Thomas Jefferson University

Health Humanities Reading Group

The Health Humanities Reading Group gathers weekly to think critically about health as it is understood through various disciplinary perspectives, social contexts and value systems. This ongoing program is open to students, faculty and staff, and offers an informal learning environment facilitated by participants. 

During Fall 2020, HHRG will convene virtually to explore topics related to Creativity. Participants are expected to read, and come prepared to discuss, the text selected for each session. To access the registration and reading, participants may self-enroll in the Jefferson Humanities & Health organization on Canvas, or email Megan Voeller at megan.voeller@jefferson.edu.

How to access the registration & reading in Canvas:

  1. Self-enroll in the Jefferson Humanities & Health Canvas course here.
  2. Go to the "Health Humanities Reading Group" page in the "Ongoing Programs" module.
  3. Register for the session to receive the Zoom link.
  4. Download (and read!) the listed reading(s).

All are welcome! Register for a session to receive the Zoom link.


Monday, August 10, 12-1 p.m., Zoom (reading & registration in Canvas) 

Reading: Chapter 5: "Dominic: Body of Evidence" in Harper, Michele. (2020). The Beauty in Breaking: A Memoir. Penguin.
Time: 16 min read

Leading up to StoryCorps founder Dave Isay’s visit on 9/16, the Health Humanities Reading Group will be considering a selection of personal stories related to health and social care. Chapter 5 of Dr. Michele Harper’s memoir, The Beauty in Breaking, details her experience as an emergency medicine physician in Philadelphia who refuses to engage in an unlawful medical examination of a Black man brought to the ER by police on suspicion of drug possession. Read more about Michele Harper’s memoir in The New York Times here


Monday, August 17, 12-1 p.m., Zoom (reading & registration in Canvas)

Reading: Chapter 3: "Matched-Pair" in El-Sayed, Abdul. (2020). Healing Politics: A Doctor’s Journey into the Heart of Our Political Epidemic. Abrams Press.
Time: 15 min read

Leading up to StoryCorps founder Dave Isay’s visit on 9/16, the Health Humanities Reading Group will be considering a selection of personal stories related to health and social care. Chapter 3 of Dr. Abdul El-Sayed’s memoir, Healing Politics, describes how his childhood experience with racism and Islamophobia influenced his decision to become an epidemiologist, physician, and activist, and how practicing Islam informs his work.


Monday, August 24, 12-1 p.m., Zoom (register in Canvas)

Reading/Listening:

Time: 35 min of reading and listening

Leading up to StoryCorps founder Dave Isay’s visit on 9/16, the Health Humanities Reading Group will be considering a selection of personal stories related to health and social care. This week’s readings focus on stories of healthcare providers and other essential workers coping with life during the pandemic. 

Special guest discussant: Danielle Snyderman, MD, Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine, Sidney Kimmel Medical College


Monday, September 21, 12-1 p.m., Zoom (reading & registration in Canvas)

Reading: Watson, Katie. (2011). “Serious Play: Teaching Medical Skills with Improvisation Theater Techniques.” Academic Medicine, 86 (10), p. 1260-1265. 
Time: 16 min read

In "Serious Play," Professor Katie Watson, lawyer and bioethicist, describes her medical improv course at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and presents the importance of introducing medical students to improvisational technique and practice. Watson argues that improv develops active listening, collaboration, observation, and one's propensity to deal with unpredictability—all integral, and often untaught, skills needed for well-rounded medical practice.

Special guest discussant: Katie Watson, JD, Associate Professor of Medical Social Sciences, Medical Education and Obstetrics and Gynecology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University


Monday, September 28, 12-1 p.m., Zoom 

Reading/Listening:

Time: 40 min of reading and listening

Leading up to 1619 Project founder Nikole Hannah-Jone’s visit on 10/14, HHRG will pay particular attention to race in medicine, health equity, and education. This week, the Health Humanities Reading Group explores the life and legacy of Henrietta Lacks, whose cervical cells, taken and used without her knowledge, have played a role in modernity as we know it: from vaccines to medicine to space travel. Lacks’ story is unique but also representative of the pervasive mistreatment of Black people by institutions of medicine, science, education, and healthcare.

