Why Are You So Scared? & Other Questions about Poetry, Medicine and Shocks of Mortality A conversation with a poet-physician, a poet-patient, and the Mount Sinai poet-in-residence: Shane Neilson, author of Dysphoria (Porcupine’s Quill) Molly Peacock, author of The Analyst (Biblioasis) AND Ronna Bloom, author of The More (Pedlar Press)

Moderated by Dr. Allan Peterkin, Head, The Program In Health, Arts and Humanities, University of Toronto. Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto. 600 University Ave., Auditorium, 18th Floor, Thursday, April 5, 2018, 5-8pm

Sponsored by The League of Canadian Poets and The Healthy Workplace, Sinai Health System



This year, Synesthesia will be held April 9th, 2018 in the Medical Science Building Stone Lobby. Submissions of original artwork (paintings, photography, computer graphics, poetry, sculpture, or any other form of displayable art) from students, faculty and health practitioners across disciplines make this show possible.


(3) STORYTELLING THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP – Finding Connection Through Medicine-with Dr Dawn Lim– April 9, 2018

Open to medical students, residents and fellows at no charge.

April 9th, 2018, at the close of the Synesthesia Art Show: 5-700 pm

Room 2394 Medical School Building
**Maximum number of students is 20. First come, first served.

Goals of the Photography Workshop (2-hour workshop)

  • Learn to appreciate visual cues and the stories behind them through analyzing a series of well known and lesser known photographs
  • Discuss and discover the components of a powerful and meaningful photograph
  • Discover how photography may be used as a tool for advocacy

Equipment Needed

  • It would be ideal if students can bring in a DLSR camera (even a basic one is fine)

Useful website reference : National Geographic’s Your Shot forum at

Biography for Dawn Lim :

I am an emergency doctor, assistant professor of medicine, and an amateur photographer and writer based in Toronto. I enjoy weaving storytelling into my practice to help me connect to my patients. I feel storytelling builds empathy and is a great way to combine my interests in medicine and the arts. I’m particularly interested in photo-essays depicting motherhood and life in the emergency department.

Questions?  Please email:

Dawn Lim <>


(4) CINEMA MEDICA- Tuesday, April 10, 7-9pm. , 18thFloor Auditorium, Mount Sinai Hospital, 600 University Ave.

Indigenous Health Film Screening + Discussion

Film: The People of the Kattawapiskak River

Guest: Dr. Lisa Richardson, Indigenous Health Education Co-Lead (University of Toronto)

“The People of the Kattawapiskak River”, a documentary by celebrated Mohawk filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, exposes the housing crisis faced by 1,700 Cree in a James Bay coastal community. It chronicles the story of how racism and neglect led Attawapiskat’s band chief, Theresa Spence, to ask the Canadian Red Cross for disaster relief. This film is a critical reminder of the role of social determinants of health such as housing for community wellness, and of how strong Indigenous leaders are advocating for change. The use of film as a transformative teaching tool in health care education also resonates of Indigenous pedagogies that are grounded in culture, experience and the wisdom of our ancestors, and foregrounds strengths-based models of change for Indigenous peoples


(5) Call for Submissions: Mary Seeman Humanities WRITING Award: 2018

The Mary Seeman Humanities Award: 2018: Deadline April 13, 2018

This award is intended to encourage creative and scholarly activity in the interface between the humanities and issues related to mental illness and emotional well-being. The award is open to students from Dentistry, Kinesiology and Physical Education, Medicine (including undergraduate, residents and fellows), Nursing, Medical Radiation Sciences, Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, psychology , Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant, Social Work, Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Toronto, as well as students from medical humanities disciplines including literary studies, history, bio-ethics and disability studies. The award is based on documented evidence of completed work of artistic and/or scholarly merit that contributes to a better understanding of the human condition. Submissions will be judged on the basis of originality, creativity and relevance to mental health and illness.  Please note only one submission per applicant will be accepted.

