Center for Literature and Medicine

The Center for Literature and Medicine is the home of a distinctive interdisciplinary program that serves undergraduates, health care professionals and the wider community.

Image: Mahan House


The College’s unique biomedical humanities major gives the students important advantages in preparation for medical school and other graduate programs.

The mission of the Center is to examine thoroughly questions of human values in health care contexts through literary works and to do so within clinical settings, medical and other health professional schools, and the liberal arts environment

Founded in 1990, the Center for Literature and Medicine provides interdisciplinary programs, courses, and summer seminars integrating humanities and health care. Through the study of the humanities, and in particular, through literary works, the Center examines critical health care issues. This work has application in clinical settings, academic medicine, health policy, and the liberal arts environment, and serves to deepen participants’ ability to recognize, understand, and address ethical and humanistic issues in health care contexts.

What distinguishes the Center from conventional medical ethics programs are its special emphases

  • Using literary works to raise humanities issues in medical settings
  • Developing techniques for teaching literary works in a variety of health care environments, from medical schools to nursing homes
  • Using readers’ theater as a method for understanding different perspectives of patients, families and health care professionals
  • Applying narrative theory and practice to health care interactions; for example, the patient as story, the doctor as reader.

This Center, which generates public and professional dialogue of issues in health care and biotechnology, is distinct in numerous ways:

  • it is the only one of its kind in the country, with a clear focus on serving both baccalaureate (pre-health professions) students and extended communities.
  • it is home to the first health humanities undergraduate major in the country.
  • it was the birthplace of The Literature and Medicine Book Series published by Kent State University Press.
  • it collaborates with many health care organizations including the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, the Northeast Ohio University of Medicine, the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine of Ohio University, Summa Health Systems, MetroHealth System and Coleman Professional Services.
  • it involves faculty throughout the college in courses that bridge drama, literature, music and the visual arts with health and health care issues.

The Center also presents numerous projects and Opportunities:

  • a biennial summer symposium that brings together health care professionals, humanities scholars, creative artists and educators in a dynamic learning community.
  • visiting scholars and artists who serve both as faculty and presenters to the entire Hiram community.
  • collaborations with writers and visual and dramatic arts professionals using their talents to address ethical issues.
  • courses are offered yearly in the Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) program, and MAIS students have chosen medical humanities as their area of concentration.

The Center for Literature and Medicine offers many diverse programs, projects and publications, including:

  • Summer symposia that bring together healthcare professionals, humanities scholars, creative artists, and educators in a dynamic learning community.
  • Visiting scholars who serve both as faculty and presenters to the entire Hiram community, including an annual Margaret Clark Morgan Scholar in mental health, sponsored by an endowment from Peg’s Foundation.
  • Collaborations with writers and visual and dramatic arts professionals using their talents to address ethical issues.
  • Longstanding ties with The Literature and Medicine Book Series published by Kent State University Press.

Thomas W. Andrews, M.D. ’59
  • Dermatologist (retired), Hinsdale Dermatology
Kevin Barnett, ’07
  • Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer
    Joseph Gawler’s Sons, LLC
Donald L. Batisky, M.D. ’83
  • Director, Pediatric Hy­pertension Program
  • Professor of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
  • Executive Director, PreHealth Mentoring, Emory University College of Arts & Sciences
  • Pediatric Nephrologist, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Chad Berry, LSW ’10
Jeanne Bryner, RN
  • Registered Nurse and Poet, Trumbull Memorial Hospital
Sheryl L. Buckley, M.D. ’68
  • Anesthesiologist (retired)
  • Founder and Director, Rockside Surgery Center of St. Vincent Charity Hospitals
Irene Chenowith, M.D. ’77
  • Medical Director, Lexicomp
  • Internist, Summa Healthcare
Emily Drake, CFP
  • Partner, Fairport Asset Management, LLC
Christopher Faiver, Ph.D., LPCC ’69
  • Professor Emeritus of Psychology, John Carroll University
  • Former Coordinator of the Community Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master’s Program at John Carroll University
  • Psychologist
Jeannie Flossie, LNHA, BA, LPN, ’95
  • Vice President, Alzheimer Programming
    Altercare of Ohio, Inc.
Leah Gongola, Ph.D., BCBA-D
  • Assistant Professor of Special Education, Youngstown State University
  • Director, Camp Sunshine of Aurora
  • Director, Proactive Behavior Services
Elizabeth Hesse, M.D., ’05
  • Program Manager, Disease Epidemiology Program, Army Public Health Center
Elizabeth Juliano ’84
  • Founder and CEO, Litigation Management, Inc.
Martin Kohn, Ph.D.
  • Director, Program in Medical Humanities, Center for Ethics, Humanities and Spiritual Care, Cleveland Clinic
  • Associate Professor of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University
Joseph LaGuardia
  • LaGuardia Group, LLC
Dixie Benshoff Ludick, Ph.D. ’72
  • Licensed Psychologist, Educator, Trainer, Coach, Consultant
Jeffrey Nisker, M.D.; Ph.D.; FRCSC; FCAHS
  • Obstetrician and Gynecologist, London Health Sciences Centre
  • Pro­fessor of Obstetrics-Gynaecology at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University
  • Scientist, Children’s Health Research Institute
Delese Wear, Ph.D.
  • Professor in the College of Medicine and in the Family and Community Medicine Department, Northeast Ohio University of Medicine
Joan Webster, M.D.
  • Pediatrician, Oberlin
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine, Northeast Ohio University of Medicine
Joe Zarconi, M.D.
  • Chair of Internal Medicine
  • Interim Associate Dean for Health Affairs
  • Clinical Director for Humanities Education
    Northeast Ohio University of Medicine