Special guest discussant: Ana Mari­a Lopez, MD, MPH, MACP, Professor and Vice Chair, Medical Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Chief of Cancer Services, Jefferson Health New Jersey, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center


Monday, October 12, 12-1 p.m., Zoom 

Reading: Ray, Keisha. (2019). The Power of Black Patients' Testimonies When Teaching Medical Racism. In O. Banner, N. Carlin, T. R. Cole (Eds.), Teaching Health Humanities (p. 129-141). Oxford.
Time: 16min

Leading up to 1619 Project founder Nikole Hannah-Jone’s visit on 10/14, HHRG will pay particular attention to race in medicine, health equity, and education. This week, Dr. Keisha Ray, PhD, joins HHRG to discuss how incorporating Black patients’ testimonies into health education allows students to grasp both the historical and present forms of medical racism, and become better providers for a population long disenfranchised by healthcare. Dr. Ray's chapter also suggests that proper medical racism education has the power to improve care and patient compliance, especially for Black patients, and complicate notions of empathy and intersectionality in healthcare professions.

Special guest discussant: Keisha S. Ray, PhD, Assistant Professor, McGovern Center for Humanities & Ethics at McGovern Medical School, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston


Monday, November 2, 12-1 p.m., Zoom 

Readings:
1]
Alexander, Stephon. (2016). Introduction to The Jazz of physics: the secret link between music and the structure of the universe (pp. 1-9). Basic Books.
2] Haidet, Paul. (2007). Jazz and the ‘art’ of medicine: improvisation in the medical encounter. Annals of Family Medicine, 5(2). 164–169.
Time: 20 min read

In anticipation of theoretical physicist and jazz musician Stephon Alexander’s visit on 11/11, HHRG will consider improvisational technique in healthcare, science, and music. Improvisation is essential to fine-tuning communication, listening, and research skills and providing truly patient-centered care.

Special guest discussant: Debra Lew Harder, MD, DMA, Medicine + Music, Office of Academic Affairs, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University.


Monday, November 9, 12-1 p.m., Zoom 

Readings:
1] "Life During Covid-19" Preliminary Findings Report by Jefferson MPH student researchers Julianne LaRosa, Cierrah Doran, Amanda Guth, et al.  
2] Bugos, Eva, Rosemary Frasso, et al. “Practical Guidance and Ethical Considerations for Studies Using Photo Elicitation Interviews.” Preventing Chronic Disease 11, no. E189 (2014): 1-9. 
Time: 20 min read

This week, HHRG probes the ethics and practice of “photo-elicitation,” a qualitative interviewing technique in which researchers ask community members to photograph their environment, and then use the images to guide in-depth interviews. HHRG will be joined by Dr. Rosemary (Rosie) Frasso, PhD, CPH, Public Health Program Director, and current MPH Students Julianne LaRosa (Jules), Cierrah Doran, and Amanda Guth. The guests will discuss the photo-elicitation project that they initiated at the start of the pandemic, intending to document the student experience of transitioning to online learning and adjusting to new living arrangements.

Special guest discussants: Rosemary (Rosie) Frasso, PhD, CPH, Associate Professor and Program Director, Public Health, Jefferson College of Population Health, and current MPH Students Julianne LaRosa (Jules), Cierrah Doran and Amanda Guth.


Monday, November 16, 12-1 p.m., Zoom 

Reading: TBD


Monday, November 30, 12-1 p.m., Zoom 

Reading: TBD


Monday, December 7, 12-1 p.m., Zoom 

Reading: TBD


Monday, January 13, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library, 200A

Reading: Tommy Orange, There There: A Novel (New York: Vintage, 2019), Prologue & Part 1: Remain, pgs. 1-78.

