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The Hidden World of Care: Medical and Health Humanities Symposium

November 2
1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Mead Hall

The Medical Humanities Program of Drew University cordially invites you to join a dialogue that raises critical questions on care.

At a moment of political discord in our country, it is no secret that we face a care deficit. To adequately care for our children, older people, and for ourselves has become a challenge. Care impacts us all, no matter where we live or where we were born. Although political life and institutions should help us to care better, many caregivers see organizations as hindrances to care. ‘Care’ is also narrowed to care work and a commodity, professor Joan Tronto would argue, rather than seeing the full practice of care. Care holds our lives together, but it is still hidden from public space and that needs to change. During this afternoon, we grapple with questions such as: what would it mean if we would rethink our private and public commitments from the perspective of care? How should care be distributed, or who should care, for whom and why? How can we tell which institutions provide good care? And what would a caring institution look like?

Chaired by Yvette Vieira (MA MMH) Manager, Palliative Care and Bioethics Atlantic Health System and Atlantic Health Liaison.

16005. Oil and acrylic on wood, 40 x 40 cm., 2016. Jose Krijnen –

1:00PM-1:15PM – Opening by Associate Dean Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre.

1:15PM-1:30PM – Introduction to the Medical Humanities Program by Merel Visse, Director, Medical Humanities, Drew University and Rosemary McGee, Certificate MH.

1:30PM-2:15PM – Professor Emerita Joan Tronto: Looking at the World Through a Care Lens.

2:15PM-2:45PM – Responses by Nancy Gross, Overlook Medical Center/Adjunct Professor Medical Humanities Program, Drew University and Dr. Gaetana Kopchinsky, Adjunct Professor, Medical Humanities Program, University Trustee, Drew University

2:45PM-3:15PM – Break. Screening of first half of Care, a Documentary.

3:15PM-4:00PM – Workshops by MH doctoral students on Person-centered Health Care Experiential by Maria Lupo (MFA) and Poetry and Care by Stephanie Tobia (MFA).

4:00PM-4:30PM – Screening second half of Care Documentary (plenary).

4:30PM-5:00PM – Discussion and closing.


Professor Emerita Joan Tronto professor of Political Science, University of Minnesota. She has been writing about care ethics for about thirty years. Her current research involves thinking about care from a global perspective. Professor Tronto is one of the founders of the Care Ethics Research Consortium. In 2014 she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Humanistic Studies for her accomplishments in the field of care ethics and theory.

Nancy Gross, MA MMH, works as a humanities educator at the affiliated partner of the MH Program: Overlook hospital/Atlantic Health. She works with health care professionals, patients and care partners providing narrative medicine sessions, literature and medicine seminars and develops/coordinates the humanities activities. She integrates humanities activities for staff, patients/families and community members to elucidate the issues that life limiting illness and end of life pose.

Dr. Gaetana Kopchinsky is a philanthropist, writer, humanist, and educational mentor of underprivileged and exceptional elementary, undergraduate and graduate students. She has published many articles in her graduate and post-graduate capacity on clinical contemporary physician-patient issues through the Schwartz Rounds Conference Program with circulation to 23 hospitals across the United States. She is a winner of the Schering-Plough Scholarship (2008) for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Humanities. She is a three-time alumna of Drew University and serves on the Drew Alumni Council. As a professor at Drew Caspersen Graduate School, her expertise is in clinical narrative; humanism; contemporary psycho-social issues including pain and major chronic depression on the human condition. 

Maria Lupo studied Sculpture/Combined Media at Hunter College, CUNY, receiving her MFA. In addition to her studies as a fine artist, Maria has completed her Post-Masters Specialization in Art Therapy from Caldwell University and is a Board Certified Registered Art Therapist holding a second Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. Currently, Lupo is a Doctoral Candidate in the Medical Humanities at Drew University and an exhibiting artist.

Stephanie Tobia received her MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation from Drew University. She is now enrolled in the Medical Humanities program where she is interning at Overlook Medical Center. Stephanie founded a healing poetry group at a post-acute rehabilitation center for senior citizens and is currently developing research around that topic.