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Jefferson Humanities & Health

Mike Natter, SKMC Class of 2017, "Neural Expressions," ink on paper, 2017
Mike Natter, SKMC Class of 2017, "Neural Expressions," ink on paper, 2017

Jefferson encourages student engagement in the arts and humanities in recognition of their capacity to foster essential skills related to healthcare including observation, critical thinking, self-reflection and empathy.

Each academic year, the Dr. Yoshihisa Asano Humanities & Health Series explores a thought-provoking theme from a broad range of perspectives, inviting consideration and action around urgent issues impacting how we improve lives. Series programs promote understanding of the social contexts of health and wellness, the lived experiences of diverse individuals and communities, and self-care for health professionals. During the 2017-2018 academic year, the Asano Humanities & Health Series investigates the theme Safety.

Throughout the year, series programs will explore dimensions of Safety, including:

  • Safety as a social privilege related to age, ability, gender, race, ethnicity, class, and sexual orientation 
  • Inequities as causes of health vulnerabilities 
  • Burnout prevention for health professionals 
  • Creating safe spaces and supporting diversity of opinion 
  • Risk-taking in art, design and entrepreneurship 

Students are invited to complete the Asano Humanities & Health Certificate by attending eight series events and completing a portfolio of reflective response essays. Students who complete the certificate will be recognized during a Spring 2018 celebration. Registration for the certificate program will open in August. 

The Dr. Yoshihisa Asano Humanities & Health Series is named for Dr. Yoshihisa Asano, whose generous support enables Jefferson educational programs that advance humanism and compassionate care. 

For additional information or questions, contact Megan Voeller, Director of Humanities, at or 215-503-9050.  

Announcements and Ongoing Programs

Jefferson students can take advantage of student discounts and pay-as-you-wish programs at many Philadelphia cultural organizations, including theaters and museums. For a select list of such programs, click here and scroll to Arts & Humanities. 

Inside Out is an annual art and literary journal which showcases photography, paintings and sketches, short stories, poems and essays by Jefferson students. All Jefferson students are welcome to submit their work to future editions of Inside Out.

A call for submissions is issued in the fall of each year, but current students may submit material at any time during the year. Interested students can contact Dorissa Bolinski, the journal's staff advisor.

To view and download a PDF of the 2017 issue, click here

Eakins Writers Workshop 

July 10-21, Weekday evenings, 6-8 p.m. (detailed schedule below)

Jefferson is pleased to offer the Eakins Writers Workshop, a two-week intensive writing workshop for Jefferson students, faculty and staff, led by PhilaU writing instructor Katherine Hubbard. 

The theme of the Eakins Writers Workshop is trauma. Trauma of all sorts happens every day. People become injured, ill, or lose a loved one—everyone has their own definition of trauma and their own method of managing it. As Susan Sontag wrote, we all are citizens of both the “kingdom of the well and the kingdom of the sick,” yet health professionals dwell more often than most people in both realms, stepping into the stories of patients and families in order to help them. Writing may help health professionals relieve the stress of being a container for their patient’s stories. It may also hone skills of observation and reflection, alleviate feelings of isolation and, perhaps most importantly, remind writers of their capacity for human empathy.

Over two weeks, workshop participants will write, read, write more, discuss each other’s work and revise. Participants will read exemplary texts by a variety of authors, and discuss structure, form, characterization, plot, style, dialogue, endings and revision. 

By the end of the two weeks, participants will have written one or two pieces that have been thoughtfully refined through the workshop process. Writers of all levels are welcome.    


Mon, July 10, 6-8 p.m. 

Tues, July 11, 6-8 p.m. 

Wed, July 12, 6-8 p.m. 

Thurs, July 13, 6-8 p.m.

Fri, July 14, 6-8 p.m. 

Mon, July 17, 6-8 p.m. 

Tues, July 18, 6-8 p.m. 

Wed, July 19, 6-8 p.m. 

Thurs, July 20, 6-8 p.m.

Fri, July 21, 6-8 p.m. 

Location: Jefferson Center City Campus

Art for the Healer: Training the Eye through Visual Art & Design

July 11-August 1, Tuesdays, 6:30-9:30 p.m. (four evening sessions, plus one visit to the Rodin Museum)

Free for Jefferson students; registration required by 6/30

Register at

Jefferson’s Office of Student Life & Engagement-Humanities is pleased to offer a special visual art course designed for health professions students, in partnership with Fleisher Art Memorial. Taking place on Fleisher’s campus (719 Catharine St), the five-week workshop will serve as an introduction to the visual principals and elements of art and design. Emphasizing observation, the course introduces students to technical skills in different media while encouraging intuitive self-expression. Lessons are tailored to serve health professionals by addressing goals of increasing empathy, strengthening crucial perceptual skills, and studying anatomical structures. 