There There is this year’s chosen text for One Book, One Philadelphia. An initiative through the Free Library of Philadelphia, One Book offers eight weeks of free programming exploring There There, Lenape history, Indigenous erasure, and the ongoing legacies of settler colonialism. Tap into the incredible programming taking place here, including book circles, panel discussions, film screenings, art workshops, cooking demos, performances, throughout all 54 Free Library locations and at schools and partner organizations.

Monday, January 27, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Reading: Tommy Orange, There There: A Novel (New York: Vintage, 2019), Part 2: Reclaim, pgs. 79-155.

Monday, February 3, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Reading: Tommy Orange, There There: A Novel (New York: Vintage, 2019), Part 3: Return, pgs. 156-225.

Monday, February 10, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Reading: Tommy Orange, There There: A Novel (New York: Vintage, 2019), Part 4: Powwow, pgs. 226-290.

Special Guest: Adam DePaul

Monday, February 17, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

*content warning* These materials contain information about sensitive topics, such as sexual assault, which may be difficult for some people to address.

Reading: Watch the 2019 Netflix mini-series, Unbelievable.

Optional reading, and for those who do not have Netflix access: Ken Armstrong and T. Christian Miller, "An Unbelievable Story of Rape," The Marshall Project, March 2009.

Monday, February 24, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Reading: Michael Chabon, "The Recipe for Life," The New Yorker, January 2018.

Monday, March 16, 12-1 p.m., ONLINE

ReadingAllison B. Kavey, "A Brief History of Love: A Rationale for the History of Epidemics," in Health Humanities Reader (New Brunswick, NJ, and London: Rutgers University Press, 2016), pgs. 430-441. 

Monday, March 23, 12-1 p.m., ONLINE

Reading: David S. Jones, “History in a Crisis — Lessons for Covid-19,” in The New England Journal of Medicine, March 2020.

Monday, March 30, 12-1 p.m., ONLINE

Reading: Claire Schwartz, “& the Truth Is, I Have No Story,” in Not That Bad, ed. Roxane Gay (Harper Perennial, 2018), pgs. 33-47.

Monday, April 6, 12-1 p.m., ONLINE

Reading: Michelle Chen, “Bodies Against Borders,” in Not That Bad, ed. Roxane Gay (Harper Perennial, 2018), pgs. 189-202.

Monday, January 13, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library, 200A

Reading: Tommy Orange, There There: A Novel (New York: Vintage, 2019), Prologue & Part 1: Remain, pgs. 1-78.

There There is this year’s chosen text for One Book, One Philadelphia. An initiative through the Free Library of Philadelphia, One Book offers eight weeks of free programming exploring There There, Lenape history, Indigenous erasure, and the ongoing legacies of settler colonialism. Tap into the incredible programming taking place here, including book circles, panel discussions, film screenings, art workshops, cooking demos, performances, throughout all 54 Free Library locations and at schools and partner organizations.

Monday, January 27, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Reading: Tommy Orange, There There: A Novel (New York: Vintage, 2019), Part 2: Reclaim, pgs. 79-155.

Monday, February 3, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Reading: Tommy Orange, There There: A Novel (New York: Vintage, 2019), Part 3: Return, pgs. 156-225.

Monday, February 10, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Reading: Tommy Orange, There There: A Novel (New York: Vintage, 2019), Part 4: Powwow, pgs. 226-290.

Special Guest: Adam DePaul

Monday, February 17, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

*content warning* These materials contain information about sensitive topics, such as sexual assault, which may be difficult for some people to address.

Reading: Watch the 2019 Netflix mini-series, Unbelievable.

Optional reading, and for those who do not have Netflix access: Ken Armstrong and T. Christian Miller, "An Unbelievable Story of Rape," The Marshall Project, March 2009.

Monday, February 24, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Reading: Michael Chabon, "The Recipe for Life," The New Yorker, January 2018.

Monday, March 16, 12-1 p.m., ONLINE

ReadingAllison B. Kavey, "A Brief History of Love: A Rationale for the History of Epidemics," in Health Humanities Reader (New Brunswick, NJ, and London: Rutgers University Press, 2016), pgs. 430-441. 

