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From Reading to Healing

Teaching Medical Professionalism through Literature

Forthcoming, Literature & Literary Criticism, Literature & Medicine, Medicine

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Foreword by Arthur W. Frank

DescriptionSelected readings and commentary for the medical humanities

Learning how to behave and engage professionally can be one of the most challenging parts of embarking on a career in the medical field. But using the “power of stories” can teach, heal, and enlighten; encourage the development of empathy; and help healthcare providers “be with suffering” and appreciate who their patients are, not just what disease they have. The humanities offer knowledge and skills that may move students toward becoming better physicians. The incorporation of the humanities into the traditional medical education curriculum can truly make a difference.

In this expansive anthology, Susan Stagno and Michael Blackie assemble an insightful group of contributors to discuss the ways in which medical professionals can powerfully engage with their students through a variety of literary texts. Examples as diverse as Charles Bukowski, Leo Tolstoy, William Carlos Williams, Sherwood Anderson, Mary Shelley, Stephen King, the comic strip Pearls Before Swine, and the sayings of Buddha will provide both teachers and students a rich cache of stories for discussion and inspiration.

AuthorsSusan Stagno, MD, is professor of psychiatry and bioethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and holds the Sihler Family Professorship in Psychiatry. She is currently the Director for Education for the Psychiatry Department and faculty lead for the Humanities Pathway.

Michael Blackie, PhD, is visiting associate professor in the department of medical education at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Medicine. He is associate editor of the Journal of Medical Humanities, book review editor for the journal Literature and Medicine, and editor of the Literature and Medicine book series for Kent State University Press.

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