1996-1997 indexDistributed March 21, 1997
Literature and Medicine
Program to share experiences of doctors, patients and families
"Literature and Medicine," a three-day series of forums, opens at 4 p.m. April 4 with a lecture by Rita Charon, M.D., of Columbia University. Charon will discuss ways to bring doctors closer to patients' experiences and ways to share a common language when discussing illness.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- If great literature can lead readers to a richer and more profound understanding of human experience, what might literature do for doctors, patients, friends and family who face the looming threat of serious illness?
That is the central question behind the 1997 Harriet W. Sheridan Literature and Medicine Lectureship and Forum. The three-day series, titled "Literature and Medicine for the 21st Century: Read Two Chapters and Call Me in the Morning," will be open to the public without charge April 4-6 in the Salomon Center at Brown University. The event is named for Harriet Sheridan, professor of English and former dean of the College at Brown, who died in 1992.
The program begins at 4 p.m. Friday, April 4, with the Harriet W. Sheridan Literature and Medicine Lecture by Rita Charon, M.D., of Columbia University. Charon's address, titled "Origins and Destinies: Stories of Bodies, Stories of Lives," will discuss ways to bring doctors closer to patients' experiences and to share a common language when discussing illness. Charon teaches medical students and physicians about medical ethics, developing alliances with patients and families, and deepening one's self knowledge.
Immediately after Charon's talk, the audience will hear a message from Brian Dickinson, editorial columnist for the Providence Journal-Bulletin, who has Lou Gehrig's disease. The opening session will be followed by a reception hosted by Donald Marsh, M.D., dean of medicine and biological sciences, with special guest Vincent A. Cianci Jr., mayor of Providence.
The balance of the three-day forum offers nationally recognized speakers who will explore tales of patients and families, stories of mental illness, and writings of physicians. The event is sponsored by the Brown University School of Medicine and The Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities.
"Harriet believed that it wasn't necessary for a doctor to become ill or a doctor's family member to become ill for that doctor to experience what it's like to deal with illness," said Lynn Epstein, M.D., associate dean of medicine and coordinator of the conference. "This program is a forum for doctors and patients to share experiences, designed to shorten the communication gap between those doctors and patients."
All sessions are in the Salomon Center for Teaching, located on The College Green
Friday, April 4
The Harriet W. Sheridan Literature and Medicine Lecture
"Origins and Destinies: Stories of Bodies, Stories of Lives"
Rita Charon, M.D., Columbia University
Saturday, April 5
Breakfast, book signing and discussion with Richard Selzer, M.D., surgeon, author and playwright
"The Surgeon as Writer"
Richard Selzer, M.D.
"What We Talk About When We Talk About Medicine"
Susan Mates, M.D., author, physician and clinical associate professor of medicine, Brown University
Concurrent workshops/Complimentary lunch
"A Writing Workshop for Doctors and Patients"
Rita Charon, M.D., Columbia University
"Retributory Illnesses: A Cross-Cultural Approach to the Meaning of Sickness"
Dore Levy, author, associate professor of comparative literature and chairman of the Department of East Asian Studies, Brown University
"The Story of Exposure: Intersection of Literature and Medicine"
Arnold Weinstein, author and Edna and Richard Salomon distinguished professor of comparative literature, Brown University
"Falling Out of Love"
Peter Kramer, M.D., best-selling author and clinical professor of psychiatry, Brown University
"Patients' Stories of Mental Illness"
Anne Hudson Jones, founding editor of the journal Literature and Medicine and professor, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
"Alzheimer's On Stage"
A performance and panel discussion featuring Suzanne Poirier, author, editor of the journal Literature and Medicine and associate professor of literature and medical education, University of Illinois
Sunday, April 6
"The Doctor Makes a Poem!"
Breakfast and discussion with John Stone, M.D., cardiologist, author of poetry, prose and music and associate dean and director of admission, Emory University School of Medicine
"My Own Private Rainbow: A Life in Writing"
John Stone, M.D.
"Family Caregiving and the Burden of Memory"
Suzanne Poirier, with commentary by Barbara Dickinson
Closing Plenary/Complimentary Lunch
"Reflections and Projections"
Rita Charon, M.D., Anne Hudson Jones, Suzanne Poirier, Richard Selzer, M.D., John Stone, M.D.
For more information about the program, contact Epstein at Lynn_Epstein@Brown.edu or (401) 863-1140 or visit the Literature and Medicine web site at "www.brown.edu/Departments/English/courses/Epstein/sympo.htm".######