Monday, March 23, 12-1 p.m., ONLINE

Reading: David S. Jones, “History in a Crisis — Lessons for Covid-19,” in The New England Journal of Medicine, March 2020.

Monday, March 30, 12-1 p.m., ONLINE

Reading: Claire Schwartz, “& the Truth Is, I Have No Story,” in Not That Bad, ed. Roxane Gay (Harper Perennial, 2018), pgs. 33-47.

Monday, April 6, 12-1 p.m., ONLINE

Reading: Michelle Chen, “Bodies Against Borders,” in Not That Bad, ed. Roxane Gay (Harper Perennial, 2018), pgs. 189-202.

Monday, September 9, 12-1 p.m., Hamilton Building 210/211

Reading: Tia Powell, “Ch. 10: Laborers of Love,” Dementia Reimagined: Building a Life of Joy and Dignity from Beginning to End, New York: Avery, 2019.

Monday, September 23, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Reading: Tia Powell, “Ch. 11: Try a Little Tenderness,” Dementia Reimagined: Building a Life of Joy and Dignity from Beginning to End, New York: Avery, 2019.

Monday, October 7, 12-1 p.m., Edison Building 1402

Reading: Erika Hayasaki, “In a Perpetual Present,” Wired, April 2016.

**CANCELLED**Monday, October 14, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Reading: The 1619 Project, Episode 4: How the Bad Blood Started

Monday, October 21, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Reading: Ch. 1, “The Birth of American Gynecology,” in Deirdre Cooper Owens, Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology, Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press, 2017.

Monday, October 28, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Reading: Ch. 2, “Black Women’s Experiences in Slavery and Medicine,” in Deirdre Cooper Owens, Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology, Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press, 2017.

Monday, November 4, 12-1 p.m., Hamilton 504

Reading: Liliana Velasquez, Dreams and Nightmares/Sueños y Pesadillas, edited and translated by Mark Lyons, Anderson, SC: Parlor Press, 2017: Pages 9-111 (Introduction, Prologue, "Guatemala," and "My Journey")

*Please note that this book is bilingual with English and Spanish on facing pages.

Monday, November 18, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Reading: Liliana Velasquez, Dreams and Nightmares/Sueños y Pesadillas, edited and translated by Mark Lyons, Anderson, SC: Parlor Press, 2017: Pages 117-205 ("Philadelphia," "Reflections," and "Finally, I Have Told My Story")

*Please note that this book is bilingual with English and Spanish on facing pages.

Monday, November 25, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Reading: Jennifer M. Booker, The New Normal: Coming Out as Transgender in Midlife,” The Unbound Press, 2019: Chapter 5 (Hormones are Fun!)

Monday, December 2, 12-1 p.m., Hamilton 210/211

Reading: Jennifer M. Booker, The New Normal: Coming Out as Transgender in Midlife,” The Unbound Press, 2019: Chapter 7 (Gender Confirmation)

Monday, December 9, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Reading: Jennifer M. Booker, The New Normal: Coming Out as Transgender in Midlife,” The Unbound Press, 2019: Chapter 6 (Coming Out)

Monday, June 3, 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Curtis 213

Reading: Yu, E. (2019, April 1). Instagram and Snapchat are ruining our memories. VICE.

Monday, June 10, 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Reading: Leadbeater, C. (2015, March 26). The disremembered. Aeon. 

Monday, June 24, 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Reading: Kleinfield, N.R. (2016, May 1). Fraying at the edges. The New York Times.

Monday, July 1, 11 a.m-12 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A

Reading: Hammer, J. (2012). Absolute personhood in those with dementia. Georgetown University Journal of Health Sciences, 6(2).

Monday, January 14

Reading: Ward, Jesmyn. Chapters 1-4 from Sing, Unburied, Sing. New York: Scribner, 2017.

To commemorate One Book, One Philadelphia--The Free Library of Philadelphia's signature event--the Health Humanities Reading Group will be discussing this year's chosen book: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. One Book, One Philadelphia is an annual event  that promotes literacy, library usage, and citywide conversation by encouraging the entire greater Philadelphia area to come together through reading and discussing a single book. The 2017 National Book Award winner Sing, Unburied, Sing is an American road novel about a family's journey from their Gulf Coast town to the Mississippi State Penitentiary.