The majority of class time is devoted to inquiry-based exercises that provide hands-on experience with graphite, ink, paint, and clay, and encourage learning through playful experimentation. Additionally, students are exposed to the ideas and works of artists past and present through presentations, a field trip to the Rodin Museum, and supplemental readings. No previous art experience is required; all are welcome. 

Learning Outcomes 

  • Students gain familiarity with universal elements (shape, line, form, space, value, color, texture) and principles (emphasis, balance, harmony, contrast, rhythm, movement, proportion, variety) of visual art. 
  • Students learn the basics of manipulating graphite, ink, paint, and clay. 
  • Students hone observational skills, with the goal of improving patient observation and image-reading. 
    • Recognizing subtle shifts in color, value, and pattern 
    • Truly seeing vs. assuming what is before your eyes 
  • Students become more acutely aware of typical body proportions, and gain familiarity with the visual aspects of particular anatomical structures, including the hand and head. 
  • Students engage in thoughtful consideration of their peers’ artistic decisions through group critiques. 
  • Students gain insights into historical and contemporary artists’ works through presentations, a field trip to the Rodin Museum, supplemental readings, and guided discussions. 
  • Students express emotions, arising independently or through empathy with subjects, through visual language. 

Course Outline 

Classes will take place on Fleisher Art Memorial’s campus: 719 Catharine St, Philadelphia, PA 19147 

July 11-August 1, Tuesday evenings, 6:30-9:30 p.m. 

Tuesday 7/11: Observation and Line 

  • Slow, focused observation: pencil contour drawing
  • Intuition & experimentation: large-scale ink drawings 
  • Critique/group discussion 

Homework: Smartphone Photo Assignment—Discovered Line 

Tuesday 7/18: The Body: Gesture & Proportion 

  • Figure drawing 
  • Empathizing with the subject: capturing gesture 
  • Seeing shape and proportion, drawing the model in proportion 

Homework: Reading TBD 

Tuesday 7/25: Visualizing Form 

  • Clay modeling from a bust and/or skull 

Homework: Smartphone Photo Assignment—Portrait 

Tuesday 8/1: Emotion Through Color 

  • Recognizing subtle shifts in color and in value: acrylic color studies 
  • Exploring how visual elements express emotion: creating an abstract painting based on a piece of music 

Homework: Reading TBD 

Session Date To Be Determined: Rodin Museum Visit


HeART Stories invites Jefferson students to participate an innovative mentorship experience with people living with dementia and their caregivers. Students and community members will engage each other through conversations that start with their shared experiences in front of works of art at Philadelphia cultural institutions.

What are Jefferson students saying about HeART Stories?

This program has given me so much to think about and so many valuable lessons from the mentors, the coordinators, as well as my classmates. It truly was one of my favorite things about my first semester. I will forever treasure the experiences I’ve had in this program and would love to be a part of it again.
— Student, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

The reinforcement of being aware of our own view/perceptions/emotions and how they may affect our interactions and care [giving] is one of the greatest takeaways I had.
— Student, Jefferson College of Nursing

Emphasizing that our patients are individuals, who should not be viewed solely based upon their impairments [will transfer to patient care].
— Student, Jefferson College of Health Professions

Regardless of health conditions, art brought us together. I learned to understand people’s backgrounds through art and respect their perspectives.
— Student, Jefferson College of Pharmacy

HeART Stories is designed and facilitated by Susan Shifrin, PhD; Florence Gelo, DMin, NCPsyA; and Teya Sepinuck. 

Choose one group to join. Pre-registration is required. For more information or to sign up, contact Susan Shifrin, executive director of ARTZ Philadelphia, at  

Fall 2017 Schedule


Section 1
Sat, Sept 9, 9:30-10:30 a.m. - Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, 1020 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Sat, Sept 16, 9:30-10:30 a.m. - Hamilton 224/225

Sat, Sept 23, 9:30-10:30 a.m. - Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens  

Sat, Oct 14, 10:30-11:30 a.m. - Hamilton 224/225

Sat, Oct 21, 9:30-11 a.m. - Hamilton 224/225

Sat, Oct 28, 9:30-10:30 a.m. - Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens  

Sat, Nov 11, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Hamilton 224/225

Sat, Nov 18, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. - TBD

Sat, Dec 2, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. - TBD

Sat, Dec 9, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. - TBD

Section 2
Sat, Sept 9, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Woodmere Art Museum*

Sat, Sept 16, 3-4 p.m. - Hamilton 224/225

Sat, Sept 23, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Woodmere Art Museum*

Sat, Oct 14, 12:30-1:30 p.m. - Hamilton 224/225

Sat, Oct 21, 12:30-2 p.m. - Hamilton 224/225

Sat, Oct 28, 11:30AM-12:30 p.m. - Woodmere Art Museum*

Sat, Nov 11, 1:30-4:30 p.m. - Hamilton 224/225

Sat, Nov 18, 1-3 p.m. - TBD

Sat, Dec 2, 1-3 p.m. - TBD

Sat, Dec 9, 1-3 p.m. - TBD

*Shuttle bus from Jefferson provided. Meet at 10:30 a.m. at 10th and Locust Streets; bus returns at 1:30 p.m.


Section 3
Tues, Sept 5, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. - The Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130

Tues, Sept 12, 9:30-10:30 a.m. - JAH M25

Tues, Sept 19, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. - JAH Eakins Lounge

Tues, Oct 3, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - JAH M25 

Tues, Oct 10, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. - The Barnes Foundation 

Tues, Oct 17, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. - JAH Eakins Lounge

Tues, Oct 31, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - JAH M25  

Tues, Nov 14, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. - TBD 

Tues, Nov 28, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. - TBD 

Tues, Dec 5, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. - TBD  

Section 4
Tues, Sept 5, 1-2 p.m. - Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, 1020 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Tues, Sept 12, 3-4 p.m. - JAH M25

Tues, Sept 19, 1-2 p.m. - JAH Eakins Lounge

Tues, Oct 3, 1-2:30 p.m. - JAH M25

Tues, Oct 10, 1-2 p.m. - Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens 

Tues, Oct 17, 1-2 p.m. - JAH Eakins Lounge 

Tues, Oct 31, 1:30-4:30 p.m. - JAH M25 

Tues, Nov 14, 1-3 p.m. - TBD 

Tues, Nov 28, 1-3 p.m. - TBD 

Tues, Dec 5, 1-3 p.m. - TBD  


Poetry Workshop with Philadelphia Poet Laureate Yolanda Wisher    

Sat., Sept. 2, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.  

Jefferson students are invited to share and revise their poems in this workshop with Philadelphia Poet Laureate Yolanda Wisher in advance of “A Friend of a Friend Sent Me” (Sept. 14). Lunch provided. Limited to twelve students; advanced registration required.    

Register via Eventbrite starting August 1:

*Students may earn credit for the Asano Humanities & Health Certificate by attending this event. 

A Friend of a Friend Sent Me

Thurs., Sept. 14, 7-8:30 p.m., St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 10th St. between Chestnut and Market

Philadelphia Poet Laureate Yolanda Wisher, guest poets and Jefferson student poets read works in response to the Asano Humanities & Health Series theme, Safety. Featuring Wisher, Trapeta B. Mayson, Irène Mathieu and others. 

This event is free and open to the public. 

*Students may earn credit for the Asano Humanities & Health Certificate by attending this event. 


Opera Philadelphia: We Shall Not Be Moved

Mon., Sept. 18 & Thurs., Sept. 21, 8-10:30 p.m., Wilma Theater, 265 South Broad Street,

Please note: Jefferson students may register for one free ticket for either the Monday or Thursday performance. Registration via Eventbrite opens on Aug. 14. 

Register here for Mon., Sept. 18 tickets:

Register here for Thurs., Sept. 21 tickets:

A fusion of disciplines and genres, the score of We Shall Not Be Moved blends funk, rock, hip-hop, and classical music into a vital, experiential sonic form. This timely exploration of past and present struggles combines spoken word, contemporary movement, video projection, classical, R&B and jazz singing, and a brooding, often joyful score filled with place, purpose, and possibility.

On the run after a series of tragic incidents, five North Philly teens find refuge in an abandoned, condemned house in West Philadelphia at the exact location that served as headquarters of the MOVE organization, where a 1985 standoff with police ended with a neighborhood destroyed and 11 people dead, including five children. This self-defined family is assuaged and even inspired by the ghosts who inhabit this home and begin to see their squatting as a matter of destiny. A world premiere chamber opera by Daniel Bernard Roumain, librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and celebrated director, choreographer, dramaturge and dancer Bill T. Jones.

Source: Opera Philadelphia

*Students may earn credit for the Asano Humanities & Health Certificate by attending this event.