“Age, Ability, and Healthcare”

A Summer Seminar Jointly Sponsored by Hiram College Center for Literature and Medicine and Northeast Ohio Medical University

Thursday & Friday, July 17 & 18, 2014

For a downloadable version of schedule with associated costs, please click here.

Early registration prices of $60 per session per person will run through July 1, 2014.  After that, late registration admission prices will be $75.00 per person per session, with registration closing on July 9, 2014.  If you are an alum of Hiram College or of any previous Center for Literature and Medicine summer seminars, please enter in the following discount code:  LITMEDSUMMER14 to receive 25% off of any sessions for which your register.  Each session price includes the meal before that particular session, i.e. a morning session includes breakfast and an afternoon session includes lunch.  Dinners cost $25 per person.  The sessions and the Thursday evening film screening will all take place in the Ballroom of the Kennedy Center; dinners will be located in Koritansky Hall on Thursday and Friday beginning at 6 p.m.

Continuing education credit for this seminar is offered through the Office of Continuing Professional Education at the Northeast Ohio Medical University. Three hours of Continuing Professional Education credit will be available for each individual session, making a total of 12 possible hours for the entire seminar.

Check in will be available on Wednesday evening starting at 6 p.m.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Session 1:  Rebecca Garden, Ph.D. 

“A Harvest of Interpretations:  Dementia and Decision-Making”

9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (Continental Breakfast included and begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Kennedy Center Reception Gallery.  This is a 3-hour session that will include 30 minutes of break time.)

Location:  Kennedy Center Ballroom

This session explores the ethical dimensions of decision-making for people with dementia, and cognitive disability more generally, and their caregivers by mining literary representations of not only dementia but also madness and addiction.  We will experiment with interpretation as a supplement to notions such as “best interest” or “substituted judgment,” testing this approach through readings of literature that generates meaning through disjuncture and displacements.

Key Learning Objectives: 

  • Recognize how ethical approaches to health care typically privilege reason, logic, and other cognitive norms.
  • Differentiate these approaches from disability studies and narrative ethics.
  • Interpret and analyze literary representations of non-normative modes of communication in order to evaluate caregivers’ interpretive practices in shared decision-making.


Session 2:  Thomas Cole, Ph.D.

“Accomplishment and Limitation: Conversations with Distinguished Male Elders”


“Composing an Ethics Case as a Song of Life”

1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Lunch included and begins at 12:30 p.m. in Dix Dining Hall, Kennedy Center. This is a 3-hour session that will include 30 minutes of break time.)

Location:  Kennedy Center Ballroom

This part of the session will explore interviews and conversations that Dr. Cole has had with 10 distinguished men over 80 in the last three years.  It will highlight themes of sexuality, love, faith, and death as mediators of the gulf between current physical and cognitive limitations.

Key Learning Objectives:

  • Apply autobiographical accounts to contextualize health and disease.
  • Explore the paradoxical potential for spiritual growth alongside physical decline in later life.

Part B: “Composing an Ethics Case as a Song of Life”

This part of the session will focus on the “case” of a ninety-year old demented woman whose hands were strapped to her nursing home bed to prevent her from pulling out a feeding tube.  It will show how a multi-voiced narrative opens up a rich portrait of the experiences of the woman, her family, and her caregivers. 

Key Learning Objectives:

  • Evaluate an ethical dilemma using story rather than bioethical analysis alone.
  • Relate the rich particularity of a single “case” to the overabundant richness and multiple meanings inherent in ethical dilemmas in general. 


Screening of Penelope: The Documentary (2013) followed by Q & A with Director of the Penelope Project, Dr. Anne Basting

7:00 p.m.

Open to the public and free of charge

Location:  Kennedy Center Ballroom, 2nd Floor

What happens when a nursing home decides to throw out the bingo boards and take on the Odyssey instead?  Penelope: The Documentary tells the story of how residents, some with severe dementia or wheel-chair bound, collaborate with playwright Anne Basting and Sojourn Theater to create “Finding Penelope,” a play reinterpreting Homer’s Odyssey to tell it from Penelope’s point of view.  

This one-hour film is a beautiful exploration of how the residents, actors and students collaborated, from reading the Odyssey together to learning Greek and eventually putting on a professional play featuring scenes all over the nursing home and an audience of over 400 moving through the space.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Session III:  Anne Basting, Ph.D.

“Finding Normal Through Art”

9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (Continental Breakfast included and begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Kennedy Center Reception Gallery.  This is a 3-hour session that will include 30 minutes of break time.)

