A New Virtual Narrative Medicine Space at U Toronto – Open To All 🗓

Dear Colleagues,
Mixed-Media & Medicine (MMM) – A  New Virtual Narrative Medicine Space Open To All  
Narrative Medicine and Arts-based Curricula are  staples of Undergraduate Studies in Medicine and increasingly in Residency and beyond, here at the University of Toronto.
The opportunities afforded for engagement, reflection and social connection enrich and encourage trainees and faculty to learn in transformative ways. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed many burdens on both learners and practitioners. However, it has also presented us with an opportunity to explore new connections both virtual and visual. 
Mixed-Media & Medicine  (MMM) offers a novel discussion space for group learning, reflection and new modes of presentation that are open to all medical learners – student, faculty & staff alike. From our own UofT literary journal ARS MEDICA (https://ars-medica.ca/index.php/journal) to Zine Archives in Graphic Medicine (https://www.graphicmedicine.org/comic-type/zine/and everything in between (Poetry, Comics, YOUTUBES, Monologues, Short Short Stories you name it), we are excited to provide a safe space for participants to discuss short(ish) representations that address spirit, wellness, resilience , consciousness, and reflection.  This is an inclusive environment to which ALL are welcomed and equally valued. Please spread the word amongst all people medical – students, faculty, colleagues, tutors, professors, residents, fellows, undergrads, postgrads.
Come one come all !
Join us for the Mixed Media in Medicine (MMM) get-together second Tuesday of the month (beginning November 10th 2020) from 6 pm until 7.
In preparation for this first meeting, please feel free to submit ideas & suggested texts  for this and future meetings to the organizers at :
 (please place MMM in the subject tab)
Dr. Conor Mc Donnell, Staff Anesthesiologist 
Associate Professor, University of Toronto
PeriOperative Services Associate Chief for Patient Safety & Quality Improvement
Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine Patient Safety & Quality Program Director
Hospital Patient Safety Physician & Medication Safety Physician Lead, The Hospital for Sick Children

Awake at Work 🗓

Awake at Work 

Writing into Presence for Medical Students, Physicians and Other Health Care Professionals

In this session, use writing to explore how simply showing up and attending to your own experience is the starting point for attending to others. Through guided exercises, you’ll have the opportunity to notice your personal, professional, and physical responses –– whether you’re at a desk, in the community, or in a hospital room –– and to write about them in a reflective, open, non-evaluative way. See how being awake to yourself might help you be awake at work. No experience is necessary.


  • Learn five rules for writing that can be used to reflect on one’s work, relationships, and life.
  • Engage with poetry as a tool for understanding and expressing challenges
  • Increase awareness of the impact of the professional on the personal, and the personal on the professional
  • Explore poetry and writing as practices of self-care

Date and Time

Tuesday, November 3, 2020, 6PM—7:30PM, Online

Ronna Bloom is the author of six books of poetry. Her most recent book, The More, was published by Pedlar Press in 2017 and long listed for the City of Toronto Book Award. Her poems have been recorded by the CNIB and translated into Spanish, Bangla, and Chinese. She has collaborated with health care professionals, filmmakers, academics, students, spiritual leaders, and architects. A frequent guest in the faculties of Nursing, Medicine, Public Health, as well at teaching hospitals, she brings 25 years of psychotherapy practice to her work as a poet and facilitator.
Ronna developed the first Poet in Residence program at Sinai Health which ran from 2012-2019. She is currently Poet in Community to the University of Toronto and Poet in Residence in the Health, Arts and Humanities Programme. Her “Spontaneous Poetry Booth” and “RX for Poetry” have been featured in hospitals, fundraisers and local fairs in Canada and abroad. She runs workshops and gives talks on poetry, spontaneity, and awareness through writing. ronnabloom.com

For more information and to register: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/awake-at-work-writing-into-presence-for-residents-students-physicians-tickets-122553399517

HeNReG 2020-21 Virtual meetings starting in October

Health Narratives Research Group 2020-21/ Virtual Meetings Starting in October

Invitation From Carol Nash PHD :

The HeNReG meets weekly on Wednesdays, between the first week in October and the last week in April. There is a natural break at the end of the calendar year and new members often join in January.

The Health Narratives Research Group (HeNReG) allows researchers the opportunity to take the personally relevant stories that initiated their commitment to health care and develop them into narratives with a particular point of view. The process includes both personal reflection and the willingness to share one’s story and gain additional insights from the rest of the group.

The HeNReG is a voluntary, non-credit group, free of charge, open to any member of the university community interested in health care. Diversity of membership is both supported and encouraged.

Participants may develop their narrative into a piece for publication in either written (e.g. memoir, poem) or alternative format (e.g. graphic novelization).

As a result of COVID-19 limitations, meetings now take place entirely online over a hybrid-model, private Facebook group platform.  Created by Dr. Nash, the private Facebook group includes all members of the 2020/21 HeNReG.  To participate, potential members require:  a Facebook account, to “friend” Dr. Nash, and be willing to join this private Facebook group.

Participants can join anytime by contacting Dr. Nash at carol.nash@utoronto.ca.

The HeNReG is facilitated by philosopher of education Dr. Carol Nash, who as Scholar in Residence in the History of Medicine created this process for developing narrative in 2012 in collaboration with Professor Edward Shorter, the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine. Since 2015, the group has been supported by the Health Arts and Humanities Program directed by Dr. Allan Peterkin.  From 2015-2020, the group’s meetings occurred in the Department of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai Hospital.

Announcements for ARS MEDICA -Canada’s Leading Medical Humanities Journal

“ARS MEDICA-A JOURNAL OF MEDICINE, THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES”  is an award winning , biannual literary journal that explores the interface between the arts and healing, and examines what makes medicine an art . The journal was founded by medical educators at the University of Toronto in 2004.

Here are 2 updates from Allison Crawford MD, Editor-In-Chief :

1. Announcement of our new issue: 

Our latest issue (15.1) of Ars Medica has been published and is available to read online https://www.ars-medica.ca/index.php/journal/issue/view/31

2. Call for an upcoming Special Covid-related issue – submissions due September 18 2020. The call is attached, and can also be accessed at: https://www.ars-medica.ca/index.php/journal

Writing as Craft in the Time of Covid-19- Some Spots Remain 🗓

Writing as Craft in the Time of Covid-19: 

A weekend digital writing retreat for health practitioners 

Led by Damian Tarnopolsky PhD
Health, Arts and Humanities Program, University of Toronto
and Shane Neilson MD
McMaster University
With special guest speakers
Madhur Anand, author of the acclaimed “memoir-in-halves” This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart 
and Ian Williams, winner of the Giller Prize for his novel Reproduction
Access via Zoom, August 14-16 2020. Course Fee: $500.00
For more information and to register: 
About this event: 
Learning how to write more expertly gives health practitioners a skill with which to build therapeutic relationships, improve patient outcomes, and live in a more engaged way. Led by expert faculty with long experience in teaching narrative medicine and writing in the health humanities, this virtual retreat offers participants a chance to re-tell the COVID narrative from a place of autonomy.
This weekend program will feature a variety of short lectures, workshops, discussions, and reading and writing activities for individuals and groups, designed for their effectiveness at distance and their use for  writers at every level.
Special guest sessions led by internationally acclaimed authors Ian Williams and Madhur Anand offer participants a unique opportunity to learn up close from masters of their craft; editorial advice and consultation on publishing opportunities will also be available.
We offer a respite from pandemic despair, and an invitation into artistic transformation.
Space is limited! For more information and to register, please visit 
Questions? Contact the organizers at covidjournals1@gmail.com