Since 2012, the Alabama Humanities Alliance has partnered with hospitals, veterans centers, and community organizations statewide to offer the Humanities and Healthcare program. Made possible through support from the Daniel Foundation of Alabama.
This reading and discussion program benefits medical personnel, community leaders, scholars, social workers, and their patients. Humanities-based programs for healthcare workers have proven to have a significant effect on the way participants understand their work, as well as their relationships with patients and each other.
Workshops explore short stories, poetry, fiction, and personal narratives in a small-group setting that allows participants to share their own reflections and experiences with others. Healthcare professionals who participate gain enhanced understanding and empathy for their patients and their colleagues.
Why it matters: The growing field of medical humanities enables healthcare professionals to better understand their patients, who may be of different religious, socio-economic, or cultural backgrounds. Literature offers a way to connect to people and cultures beyond our own, offering vicarious experiences of other worlds, and, supplying full-bodied accounts of illness, death, and human relationships in all places and among all peoples.
Literature and the Veteran Experience is a humanities-based reading and discussion program — for veterans and by veterans — that provides a veteran-centered setting and context for participants to connect with one another, build relationships, and share their experiences. The program creates an opportunity for veterans to reflect upon issues of particular interest and engage with materials that help them connect with the experiences of others across time and cultures.
Why it matters:
“While stress is a fact of life for doctors and nurses in all hospitals, medical personnel in Veterans Affairs centers face even greater challenges,” says Alan Brown, Ph.D., a program facilitator. “VA facilities are often underfunded and understaffed. They also see a marked increase in patients, resulting from aging baby boomers and the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the global war on terror. Also, the patient population is increasingly diverse in terms of ethnicity, age, education level, and religious background.
“The physical strain of trying to meet the needs of these patients is compounded by an extremely large number of patients with post-traumatic stress, and the fact that so many veterans never seem to get well, especially those suffering from chronic pain and substance abuse. Frustration and despair are facts of life for injured veterans and those caring for them.”
Feb. 15, 2023: A partner event with UAB Arts in Medicine. This two-part film and poetry discussion will generate constructive conversations around the film "Toxic: A Black Woman's Story," and the poetry collection "Mend" by Kwoya Maples.Learn more
March 3-4, 2023: A partner event with City Blocks Wellness Center during Jubilee 2023 in Selma. These two workshops will generate constructive conversations for mental wellness professionals around the poetry collection "Mend" by Kwoya Maples.Learn more
Note: Each workshop below will use the poetry collection Mend by Kwoya Maples.
March 24, 2023: Humanities and Healthcare workshop with Salaam Green. Guided conversation with healthcare professionals using literature and poetry to create greater understanding and empathy with patients and colleagues. In partnership with Project Horseshoe Farm. Selma Book Club. 12:30-2 p.m. (Selma)
April 6, 2023: Humanities and Healthcare workshop with Salaam Green. Guided conversation with healthcare professionals using literature and poetry to create greater understanding and empathy with patients and colleagues. Newbern Public Library. (Newbern)
April 30, 2023: Humanities and Healthcare workshop with Salaam Green. Guided conversation with healthcare professionals using literature and poetry to create greater understanding and empathy with patients and colleagues. In partnership with Project Horseshoe Farm. Old Opera House. 12:30-2 p.m. (Greensboro)
This program is based on the Maine Humanities Council’s national award-winning, scholar-led humanities program for healthcare professionals, Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Healthcare, which reaches hundreds of providers, staff members, administrators and policy makers in facilities across the country, affecting the care of thousands.
For more information about our Literature and Healthcare workshops or our Literature and the Veteran Experience workshops, contact Laura Anderson at 205.558.3992 or [email protected].