TQSJOH 312 :
TABLE OF CONTENTS Letter from the Editors
Timeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tie: An Anectodal Observation of Chinese Culture and Mental Health
Interview with Nikita-Kiran Singh
Interview with The Art Therapy Project
Interview with Dr. Kerry Ann Murray
The Central Dogma of Humanity: From Gene unto Generations
32 THE MUSE
From the Editors
so, with the changing hands of leadership, we are reminded that leadership doesn’t equal ownership. The Muse is a collective body of dedicated, hardworking individuals, and we have only been facilitators of this movement. That being said, if there are any last words that we would like to leave, it would have to be that every new experience, whether good or bad, brings with it lessons of life. As much as we enjoyed our time with The Muse, we must admit that we were met with challenges too. It was during these times that we doubted our qualifications as Editors-in-Chief, and feared making the wrong decisions. The responsibility of having others look to you for guidance was difficult, especially when we ourselves were lost from time to time. However, we learned that being a leader doesn’t mean that you have all the answers. What matters more is the capacity to have humility and patience, but also perseverance.
Dear Reader, Welcome to the ninth issue of The Muse. The theme we wanted to explore for this issue was “Generations” and no doubt, the pieces celebrate that theme in a variety of different ways. From heartfelt poetry about aging and inheritance to masterful prose about culture and mental illness, we are stunned by the vulnerability and provocative thoughts our writers have put on the pages.
We’d like to thank our faculty advisor, Dr. Ellen Amster, for all her guidance and help these past two years. It almost seems like we just met yesterday, when we were two lost students grateful for the patience and understanding she showed us. A big thank you to The Muse members, for their hard work and willingness to contribute their time and efforts to this initiative. For guiding us when we needed it. To all of our contributors, we thank you for your passion for writing and the arts. You have taught us so many things that would have otherwise remained hidden beneath the surface. We would also like to thank the Associated Medical Services (AMS) Healthcare for their generous sponsorship which helped make this magazine a reality. And finally, our dear readers, you are the reason that this initiative even exists. We thank you for joining us on this journey, whether you’ve been here since the start, or just picked up this magazine today. Your support and readership has certainly not gone unnoticed, and we hope to cross paths with you again, whether it be sometime soon or later in the future.
Yet besides the pieces within this issue, our theme of “Generations” resonates with us personally, as we have decided to step down from our position, passing the torch to a new pair of Editors-in-Chief, Samuel Lee and Shamir Malik. It comes as a bittersweet end to the wonderful journey we started with The Muse back in 2017, but we believe that with the new generation, amazing things are in With a final goodbye and until we meet again, store for The Muse and the medical humanities as a whole. Throughout our journey with The Muse, there had come a time when we viewed it as something that was ours, simply because of our positions in the initiative. Although it Nikki Wong & Katherine Kim is impossible to say that some part of us might still think THE MUSE
gin cerise By Charles Beckford Artwork by Jordan Chin
When you told me you were sick, I became sick with worry The first night I saw you sipping from that glass I was so young How did it taste? It was an ‘old man’s’ drink that you learned to love and I wondered if there was anything I could learn to love With these afflictions, are we trapped to find companionship within vices? Who knows So the glass that was pushed towards me was left untouched And to place my lips on something yours have touched scared me Cheers You with your unlimited gratefulness for life And you who took your own life That same night you told me I had a chance to turn around You were worried sick when I was sick of life Could it be that my youth was to blame for not understanding those flavours? Can I blame my youth for not making your afflictions my own? Instead all I harboured were diseases of blood and creation, but who truly knows Even so, after all of these years I still don’t know the taste I am still too young
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charles Beckford is a writer possessed by traumas of his past. His works can be seen as manifestations of his memories and emotions. His interest in the state of society and human mentality can be found within his writings and often serve as inspiration for their core theme. He has compiled an extensive collection of poems throughout the years, but his verses being deemed unconventional led to the publication of only two pieces in local newspapers. He has a penchant for injecting a drop of Dadaist poison into science.
