Literature & Medicine:
Humanities at the Heart of Health Care®
Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care® is a national, award-winning, hospital-based reading-and-discussion program for health care professionals. The goal of the program, which was developed by the Maine Humanities Council in 1997, is to improve and enhance patient care through facilitated group discussions of literature that encourage participants to reflect on their interactions with patients, patients' families, and each other, and sensitize them to the need for good communication in their work and their lives.
The program involves a heterogeneous mix of veteran health care providers-doctors, nurses, other medical professionals, staff and administrators-coming together with a trained facilitator to discuss novels, stories, poems, plays, and essays. Literature offers vicarious experiences of outside worlds and presents accounts of illness, death, and human relationships in different places and among disparate peoples. Reading and discussing literature increases cultural awareness, enhances working relationships, and improves empathy for patients. The Literature & Medicine program has a significant effect on the way participants understand their work, and their relationships with patients and each other.
Program Structure and Delivery
- Groups of up to 20 health care professionals meet once a month for six months.
- The groups are intentionally diverse, and everyone involved in patient care, from providers to staff, is invited to participate.
- Participants are expected to attend every session.
- Everyone goes by first names, and all have an equal voice.
- Unlike a book club, the program's readings focus on health-care related issues, either directly or obliquely, and the discussion sessions facilitated.
- A 3-person team develops the program syllabus for each site, including an Arizona Humanities Council staff person, a hospital liaison, and a facilitator.
- Generally, the program is free to participants OR it may have minimal or sliding scale fees so that no on is precluded from participating because of cost.
- The outside scholar facilitators are selected by AHC in consultation with the host facility.
The Arizona Humanities Council provides:
- A program brochure and poster to help site liaisons market the program to their colleagues.
- A manual for organizing the program.
- A trained facilitator.
- Administrative support and program evaluation.
- A grant of $2,500 to be used toward the facilitator's stipend/travel reimbursements and/or books/media expenses for the group.
The site must provide the minimum participants (at least 10) for the program; the remaining funding for the facilitator; a program meeting space; food for the participants; and, when possible, the books.
The team of hospital liaison, facilitator and AHC staff member determines the reading list for each site.
How to Apply:
Application for 2011-2012 Arizona Literature and Medicine programs.
If your health care facility is interested in hosting Literature & Medicine, please contact Programs and Grants Manager Erica Kinias at 602/257-0335 x26 or by email.