Our January 14 discussion will pay special attention to Chapter 4 (Leonie). This chapter addresses the following themes: the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, prison violence, the use of plants and herbs for healing.

Monday, January 28, 12-1 p.m.

Reading: Ward, Jesmyn. Sing, Unburied, Sing. New York: Scribner, 2017.

To commemorate One Book, One Philadelphia--The Free Library of Philadelphia's signature event--the Health Humanities Reading Group will be discussing this year's chosen book: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward. One Book, One Philadelphia is an annual event  that promotes literacy, library usage, and citywide conversation by encouraging the entire greater Philadelphia area to come together through reading and discussing a single book. The 2017 National Book Award winner Sing, Unburied, Sing is an American road novel about a family's journey from their Gulf Coast town to the Mississippi State Penitentiary.

Our January 28 discussion will cover the book, broadly, with special attention to Chapters 12 and 15. Chapter 12 (Richie) explores Richie’s vision of the land and follows Leonie into the graveyard. The novel’s title takes on its full meaning in this haunting and lyrical final chapter, Chapter 15 (Jojo).

Monday, February 4, 12-1 p.m.

Reading: Scranton, Roy. (2015). Introduction: Coming Home. In Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization (pp. 13-28). San Francisco: City Lights Publishers.

Coming home from the war in Iraq, U.S. Army private Roy Scranton thought he'd left the world of strife behind. Then he watched as new calamities struck America, heralding a threat far more dangerous than ISIS or Al Qaeda: Hurricane Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, mega-drought—the shock and awe of global warming.

Discussion questions:

1. Scranton describes the term and concept of the "Anthropocene." What does it mean to you to live during this (proposed) era in geological and human history? How does the idea of this era change your perspective on anything?

2. Scranton’s discussion of "learning to die" echoes our conversations last semester on death and dying, although he extends discussion of death to fossil fuel civilization as a whole. How does climate change and a changing planet affect how we might collectively understand and approach death?

Monday, February 11, 12-1 p.m.

Reading: Lemery, Jay & Auerbach, Paul. (2017). Excerpts from Enviromedics: The Impact of Climate Change on Human Health (pp. 1-5, 47-51, 133-137). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

By weighing in from a physician’s perspective, Jay Lemery and Paul Auerbach try to clarify the science, dispel the myths, and help readers understand the threats of climate change to human health. No better argument exists for persuading people to care about climate change than a close look at its impacts on our physical and emotional well-being.

Discussion Questions:

1. What do you think is (or could/should be) the role of health care practitioners in preventing and preparing for the impacts of climate change on human health?

2. Mental health: What do you think is the role of trauma-informed care in response to severe weather events, and to climate-induced migration/refugees?

Monday, February 25, 12-1 p.m.

Reading: Atwood, Margaret. (2015, July 27). It's Not Climate Change — It's Everything Change [animations by Carl Burton]. Medium.

Atwood revisits a piece of speculative writing from 2009 entitled “The Future Without Oil.” Six years later, she reflects on the potential for changing cultural values to prepare for such a future. [This piece is accompanied by pictures and animated graphics.]

Monday, March 4, 12-1 p.m.

Reading: Clare, Eli. (2017). Notes on Natural Worlds, Disabled Bodies, and a Politics of Cure. In Disability Studies and the Environmental Humanities: Toward an Eco-Crip Theory (pp. 242-267). Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press.

Writing from a disabled and genderqueer perspective, Clare draws parallels between ways that bodies are categorized as normal, abnormal, natural and unnatural, and attitudes toward the environment and biodiversity.

Monday, March 18, 12-1 p.m.

Reading 1: D’Souza, Radha. (2017). Listening to the Elders at the Keepers of the Water Gathering. In Downstream: Reimagining Water (pp. 197-206). Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Discussion question:

What do you make of the following passage from the article. How does this relate to discussions of autonomy and rights in health and health care?