The following guidelines are suggested to assist applicants in preparation of their submissions.

  1. a)        The submission must be sole-authoredand previously unpublished. To qualify for inclusion the submission must be:
  2. a scholarly essay in the area of humanities and mental illness

    ii.          a personal memoir, medical illness narrative

    iii.        a short story

    iv.        a description of program development that integrates humanities and mental health

All above formats may be illustrated, if appropriate, by drawings, photography or video but the core of the submission must be a well-written narrative

Word content of submitted narratives should be no greater than 4000 words.

If applicants are uncertain about the suitability of a submission, they are encouraged to contact any of the committee members. Submissions will be judged by the committee, with outside consultation where appropriate.

Deadline for submissions is April 13, 2018. The award consists of a certificate and cheque for $ 500.00

Prospective applications and queries should be addressed to: Dr. Ron Ruskin Department of Psychiatry(  Mount Sinai Hospital, 600 University Avenue, Toronto, M5G 1X5


(6) A Reading and Book Signing By Dr. Brian Goldman for the Art of Medicine Speakers’ Series

The Power of Kindness- Why Empathy Is Essential in Everyday Life

April 19th, 6-8pm  Room 2173 Medical School Building  lecture hall

About the Book

As a veteran emergency room physician, Dr. Brian Goldman has a successful career setting broken bones, curing pneumonia, and otherwise pulling people back from the brink of medical emergency. He always believed that caring came naturally to physicians. But time, stress, errors, and heavy expectations left him wondering if he might not be the same caring doctor he thought he was at the beginning of his career. He wondered what kindness truly looks like—in himself and in others.

In The Power of Kindness, Goldman leaves the comfortable, familiar surroundings of the hospital in search of his own lost compassion. A top neuroscientist performs an MRI scan of his brain to see if he is hard-wired for empathy. A researcher at Western University in Ontario tests his personality and makes a startling discovery. Goldman then circles the planet in search of the most empathic people alive, to hear their stories and learn their secrets. He visits a boulevard in São Paulo, Brazil, where he meets a woman who calls a homeless poet her soulmate and reunited him with his family; a research lab in Kyoto, Japan, where he meets a lifelike, empathetic android; and a nursing home in rural Pennsylvania, where he meets a therapist at a nursing home who has an uncanny knack of knowing what’s inside the hearts and minds of people with dementia, as well as her protege, a woman who talked a gun-wielding robber into walking away from his crime. Powerful and engaging, The Power of Kindness takes us far from the theatre of medicine and into the world at large, and investigates why kindness is so vital to our existence.


(7) MONTHLY MINDFULNESS For Clinicians and Trainees at Mount Sinai Hospital- April 24, 2018

Monthly Meditation for Mindful Living and Clinical Practice -4th Tuesday of the Month, RSVP required

Email :

Meditation for Mindful Living and Clinical Practice is a series of monthly open sessions offered through the Health, Arts and Humanities Program. The objective of the series is to provide mental health professionals and students from all clinical disciplines an opportunity to learn or further develop meditation skills for enhancing their self-care and therapeutic presence with clients.

Instructor Bio-Bill Gayner MSW : I am a mental health clinician in Psychiatry, Mount Sinai Hospital. I teach and research mindfulness groups for people living with HIV, ambulatory patients in general psychiatry, and hospital staff. I also integrate mindfulness into individual psychotherapy in my work in the Clinic for HIV-Related Concerns. I am the course director of the Mindful Psychotherapy program in the Mount Sinai Psychotherapy Institute; faculty with the Health, Arts and Humanities Program at U of T; and an Adjunct Lecturer at the Factor Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto.

Date:                    4th Tuesday of each month
Time:                    6:30-8:30 p.m.
Cost:                     $35/session, $150/five sessions, $300/year.

