Erik Jorgensen ’87, executive director of the Maine Humanities Council (MHC), travels to the White House today where the MHC’s Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care program will be featured at a special presentation organized by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
“We are honored that the NEH is recognizing our many years of work for the caregivers in hospitals here in Maine and across the country,” says Jorgensen.
Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities James A. Leach, who delivered the public lecture “Civility in a Troubled Economy“on campus in September, writes about the Literature & Medicine program on the White House’s Office of Public Engagement blog.
Created by the MHC, Literature & Medicine is a hospital-based humanities reading and discussion program for health care professionals. Since its debut in 1997 at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, the program has been used in more than 180 hospitals in 26 states. The MHC says evaluations have shown that health professionals who participate in this facilitated reading and discussion program serve their patients better. They gather monthly to think about their work through the lens of literature, and the readings provide a jumping off point for them to reflect on their patients, their colleagues and themselves.
The program has involved Susan Bell, Bowdoin’s A. Myrick Freeman Professor of Social Sciences, whose research and teaching it has influenced, and Associate Professor of English Ann Kibbie, who has for years led one of the program groups.