Hiram College

Return to the House of God

This dynamic symposium recognized the 30th anniversary of Sam Shem's novel The House of God. Participants discovered how the novel impacted medical residency programs and how medical educators use the book today. They learned about the problems and issues these programs face today. Participants also discussed the relationships between medical education and literature and how writing reflects, complements and criticizes medical training and practice.

Sponsored by:

  • The Center for Literature and Medicine, Hiram College
  • Division of Medicine, Cleveland Clinic
  • With generous support from The Wish, Cope & Life Foundation
  • Special thanks to the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities whose 2008 Annual Meeting in Cleveland begins at the conclusion of our symposium.  Find out more about their meeting at: www.asbh.org


Critical discussions about medical resident educationScenes from Bill W. and Dr. Bob (written by Sam Shem – aka Stephen Bergman – and his wife Janet Surrey), which recently finished a very successful off-Broadway run Meeting the real people behind the characters in The House of God as they reunite 30 years later

Discussions focused on the answers to questions such as:

What impact did The House of God have on medical residency programs? What has been happening in medical residency since the novel’s publication? What problems and issues still remain?How do medical educators use the book? How does writing reflect, complement and criticize medical training and practice?

Joining author Stephen Bergman and some of his fellow interns who were models for the characters in the book, will be top physician and nurse writers, leading medical humanities scholars and resident educators.

Who attended:

  • Medical and Health Professions Educators
  • Medical Humanities and Bioethics Scholars
  • Doctors, Nurses, Health Care Professionals
  • Students in the Health Professions and Humanities

Presenters were:

  • Keith Armitage, MD
  • Jay Baruch, MD
  • Stephen Bergman, MD, PhD
  • Howard Brody, MD
  • Stephanie Brown Clark MA, MD, PhD
  • Dagan Coppock, MD
  • Martha L. Elks, MD, PhD
  • Amy Marie Haddad, PhD, RN
  • Neeta Jain, MD
  • Anne Hudson Jones, PhD
  • Perri Klass, MD
  • Howard Markel, MD, PhD
  • Suzanne Poirier, PhD
  • Larry Smith, MD
  • Janet Surrey, PhD, MEd
  • Marc Zaffran, MD
  • Abigail Zuger, MD