The Hawai’i Council for the Humanities believes that humanities discussions of issues in health care, featuring cultural and personal stories, dilemmas and perspectives, may be exciting and rewarding to those in the field. To this end, HCH is now supporting Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care® by seeking active and engaged partners from the health care community who feel this program is a good fit for their own mission and morale.
Interested health care facilities, also known as host institutions, should apply to the HCH by July 15 for fall programming or November 15 for spring programming. Rolling admissions will be considered given availability. HCH provides a professional facilitator for the discussions, books for all participants, and dinner. There is no charge to the host institution for these services; however, the host institution must agree to provide a meeting space as well as a liaison to help with program coordination.
To get the program started, the host institution needs to identify someone on staff to serve as the facility liaison. This person works on promoting the program internally, recruiting participants, and securing the meeting place. In addition, this person orders whatever refreshment is available at the host institutions for the evening meals. It is important that the host institution’s liaison be committed to the success of the program, as he/she is required not only to spend time organizing the logistics of the program but also to attend each session and keep track of participants.
Exact programming design is done in collaboration between HCH and the host institution. Typically, program participants meet bi-weekly or once a month for a total of six facilitated discussions at a location selected by the host institution’s liaison. Participants are given selected books and readings at least two weeks in advance so they will have the opportunity to review the materials before each discussion. At the start of each discussion, participants share a light meal together. The point of sharing a meal together is to create a more relaxed, congenial atmosphere in the meeting space where people can address each other by their first names instead of titles and “talk story” before discussions about the readings begin. Each discussion session runs approximately two hours long.
The HCH recommends that a host institution commit to registering as many as 15 to 20 participants in the program. Program participants should reflect the diversity of workers at the health care facility: lab technicians, physicians, nurses, chaplains, social workers, therapists, administrative staff, including support personnel. Reading materials, program time frame, and key discussion topics will be worked out during a planning phase, and will include the host site liaison, the professional facilitator, and HCH staff.