Free for the first five students/residents to register for each session
Location:              Room 939, the Large Group Room, Mount Sinai Hospital Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Health Complex, 600 University Avenue
To get to the Large Group Room, take the main elevators to the 9th floor. As you are leaving the elevator area, turn left and then left again and walk down the long hallway in front of you. The door to the Large Group Room is the last door on your left.  Or just follow the signs.


(8) CREATING SPACE, Canada’s annual Health Humanities Conference will be held before the CCME meeting  at Dalhousie University , Halifax, April 27-28-as a pre-CCME Conference event

Creating Space VIII:  April 27-28, 2018, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS


Theme: Fostering Critical Thinking Through the Arts and Humanities 


  • Teaching and Education
  • Interprofessional Collaboration
  • Engaging Community

 Join the newly formed Canadian Association For Health humanities at:  WWW.CAHH.CA


(9) The CURRENT issue of ARS MEDICA-A Journal of Medicine, The Arts and Humanities is now available at:


(10) The Health Narratives Research Group (HeNReG) meets Wednesdays from 4-6 pm at Mount Sinai Hospital

Info at:




– a dynamic new speakers’ series and book signing with physician authors– June 1, 2018

Dr  Ron Epstein author of “Attending”  June 1st 1040-noon- Location:  Michener Institute Auditorium, 222 St Patrick St, Toronto M5T 1V4

This session is jointly sponsored by the U Toronto Departments of: Family and Community Medicine; Psychiatry, Division of Psychotherapies, Health Humanities and Education Scholarship (PHES); and the Mount Sinai Hospital (Psychiatry)  


Medicine, Mindfulness and Humanity


Friday, June 1, 2018 10:40 a.m. – 12:00 noon

RONALD EPSTEIN, MD, Professor of Family Medicine, Psychiatry, Oncology and Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and author of over 250 publications including, Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness and Humanity, is internationally known for his research on communication in healthcare, and writings about mindful practice and assessment in medical education.

William Osler once said, “We miss more by not seeing than by not knowing.” Not only does diagnostic accuracy depend on where and how we focus our attention. Our attentive focus affects all aspects of clinical care including diagnostic accuracy, effective communication, responding to emotional distress and reducing bias and stigmatization in health care. This talk will focus on ways in which clinicians can bring attentiveness, openness, curiosity and presence to the practice of medicine with the goal of achieving better understanding ourselves as clinicians and better shared understanding with patients. Over the past 2 decades, clinicians’ attention has been increasingly plagued by competing imperatives – arriving at a diagnosis and knowing a human being and the social context; arriving at shared understanding with patients and families and assigning a billing category; entering information into an electronic health record and being present with suffering.  Balancing these competing imperatives requires self-awareness and the capacity for moment-to-moment self-monitoring during the routine and not-so-routine clinical encounters. This talk will explore how practicing mindfully, with attention and awareness, might be achieved in dynamic and often chaotic clinical environments.


(12) Narrative Healthcare Atelier Mount Sinai Psychotherapy Institute– DATES: June 1-4, 2018

Visiting Keynote Speaker: Ronald M. Epstein, MD

Course Directors: Allan Peterkin, MD & Michael Roberts, MD

Canada’s Only Advanced Training Seminar in Narrative-based Healthcare for Health Practitioners and Educators across Clinical Disciplines

Explore and reflect critically on your clinical practices, challenges, personal and professional growth as health providers using narrative, storytelling and arts-based learning.  This 4 day workshop is designed to help you improve outcomes and to humanize your experiences within complex healthcare contexts. Themes related to relationship-centered care, professionalism, team collaboration and the hidden curriculum will be explored through visual, cinematic and literary texts including fiction, drama and poetry.

This intensive, interactive atelier will apply narrative theory and reflective practice in the contexts of interprofessional patient-centred healthcare, research and education.  It aims to:  enliven your engagement and collaboration as clinicians and educators from all disciplines; support best practices as teachers, clinicians and lifelong learners; transform the paradigm of your daily professional practice with a renewed commitment to the core values of humanistic healthcare.

Register at :