College of Medicine – Phoenix Book Club Focuses on Diversity

College of Medicine – Phoenix Book Club Focuses on Diversity

By Amy WilliamsUniversity Communications
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Jennifer Hartmark-Hill, director of the Program for Narrative Medicine and Health Care Humanities at the College of Medicine – Phoenix
Jennifer Hartmark-Hill, director of the Program for Narrative Medicine and Health Care Humanities at the College of Medicine – Phoenix
Kathleen Carlson, associate librarian at the Arizona Health Sciences Library – Phoenix
Kathleen Carlson, associate librarian at the Arizona Health Sciences Library – Phoenix
The next book the club will discuss is "When Breath Becomes Air," by Paul Kalanithi.
The next book the club will discuss is "When Breath Becomes Air," by Paul Kalanithi.

Two employees at the College of Medicine – Phoenix have been awarded a grant to enhance a book club they founded that focuses on topics related to diversity as part of an effort to emphasize the humanity element of medical studies.

The club was created in the fall by Jennifer Hartmark-Hill, director of the Program for Narrative Medicine and Health Care Humanities at COM-Phoenix, and Kathleen Carlson, associate librarian at the Arizona Health Sciences Library – Phoenix. They recently were awarded a $2,500 Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Excellence and Innovation Research Grant, administered by the college's Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which is meant to support educational initiatives, scholarly project research, creative activities, outreach and other ideas that promote diversity and inclusion. They plan to use the money for outreach, event support and to supply book copies.

"Diversity is a core goal to the mission of the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix," said Hartmark-Hill. "This project serves to broaden our perspectives through awareness and appreciation for the voices and values of people from all walks of life, across the lifespan, and with unique lived experiences. This will help our participants contribute to the college's mission of optimizing health and health care for Arizona and beyond."

The Program for Narrative Medicine and Health Care Humanities, housed in the Department of Bioethics and Medical Humanism, strives to bring together health care humanities programs with an emphasis on narrative perspectives.

Students and employees from all areas of the Phoenix Biomedical Campus are invited to join the discussions. Carlson would like the book club to be as interdisciplinary as possible.

"I believe that this will make book club participants take a look at the world around them and think about how everyone comes from a different place," Carlson said. "Everyone has their opinion about what diversity is and it is interesting to hear other points of view. When you listen to others, it makes for a better world."

The first book the club discussed was "Being Mortal" by Atul Gawande. After students return to classes in the fall, the club will discuss "When Breath Becomes Air," by Paul Kalanithi, an author who grew up in Kingman, Arizona.

The club also plans to discuss films that explore different views on health. The schedule is aligned with the Georgia G. Hall Film and Medicine Series, which is presented by a film club also in the Department of Bioethics and Medical Humanism, so that each book study has a relevant film that can accompany the discussion.

"As a librarian, I enjoy reading books – especially good books – with medical themes," Carlson said. "By having a book club, it is interesting to hear the students' point of view on medicine and see the diversity in the world, especially in the United States as it is applied to medicine and health care."

Both Carlson and Hartmark-Hill are hoping that the book club will contribute to the overall goals of the University to be more diverse and inclusive.

"It is a privilege to share important literature from diverse perspectives with our campus community," Hartmark-Hill said. "It is also a privilege to learn from the perspectives and lived experiences of our community. We hope that exposing our students to these diverse perspectives – from the literature and from the community around them – will increase their awareness and empathy."

To join the book club, contact Hartmark-Hill at jhartmarkhill@email.arizona.edu or Carlson at kncarlso@email.arizona.edu

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