About the Seminar
The Columbia Commons IPE seminar brings together faculty and students from nine professional health schools to learn how to support effective health care teams here at the medical center. This is the seventh year of this campus-wide seminar, previously called the Columbia/Macy Seminar, which originated with a grant from the Macy Foundation and is now supported by the Columbia Commons IPE: Collaboration Across Professions team. Knowing how critical well-functioning teams are in the care of the sick and the improvement of the health of the public, we want to develop the wherewithal to work seamlessly, effectively, and respectfully together. The seminar opens up urgent questions about health, illness, and care while absorbing each of our many perspectives on these topics, and at the completion of the class students will receive designation as a Columbia Commons Scholar.
These seminars are eleven-week long classes focusing on a topic with an emphasis on orientating students to the philosophy and methods of Narrative Medicine. Through small group work, the students will develop narrative skills of close reading, attentive listening, and creative writing. In doing so, a clearing is created in which all students are able to develop trust in and respect for one another.
The application for the 2018 seminar has closed.
Students will be informed of the final decision by December 15, 2017
Spring classes will begin the week of February 5th, 2018 and end the week of April 30th, 2018.
Spring 2018 Course Offerings
Relationships of Care and the Spaces of Care
Tuesday, 5:30-7:00 pm
Michael Devlin, MD and Rebekah Ruppe, DNP, CNM
This seminar will open up questions of the nature of the therapeutic relationship and the ways in which spaces influence the care provided. What has to happen for care to occur? What is required of the ones being cared for and the ones caring? What does care mean within the interprofessional team? What constitutes a healing environment and how is this reflected in the physical spaces in which care takes place (emergency rooms, birthing rooms, clinic offices, home hospice)? These questions apply to spaces and care intended for individuals, families, communities and populations. We will consider issues of intimacy, embodiment, relationality, boundaries, interior states of caring or not caring. We will probe how one prepares oneself for the life of caring and how one attempts to cope with the inevitability of suffering and death. We will consider the implications of these issues for everyday personal and professional experiences.
Aging and End-of-Life
Tuesday, 5:30-7:00 pm
Letty Moss-Salentijn, DDS, PhD, Mark Nathanson, MD and Tayla Curran, MS
This seminar explores the role of health professionals in advancing and improving quality of life in the aging population. The spectrum of topics includes successful aging in healthy seniors to end of life decisions. We face these issues daily in our work, our family life, through interactions with friends and colleagues and in the course of our lives. The seminar will learn from fiction, memoir, poetry, and film regarding the role of the arts, volunteerism, palliative care, psychological distress loss, and caregiving of the ill. There will be opportunities, in our own writing, to examine personal experiences with advanced aging serious illness and dying as a means to build insight and comfort in aging and dying care. The policy implications of these questions—including the goals of senior housing, ageism, hospice care, requirements for palliative care services, “guarantees” of health that many think are being made by the health care system—will be faced. These topics are of particular import given the aging of the population worldwide and health care debate to determine sound and compassionate policy which would allow all people to experience quality of life, dignity and prevent unnecessary suffering at the end of life.
Health Care Justice and the Care of the Underserved
Wednesday, 6:00-7:30 pm
Kristen Slesar, LCSW, MS
Health care access and equity is a central issue in today’s sociopolitical climate. For millions of Americans, availability of health care is worsening; for millions more, lack of health care access and equity has been normative, an everyday scourge of institutionalized racism, sexism, and classism. Using a lens of structural violence and intersectionality, this seminar will examine various forms of health care disparity and injustice and their history in the United States. We will focus on historically and currently targeted (or neglected) populations, emphasizing health care access and outcomes for Persons of Color, women, impoverished communities, Veterans, and persons who are incarcerated. The seminar will move from a survey of institutions/systems to the challenge of structural competency in one-on-one interactions between providers, their peers, and patients.
Spirituality and Healthcare
Wednesday, 5:30-7:00 pm
Naomi Kalish, ACPE, BCC, and Ssanyu Birigwa, MS
Illness is often the site for existential and spiritual exploration of meaning and meaning-making. How can health care professionals assist patients and families in these quests? This seminar will consider the questions that patients ask their health care professionals and expectations some may hold about illness: “Why me? Why is God doing this to me? I’m expecting a miracle. Will you pray with me?” We will learn together about the differences between spirituality and religiosity and the place for the non-believer in the realm of spirituality. The concept of the “spiritual care generalist” will frame the seminar discussions—we are learning not how to dispense religious advice or sacraments but to be able to identify spiritual concerns of our patients and their families to direct them toward the specialists who can help them. For too long, there has been a felt taboo against asking patients directly about their beliefs or faith concerns. We will explore respectful and effective ways to invite patients to discuss and explore the faith dimensions of their illness experiences. Some guests will join us in the seminar from ICU medicine, pediatric palliative care, religious tolerance efforts, and creative work around our shared existential states. There will be room for consideration and contemplation of our own belief systems and relationships to faith or the lack of faith in the face of illness.
Summer 2018 Course Offerings
Deconstructing Race for Health Professionals
Sharon Washington, EdD, MPH
Deconstructing Race for Health Professionals is a seminar that focuses on cultivating knowledge and raising consciousness regarding the intersection of race and medicine. This course was piloted by Columbia School of Nursing in the Summer Session, 2017, and will be run by Dr. Washington in collaboration with trained student facilitators. The seminar allows students from various backgrounds to create a space where they can discuss and learn about the historical origins of race, its contemporary formulation and impact on patients and health care professionals all while using personal experiences to inform the discussion. The course aims to enable students to create new knowledge, actions and relationships with other students, faculty, staff, and administrators who are influenced by racism and/or committed to being anti-racist.
For questions on the seminar itself, please contact Tayla Curran at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions about registration with your school, please contact your school’s Commons representative: