Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Jefferson Humanities & Health

Jefferson encourages student engagement in the arts and humanities in recognition of their capacity to foster essential skills 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.

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The 2017-2018 Asano Humanities & Health Series is now over. The 2018-2019 Asano Humanities & Health Series will launch in September 2018. 

Students are invited to complete the Asano Humanities & Health Certificate by attending eight series events during the academic year and completing a portfolio of reflective response essays. The 2017-2018 certificate program is now closed; registration for the 2018-2019 certificate program will open in July.  

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Asano Humanities & Health Certificate. 

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. 

Questions? Contact Megan Voeller, Director of Humanities,  

Announcements & Ongoing Programs

Follow us! @JeffersonHumanities is the official instagram account of Jefferson Humanities & Health. We'll post about events, special programs, and all humanities-related events at Jefferson.

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. 

Summer 2018 Humanities Programs

Course Instructor: Christian “Patch” Patchell, University of the Arts

In recent years, artists and health professionals have turned to graphic stories to depict and discuss issues related to medical care and practice, including: 

-Changing cultural perceptions of medicine
-Patient/carer/provider experiences
-Difficult subjects such as grief and loss, mental illness, burnout and bias
-Helping other sufferers or carers

This course will provide students hands-on experience and conceptual insights related to the many facets of graphic storytelling through exercises, demonstrations and lectures. Students will be exposed to the varied approaches to creativity in graphic medicine; such as comics, cartoons and graphic novels.

The approaches and techniques will apply to writing and outside disciplines alike in both their application towards craft and insight into the medium. Through a series of in-class demonstrations and discussions students will create original works. Students are encouraged to work within the many different genres within writing and comics (not just super heroes) as well as experiment with different approaches, styles and techniques.

The class will emphasize the importance of visual storytelling and observation. There will also be an emphasis on conceptualizing and creating a personal narrative regardless of the assignment. Through a focused series of exercises the class will cover the following:

  • Creating Interesting Characters and Environments
  • Basic Comics Language and Vocabulary
  • Creating Original and Interesting Concepts
  • Three Act Narratives
  • Empathy as Inspiration
  • Juxtaposing Image with Text
  • Problem Solving
  • the Art of Collaboration
  • Making Assignments Personal
  • Experimental Storytelling/Structure
  • Creativity through Observation
  • and the various outlets for the stories they create

There will also be academic components covering: the History of Comics, Graphic Novels in other mediums (i.e. video games, movies, television, etc.), Comics in Pop Culture, etc.


MON., JUNE 4, 5:30-7:30 PM

MON., JUNE 11, 5:30-7:30 PM

MON., JUNE 18, 5:30-7:30 PM

MON., JUNE 25, 5:30-7:30 PM

MON., JULY 2, 5:30-7:30 PM

MON., JULY 9, 5:30-7:30 PM

MON., JULY 16, 5:30-7:30 PM

MON., JULY 23, 5:30-7:30 PM

LOCATION TBD, On Jefferson Center City Campus

This summer, Fleisher Art Memorial in partnership with the Humanities Program at Jefferson University's Sydney Kimmel Medical College is once again offering its popular Art for the Healer program, designed for medical students and practicing professionals. To take place on Fleisher’s campus, the five-week workshop will serve as an introduction to the visual principals and elements of art and design. Informed by Bauhaus Vorkurs pedagogy and maintaining an emphasis on observation, the course introduces students to technical skills in different media while encouraging intuitive self-expression. Lessons are tailored to serve medical professionals particularly, encompassing 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.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. 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.
  2. Students learn the basics of manipulating graphite, ink, paint, and clay.
  3. 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)
  4. 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.
  5. Students engage in thoughtful consideration of their peers’ artistic decisions through group critiques.
  6. Students gain insights into historical and contemporary artists’ works through presentations, a field trip to the Rodin Museum, supplemental readings, and guided discussions.
  7. Students express emotions, arising independently or through empathy with subjects, through visual language.
  8. Students hone observational skills, with the goal of improving patient observation and image-reading.


Location: Fleisher Art Memorial (719 Catharine Street)

Every Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. from July 10-July 31

Saturday, July 21, time TBD at Rodin Museum

Location: Classes will take place on Fleisher Art Memorial’s campus

719 Catharine St.

Philadelphia PA 19144

Instructor: Katherine Hubbard, Jefferson East Falls

The Summer Intensive Creative Writing Workshop offers a focused opportunity to create new work or further develop existing work during a two-week period (May 21-June 1). Students are invited to bring projects they have already started and wish to advance, or complete-- or to generate new work in any genre, including fiction, poetry and non-fiction (e.g., reflective writing). Through a supportive environment of small group and instructor feedback, and exercises to prompt writing, students will be encouraged to set and meet individual goals for their writing projects. 

The workshop is open to new students as well as students who have already completed Introduction to Creative Writing with instructor Kath Hubbard. 


Location: Scott Memorial Library, Room 200A and Hamilton Building, Room 226

Mon., May 21, 6-8:30 p.m. - Scott 200A
Tues., May 22, 6-8:30 p.m. - Scott 200A
Weds., May 23, 6-8:30 p.m. - Scott 200A
Thurs., May 24, 6-8:30 p.m. - Hamilton 226
Fri., May 25, 6-8:30 p.m. - Scott 200A
Tues., May 29, 6-8:30 p.m. - Scott 200A
Weds., May 30, 6-8:30 p.m. - Scott 200A
Thurs., May 31, 6-8:30 p.m. - Hamilton 226
Fri., June 1, 6-8:30 p.m. - Scott 200A

Class Format: This seminar meets each evening over the course of two weeks (except Memorial Day) and is supplemented by reading and writing assignments which may be tailored to the student’s writing goals for the workshop. These exercises are designed to help students discover the stories they want to tell.

The first week of our workshop will focus on creating new work or expanding and developing current projects. The second week will focus on refining your work through revision exercises and discussion. During the second week, you will have the option to share your work with other students in a respectful and moderated (by me) workshop. Though this is optional, I encourage all students to be brave and go for it. Sharing creates a sense of trust and community between you and your colleagues and gives you and your work the opportunity to receive important feedback from an audience other than me – your instructor. Writing is such a subjective thing – what makes sense and sounds great to one person may be less clear to another. Sharing broadens your audience and gives you the opportunity to see how others are interpreting your work.

At the end of the seminar you will be asked to choose your best writing from the work you have generated and refined and present it along with a brief reflective essay to me as your final project. 

Please note: Events are added to the calendar as they are confirmed. Please check regularly for additional events. 

To see a list of Past Events, go to the tab at the left.