“When they spoke about water, the Elders were clear that water could not be separated from land or people because their emphasis was on the relationship. Strictly speaking, therefore, they were not speaking about ‘right to water’ at all but rather about their right to reproduce the conditions of life, which was neither reducible to water or land nor separable from them.” (p. 202)

Reading 2: Robbins, Jim. (2016, March 28). Is Climate Change Putting World’s Microbiomes at Risk? Yale Environment 360.

Discussion question:

In clinical settings and in popular media, except for recent attention given to the positive role of the human intestinal microbiome, we have tended to focus on the harm of “germs” to human health. What are ways that we might reframe discussions of these unseen microbial lifeforms to emphasize the benefits—to human and other life—of a shared world that supports microbial diversity?

Monday, March 25, 12-1 p.m.

Reading: Nixon, Rob. (2011). Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (pp. 1-16)

Nixon outlines his concept of “slow violence,” an incremental form of destruction that characterizes environmental degradation, economic extraction and other forms of harm that unfold gradually over time. Nixon explores how slow violence often claims impoverished communities as its victims and is perpetrated by corporate and human actors of relative wealth and power. He considers how slow violence can be made more visible through acts of representation including writing and media production.  

Monday, April 1, 12-1 p.m.

Reading: Van Dooren, Thom. (2014). Mourning Crows: Grief in a Shared World. In Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction (pp. 125-144). New York: Columbia University Press.

Van Dooren intimately explores what life is like for those who must live on the edge of extinction, balanced between life and oblivion, taking care of their young and grieving their dead […] No longer abstract entities with Latin names, these species become fully realized characters enmeshed in complex and precarious ways of life, sparking our sense of curiosity, concern, and accountability toward others in a rapidly changing world.

Discussion question:

Van Dooren challenges us to “come to inhabit a meaningfully shared world” (p. 140) with more-than-human life. In this article, he illustrates an example of this by exploring how “we are invited to mourn not just for crows, but with them” (p. 143). What do you make of van Dooren’s challenge and of the passage below; what role do you think grief and mourning play in the ability to connect with and care for others (both human and more-than-human life)?

“Mourning with crows is about more than any single species, or any number of individual species, but must instead be a process of relearning our place in a shared world: the evolutionary continuities and the ecological connectivities that make our lives possible at all” (p. 143-44).

Monday, September 24, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A
Reading: Lamas, D. (2018). Life on Battery. In You Can Stop Humming Now: A Doctor’s Stories Of Life Death, And In Between. (pp 65-89). New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

In the chapter, “Life on Battery,” from her book, You Can Stop Humming Now, critical care physician Daniela Lamas explores her interest in understanding the experience of individuals living with a left-ventricular assist device (VAD).  The chapter specifically explores themes of mortality, the journey of discovering what is important in one’s life, and the dynamics of family structure and support, especially in terms of caregiver roles. 

Monday, October 1, 12-1 p.m., Jefferson Alumni Hall M25
Reading: Meier, Diane E. “‘I Don’t Want Jenny To Think I’m Abandoning Her’: Views On Overtreatment.” Health Affairs 33, no. 5 (May 2014): 895–898.; and Institute of Medicine, Excerpts from Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2015.

Diane Meier’s article introduces a patient, Jenny, whose doctor prescribed treatment for her terminal cancer despite knowing it wouldn’t help her. The article reveals that overtreating patients near the end of life is a common, yet fixable, issue. "Dying in America" uses personal narratives in conjunction with quantitative research to underscore the importance of effective communication between clinicians and patients near the end of life.

Monday, October 8, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A
Reading: 
Stevenson, Lisa. "Anonymous Care." In Life Beside Itself: Imagining Care in the Canadian Arctic, pages 75-100. Oakland: University of California Press, 2014.

Stevenson draws on her ethnographic research in a Canadian Inuit community to propose that government suicide prevention campaigns send mixed messages to Inuit youth.  

Monday, October 15, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A
Reading:
Aviv, R. (2018, February 8). What Does It Mean to Die? The New Yorker.

