The Columbia Commons seminar brings together faculty and students from all eight professional health schools to learn how to support effective health care teams here at the medical center. This is the sixth 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: 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 ten-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
Applications were due by December 5, 2016
Students will be informed of the final decision by December 16, 2016
Classes will begin the week of February 6th, 2017 and end the week of April 24th. Graduation will be held the week of May 1st.
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 therapeutic relationships. What has to happen for care to occur? What is required of the one being cared for and the ones caring? These questions apply to professional care-givers and family care-givers. The spaces of care include emergency rooms, birthing rooms, clinic offices, and home hospice. We will develop questions about intimacy, relationality, boundaries, interior states of caring or not caring. We will probe questions of how one prepares oneself for the life of caring. The community/population questions as well as the psychological/behavioral questions that arise are vast—who should be the caregivers? Should family care-givers be paid by government agencies? Are these family “obligations?” How do shifts in nuclear family/extended family dutifulness influence our capacity as a culture/society to assure care for those who need it? Are some people “built for” caring for others and some not?
Aging and End-of-Life
Tuesday, 5:30-7:00 pm
Letty Moss-Salentijn, DDS, PhD and Mark Nathanson, MD
This seminar focuses on mortality. Simply put, we are human and we are mortal and we will die. The limits of age are the most “natural” time for preparing for death, although all can die at any time and all know it. The seminar will learn from fiction, memoir, poetry, and film regarding palliative care, mental states in the face of serious illness, efforts of the loved ones to accompany the ill or aged or dying person on his or her path. There will be opportunities, in our own writing, to examine personal experiences with serious illness and dying as a means to build insight and comfort in aging and dying care. The policy implications of these questions— including funding for hospice care, requirements for palliative care services, “guarantees” of health that many think are being made by the health care system—will be faced.
Health Care Justice and the Care of the Underserved
Wednesday, 6:00-7:30 pm
Kristen Slesar, LCSW with collaboration of David Albert, DDS
We will investigate aspects of health care related to health care access and health equity. Beyond the raging question, “Is health care a right or a privilege?” are thoughts and policies and actions regarding the status of health itself as a good—a commodity, an innate aspect of self, a piece of luck? The seminar will present situations from Columbia’s history of developing and offering health care for poor patents living in our neighborhood. It will inspect aspects of particular populations—survivors of domestic violence, injured veterans returning from US wars, for example—as exemplifying the urgency and complexity of delivering care to all who need/deserve/require/summon it.
Spirituality and Healthcare
Wednesday, 5:30-7:00 pm
Naomi Kalish, ACPE, BCC, and Elisha Waldman, MD
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.
For questions on the seminar itself, please contact Cindy Smalletz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions about registration with your school, please contact your school’s Commons representative:
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An article by Macy Foundation November 2014: “Reframing the Academic Medical Center through Interprofessional Effectiveness”