Location:  Kennedy Center Ballroom

In long term care communities, those with physical and cognitive disabilities are commonly stigmatized and avoided.  This session will explore how participatory arts can be used to build community across continuing care communities by looking at several model programs. 

Key Learning Objectives:

  • Define stigma and describe its manifestation in long term care facilities.
  • Describe the qualities of accessible participatory arts programs and identify model programs that illustrate those qualities.
  • Question whether those qualities can be extended beyond long term care communities. 


Session IV: Laurie Lambeth, Ph.D., M.F.A.

“Disrupting Chronology: Spots of Time (or Timey Wimey)”

1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. (Lunch included and begins at 12:30 p.m. in Dix Dining Hall, Kennedy Center.  This is a 3-hour session that will include 30 minutes of break time.)

Location:  Kennedy Center Ballroom

Too often, chronological narratives are imposed upon disability, narratives with assumed trajectories of cause and effect, or of diagnosis leading to suffering, leading to cure or death. This contributes to narratives of tragedy or triumph, always moving in one direction, rather than addressing individual moments of experience in flux. While older adults face stigma as they live with chronologically acquired disabilities, younger people living with impaired mobility, urinary continence, or cognition—generally thought to occur later in life—face a different kind of stigma; they don't conform to chronological expectations, and are often held accountable, considered fraudulent for using accessible facilities, assumed to be lazy, drunk, or unintelligent for slowed movement or cognition. In this session we will seek a more poetic understanding of illness, disability, and age, through what Wordsworth called "spots of time": compressed and vivid moments. In Doctor Who parlance, age and disability is far more "wibbly-wobbly" and "timey-wimey" than chronology affords. In the session we will "read" clips from television and classic film, recognizing narrative assumptions viewers make. We will also read and respond to poems as well as craft our own. 

Key Learning Objectives:

  • Practice "reading" patients as poems rather than stories, investing more in "spots of time," grasping experience more fully than we could with chronological narratives.
  • Examine age and disability outside of common chronological assumptions, thus expanding concepts of narrative medicine, disability, and age itself.
  • Appraise the ways that actively reading individual patients' experiences may result in more careful, precise clinical choices, minimizing error while also strengthening the bonds of empathy, empowering clinicians and patients equally. 


Continuing Professional Education

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) through the co/joint sponsorship of Northeast Ohio Medical University and Hiram College Center for Literature and Medicine.  Northeast Ohio Medical University is accredited by the ACCME and the ACPE to provide continuing education for physicians and pharmacists. 

Northeast Ohio Medical University designates this live activity for a maximum of 12.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.  

Nurses may use AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ awarded by ACCME accredited providers for licensure renewal. 

Each of the four application based activities will award 3.0 contact hours (.3 CEUs of continuing pharmacy education). 

SESSION                                     ACPE UAN 

Session I                                     0479-9999-14-117-L04-P 

Session II                                    0479-9999-14-118-L04-P 

Session III                                  0479-9999-14-119-L04-P 

Session IV                                  0479-9999-14-120-L04-P 

Participants will be required to complete a program evaluation form upon completion of each session.

We have also applied for CE credit for Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists but we cannot guarantee that this CE credit will be approved.


On-campus housing is available for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings for those who desire it.   Space is limited and will be reserved on a first-come, first served basis.  After the early registration date, we cannot guarantee the availability of on-campus housing.  Lodging choices include: 

  • The Historic Hiram Inn and Conference Center - $100.00 per night, tax inclusive.

All rooms feature private bathrooms, cable television, wireless internet access, and parking at the Hiram Inn. 

  •  The Townhouse Living Community - $60.00 per night, tax inclusive.

Each guest will have one of the four private, single bedrooms, but will share the two bathrooms with other guests in the townhouse.  Each townhouse also includes a kitchen with refrigerator, stove, microwave and dishwasher, a furnished living room, a washer and dryer, air-conditioning, Internet access and private parking spaces.

Check-in will be available beginning July 16, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.

Last check-out time is at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 19, 2014.



▲  Return to Top


To register for the conference and on-campus accommodations, please contact Erin Gentry Lamb at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 330-569-6139.


View a schedule of events.


This documentary features a long term care facility, a group of students and a theater company who dared to raise the bar on bingo.  Can they work together to stage a play based on Homer’s Odyssey?  Can they inspire us all to rewrite the odyssey of aging in our own lives?