Aviv discusses current issues regarding the legality behind death, especially with regard to brain death.  To examine these issues, the article studies legal, biomedical, and religious definitions of death and what that means for individuals who are placed on ventilators. In addition, Aviv explores issues of social injustice in regard to how healthcare providers treat patients of varying races and religious backgrounds.

Monday, October 22, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A 
Reading:  
Span, Paula. "A Debate Over 'Rational Suicide.'" The New York Times. August 31, 2018.

This week’s reading discusses suicide among the elderly and whether or not it can be considered a rational choice. Using anecdotes, statistics and physician insights, the author presents various sides of this controversial topic. The arguments surrounding rational suicide involve concerns such as mental health and quality of life. Throughout the article, the author underscores the importance of open communication and discussion with regard to suicide among the elderly. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/31/health/suicide-elderly.html

Monday, November 5, 12-1 p.m., Hamilton Building 212
Reading: 
BBC Earth Lab. “Could we live forever?” YouTube video, 6:46. Posted [January 2018].

This week's "reading" is a YouTube video by BBC Earth Lab entitled “Could we live forever?” Link to video.

Monday, November 19, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A 
Reading: 
Rich, Nathaniel. “Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality?” The New York Times Magazine, November 28, 2012.

Nathaniel Rich explores an obscure species called Turritopsis dohrnii in the article, “Can a Jellyfish Unlock the Secret of Immortality?” Also known as the Benjamin Button jellyfish, this species has the ability to age in reverse when it gets old, and then repeat the process when it reaches its earliest stage of development again. While no one knows how it ages in reverse, we do know that there is a high degree of genetic similarity between jellyfish and humans. Many scientists believe that research into immortal jellyfish may have medical implications for humanity, especially in the fields of cancer research and longevity. In fact, there are multiple organisms that are immortal. The question among scientists is which one will teach us the most about human beings. www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/magazine/can-a-jellyfish-unlock-the-secret-of-immortality.html

Monday, November 26, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A 
Reading: 
Tufekci, Zeynep. "Data-Driven Medicine Will Help People - But Can It Do So Equally?" The New York Times Magazine, November 15, 2018

Zeynep Tufekci describes how the “knowledge gap” that is primarily technology driven will soon be applicable to healthcare. He believes that those who already able to research and implement the data provided by their healthcare professional will benefit from healthcare’s transition to data driven medical techniques.  However, he concludes that those who cannot research and implement the provided data will not benefit from the new technology. Furthermore, the article discusses how this phenomenon will increase health inequality and discrimination without government regulation. The article also explores other potential issues surrounding this transition such as healthcare as a fundamental right, the hiring process, and health insurance. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/15/magazine/tech-design-inequality-health.html 

Monday, December 3, 12-1 p.m., Jefferson Alumni Hall M23 
Reading: 
"From Gene Editing to A.I., How Will Technology Transform Humanity?" The New York Times Magazine, November 16, 2018.

"From Gene Editing to A.I., How Will Technology Transform Humanity?" is a conversation with five scientists and thinkers, moderated by New York Times Magazine story editor Mark Jannot. The five members of the conversation have worked in various disciplines and industries, ranging from physics, genetics, literature, biology, medicine and more. As a result, each had their own unique insights into the topics at hand. Throughout the conversation they discussed genetic engineering and therapy, and how gene editing will change humanity. In addition, they considered how AI will change medicine and health care for both providers and patients. The conversation ended with a discussion of longevity and age reversal as two possible strategies moving forward. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/11/16/magazine/tech-design-medicine-phenome.html

Monday, December 10, 12-1 p.m., Scott Memorial Library 200A 
Reading: 
Black Mirror Netflix series (2011-present): Season 1, Episode 3 - The Entire History of You (49 min) OR Season 3, Episode 1 - Nosedive (63 min) 

Black Mirror Netflix series (2011-present). Pick one episode to watch—or feel free to watch both! This sci-fi anthology series explores a twisted, high-tech near-future where humanity's greatest innovations and darkest instincts collide. -Netflix