1020 Locust Street
Jefferson Alumni Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19107
About the Program
The Jefferson Humanities & Health Artist-in-Residence program invites creative practitioners to collaborate with the Jefferson community in the development of arts and humanities-centered inquiries into health and wellness. Across a period of sustained engagement, the artist will work alongside healthcare professionals, patients and their families, researchers, and students to explore how creative practices can help realize a holistic community of care and open new contexts for understanding each other and the work we pursue at Jefferson.
Trapeta B. Mayson & Yolanda Wisher
2022 - 2023
Trapeta B. Mayson and Yolanda Wisher are Philadelphia-based poets whose collaborations include the Healing Verse Poetry Line, a project created by Mayson in 2021 during her tenure as Philadelphia Poet Laureate. Their residency will explore and build connections between the Healing Verse Poetry Line and the Jefferson ecosystem of students, trainees, patients, families and staff.
Trapeta B. Mayson was born in Liberia. Her family immigrated to the United States when she was a young girl, and she was raised in Philadelphia. She earned her BA in Political Science and Master’s Degrees in Social Services and Business from Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research and Villanova University School of Business, respectively. The author of two self-published poetry collections, Mocha Melodies (Liberian Girl Publishing Company), and the chapbook She Was Once Herself (2012), Mayson also released the music and poetry projects SCAT and This Is How We Get Through, in collaboration with jazz guitarist Monnette Sudler. A Cave Canem, Pew, and Aspen Words fellow, she was awarded a Leeway Transformation Award and is a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grantee, among others. In addition to her poetry work, Mayson is a licensed clinical social worker and Chief Program Officer at a community mental health agency in Philadelphia. She is a member of the Greene Street Artist Cooperative and was the 2020-2021 City of Philadelphia Poet Laureate. In 2021, she received an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship.
Philadelphia-based poet, singer, educator, and curator Yolanda Wisher is author of Monk Eats an Afro and co-editor of the anthology Peace is a Haiku Song with mentor Sonia Sanchez. Wisher was named inaugural Poet Laureate of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, in 1999 and third Poet Laureate of Philadelphia for 2016 and 2017. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Poem-a-Day and has been commissioned by the Institute for Contemporary Art, HealthSpark, the Statue of Peace Plaza Committee, CBC Radio, and Philadelphia Jazz Project. A Pew and Cave Canem Fellow, Wisher received the Leeway Foundation's Transformation Award in 2019 for her commitment to art for social change. She taught high school English for a decade, co-founded the youth-led Germantown Poetry Festival, and served as Director of Art Education for Philadelphia Mural Arts. Wisher teaches poetry workshops for all ages in a variety of settings. She is the founder of the School of Guerrilla Poetics, a training ground for folks interested in nurturing and mobilizing communities through poetry. Wisher earned an MA in English/Poetry from Temple University and a BA in English/Black Studies from Lafayette College, where she received an honorary doctorate of letters in 2021.
2019 - Present
Josh Robinson is a professional percussionist, teaching artist, and drum facilitator. For the past twenty years, he has used his skills, expertise and life experience to share drumming and the many gifts it brings with thousands of people each year around the U.S. Since 2019, Josh has served as the inaugural Jefferson Humanities & Health Artist-in-Residence at Thomas Jefferson University. At Jefferson, Josh has also taught a medical humanities selective course, The Language of Music: Improvisation in Sound, to students at Sidney Kimmel Medical College since 2017. Josh’s work has been recognized with a 2021 New Jersey Governor’s Award for Excellence in Arts Education, Performing Artist of the Year by Young Audiences NJ/Eastern PA, Community Hero Award from The Uplift Center for Grieving Children in Philadelphia, and a Service Award from the Rutgers University Future Scholars program for at-risk youth in Camden, New Jersey.
During his time as the Humanities & Health artist-in-residence, Josh has facilitated art- and music-based activities with patients in the Jefferson Health system, led workshops for Jefferson students in Center City and East Falls, and pioneered an online video series promoting creativity at home during the Covid-19 pandemic. Check out the Creative Wellness Video Project, featuring work by Josh and Philadelphia-based poet, educator, and curator Yolanda Wisher.
These workshops highlighted the unifying force music can have. It can be a way to build relationships and connections with people who you otherwise may have nothing in common with. I love the way drumming, and music in general, can be used as a tool for communicating and emoting, many times without the need for words.
Nazanin Moghbeli, MD, FACC is an Iranian-American artist and cardiologist, and the director of the Cardiac Care Unit at Einstein Medical Center. Nazanin uses art to inspire, decompress, and deepen curiosity about the human body and medicine. She is interested in the ways that her practice as a doctor informs her art, and how her art provides a unique perspective that she brings to the bedside. At Einstein Medical Center, she helped develop workshops that incorporate art education into medical training, and she has exhibited her work locally at the Science Center, University of Pennsylvania, and various galleries, as well as in Paris.
See Nazanin's work featured in Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth's Literary and Art Journal, or more on her website.