Posts tagged book club

Getting ready for 2012 AAHPM bookclub: help us pick next year’s book

Medical Humanities has played an important role in my personal development as a physician and palliative medicine doctor. Reading stories, novels, poetry, listening to music, looking at art and movies and plays have helped teach me

  • how to face suffering,
  • how to sit with it,
  • how to be curious about and wonder what will emerge if I stay long enough.

Two years ago, the humanities and spirituality SIG at AAHPM launched a book club – with Drew Dipin Faust’s The Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War. This year, we followed with A. Verghese’s first novel, Cutting for Stone.

At the Academy meeting in Vancouver, we solicited proposals for next year’s book from people who attended the bookclub discussion. Instead of keeping the voting and selection to an insular group, we tapping into the emerging culture of “open access” and social media by opening the voting to the community at large – http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2012_BookClub

To allow everyone time to read the book, we are selecting it early this year. The deadline for voting is coming up quickly. Please vote for your top 3 choices! While we will select the most voted for book for the Annual Assembly, the next most popular books will serve as topics for discussion for each season of the year.

Thanks for participating!

Suzana Makowski – Co-Chair: Humanities and Spirituality SIG

What Does the American Civil War Teach Us About Contemporary Death and Mourning?

Join the Humanities SIG at the Assembly in Boston for an illuminating discussion of the award winning book, This Republic of Suffering, on Saturday, March 6, 12:15 – 1:15 pm. Among the questions we’ll discuss:

This Republic of Suffering

Prior to the Civil War, the end of life process commonly occurred at home, with family, the family physician, clergy, community members, and others with long-standing relationships providing care and support. Funerals were commonly held at the local church, providing family, extended family, friends, and community members a place to express and share their grief. Custom also provided for public mourning, allowing the bereaved to openly express their grief, and for others to recognize and offer support. Circumstances of the Civil War – which in today’s population would equal 6 million deaths – profoundly changed these customs.

In contemporary America, when asked to describe how one wishes to spend one’s final months and days, respondents will often describe a scenario resembling a pre-Civil War process. Yet this ideal is frequently not achieved. In what ways does the contemporary end of life process reflect the death, realizing, and mourning processes experienced by many during the Civil War, and what interventions can end of life care practitioners consider to achieve the goals of the individual, their family, and community in such circumstances?

Come share your thoughts, learn from others, and take away new insights to apply in your practice. See you there!

Charlie Sasser & Karen Whitley Bell