A Checkup By Afreen Ahmad Artwork by Angel Cai
Can you feel the blood pulsing through my veins? It was a gift Given to me by my mother And her mother before her So treat me well, as I have far to go And donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t laugh at my face When I tell you my pain Because it will carry on for generations This pain will disseminate Through my tree Even when my leaves Are fallen and wilted So I will ask you once more, As you trespass this sacred sphere Exploring the root of my pain, To leave no leaf unturned
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Afreen Ahmad is a third year Bachelor of Health Sciences student in the Child Health Specialization. Afreen is a newfound poet who can be seen roaming the hallways of HSL, dabbling in poetry, and writing reflections in her writerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s notebook. She also likes to talk in third person and would love to discuss poetry, writing, and acting if you see her.
By Liberty Liu Artwork by Amy Zhu
Time’s Tie: An Anecdotal Observation of Chinese Culture and Mental Health
hen I think about generations, my mind automatically goes to family ties. Last summer, I had the opportunity to go to the place of my cultural roots and reunite with my extended family. It was the first time I had gone back in over seven years, and I was almost unrecognizable from the 10-yearold child whom they had missed. I’m culturally Chinese, and in Mandarin, the word for ‘missing’ someone literally translates to ‘the act of thinking.’ This translation bothered me for a few reasons. Mainly, every time my grandpar-
ents missed me, they were thinking of my self at age 7. When I went back to Beijing, where my paternal grandparents currently reside, I felt a dissonance in terms of who I was and their kind memory. Naturally, I love my grandparents, so I felt slightly apologetic that I might have fallen short of their expectations.
rier, and subtle cultural misunderstandings. When we’re lucky, we meet up once or twice a decade and play a game of charades. They love me beyond doubt, but as a person, I’m not sure how much they like me, or how much they even know me. It seems impossible to build a strong relationship in such a short amount of time — even people who interact daily can Apart from my visit this past sum- feel isolated in their connections. mer, the time that I see my extended family is scarce and mostly It’s evident that the automated through a screen. On top of phys- gain of affection is due to happenical distance separating us, there is stance: I am the product of their a time difference, a language bar- children and so are they. Yet, I feel THE MUSE
Time’s Tie: An Anecdotal Observation of Chinese Culture and Mental Health
lowest needs on Maslow’s hierarchy. Even now, the quick-paced culture has no time to think of matters of the mind, and struggling with mental health is seen as a weakness of character. The group is valued greater than the it is unfair to reduce blood bonds individual, so it is best to keep to connotations of genetic-condipersonal troubles to oneself. tional emptiness in relationships. When I compare myself to my A study published in The Lancet parents, or them to their parents, found that only 8% of people with there are some noticeable trends depression or anxiety disorders in the ways we think and react. in China seek assistance, and the For example, while I was in China, numbers were even lower in rural I noticed that my father’s methods areas of the country . Additionof dealing with stress largely mimally, it was found in 2011 that the icked his mother’s. Whether that suicide rate in China was “roughly be a product of genetics, environ20 per 100,000 —about two times ment, or because they share the the global average— and 93% of same zodiac sign, this experience all suicides in China [occurred] allowed me to think about mental in rural areas” . At times, I feel health and how far we’ve come in as though mental illness is a first terms of fighting stigma. Specifiworld epidemic; however, stacally, I see our progression away tistics like those presented above from certain toxic behaviours that show that mental health is tangimay have been normalized in preble, and that it impacts the wellvious generations. being of people at varying social standings. There should not be I can’t generalize an entire counshame in the goal of self-actualtry, but I’ve noticed that there is a ization. Moreover, I am not in a stigma when approaching the topplace to evaluate other people’s exic of mental health and wellness in periences. In light of the research Chinese culture. Worrying about and resources to provide a better matters like mental health seems standard of living, it is important like a luxury to some, especially to realize that being responsible when less than a century ago, the to others means being responsible majority of the country’s populafor ourselves first. This respontion were peasants living with the sibility includes the understand-
"It seems impossible to build a strong relationship in such a short amount of time"
