples generating outward from here.” ~ Kathy

Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care™ is an award-winning program offered by Humanities Councils in 26 states around the country, including Delaware. Begun 20 years ago in Maine, Literature & Medicine offers scholar-led reading and discussion groups that use works of fiction, poetry, drama, and non-fiction to explore what’s at the heart of healthcare.

Participants come from all branches of medical care as well as the general public.  In a study conducted at the US Veterans Administration, participants reported an 82% increase in empathy, a 61% improvement in job satisfaction, and a 59% rise in cultural awareness*.

“The readings were great and thought-provoking.  Seems like a good group of people able to dig into the texts.” ~ Tim

If you are a medical organization or professional interested in offering a Literature & Medicine program at your facility, please contact us.

If you are interested in participating in the program:

Department of Health and Social Services in New Castle:  Register here.  Sessions are Wednesdays at noon: March 18, April 15, May 20, June 17, July 15, August 19, September 16.

Bayhealth in Dover:  Contact us to register. Sessions are Tuesdays at 6 PM: April 14, May 12, June 9, July 14, August 11, September 8.

Past titles include:
Imagine What It’s Like, A Literature and Medicine Anthology by Maine Humanities Council
Medicine: A Treasury of Art and Literature by Carmichael & Ratzan (Editors)
Domestic Work
by Natasha Trethewey
Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Kang & Pederson
The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients’ Lives by Theresa Brown, R.N.
Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon by Buzz Aldrin & Ken Abraham

*Program Evaluation, Literature & Medicine Program, Healthcare Facilities, United States Department of Veterans Affairs by Dr. Bruce B. Clary, Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, 2011.