ing that we cannot diminish our own struggles and the need to acknowledge that it is okay to care for ourselves. As mental illness is not yet completely recognized in China, there are limited psychiatric services. In 2014, there were only 1.7 psychiatrists for every 100,000 people . A potential reason for this shortage is that psychiatrists are considered to be of lower status compared to other medical specialists and consequently receive lower pay . Luckily, there are certain movements to change the statistics: one example is a project to introduce psychiatry to rural physicians in China through indepth training and education. The results published in the American Journal of Psychiatry proved to be promising, and hopefully, the current shift in understanding will change perspectives on mental health. As stigmas are recognized and re-evaluated, the community will place greater value on the topic of mental health, providing a catalyst for further change and development in the field.  Phillips M, Zhang J, Shi Q, Song Z, Ding Z, Pang S, et al. Prevalence, treatment, and associated disability of mental disorders in four provinces in China during 2001–05: An epidemiological survey. The Lancet. 2009;373(9680):2041-2053. Available from: doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(09)60660-7.  Law S, Liu P, Hodges B, Shera W, Huang X, Zaheer J, Links P. Introducing psychiatry to rural physicians in China: An innovative education project. American Journal Of Psychiatry. 2011;168(12):1249-1254. Available from doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2011.11040654.  The Economist. China wakes up to its mental-health problems. Available from: https://www.economist.com/china/2017/01/28/china-wakes-up-to-its-mentalhealth-problems [Accessed 20th January 2019].
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: My name is Liberty Liu, and I am thankful for the time you set aside from your day to read this short article. I hope that sharing experiences will prove to be a fruitful way of engaging in wholesome discussion and bringing further wellness into our lives.
Title, M.D. By Alexandria Gonzales Artwork by Gracia Chen
I didn’t know I could fall in love with you without really knowing you. I mean, I’ve learned everything about you, but not once did I hold you. Will I ever? Step 0 – Us. I was raised in this world with the intention of making you and me into us. I’ve witnessed the same success from others —I knew we would work. We would officially meet during the first year of undergrad and be together by the time fourth year came along. All I needed to do was take the generations’ old plan and turn it into a reality. Then you and I would live, along with many, many others. Together. Step 1 – Dream. Fire… I felt it inside my soul. From the time I overheard others wanting you, to the time my parents said they’d love us together, I realized you needed to be mine. I obsessed over the challenge of our journey and fantasized at the respect we’d have from everyone around us. “Power couple,” they would say. Like a match and a spark, we would ignite everyone’s minds —hell, their entire wellbeing.
“What’s not to love?” I would tell us every single night. But somehow, you’d never say anything back. Step 2 – Focus. You became my dream… but then I would wake up. And each time I rose, a piece of you faded away. I had read about these moments. The plan told me to. The issues we were having were incongruencies, like “bumps in the road” that we’d overcome —that we should have overcome. I tried to keep going. For us. Step 3 – Persist. With each tear I sobbed from sleep deprivation came a hopeless wonder for the night ahead. Would we ever make it? Are we meant to be? It took me years to find out. I was afraid to talk about our growing distance. I was afraid to hear my parents’ and friends’ opinions once they discovered you and I were better apart. I didn’t want to stop dreaming… I didn’t want to give up. But then, like the science I impressed you with when we first met, I knew what was bound to happen. The night came where I closed my eyes and fell asleep. Step 4 – Realize. Terrified of opening my eyes and rising to the sun, I extended my hand to feel your presence —the presence I’ve lived for and would have died for. I felt someone grasp my hand and pull me all the way up. But it wasn’t you. It was me. Step 5 - Decide. From that point forward, I decided there would never be an us. We would never be together and the plan would never succeed. My parents did, however, continue to glorify you, and my friends kept encouraging me to give you another chance. But I didn’t listen to them, because you were never real. You are just two letters on a piece of paper —a title to be exact— and I am the one to close your book. Step 6 – Me. I will always be grateful for your lessons, M.D. But now it’s time to find who I am, and love me more than us. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alexandria Gonzales’s works revolve around the synonymy of catharsis and literature as forms of self-freedom. When not writing, she is living through the study of life as a 3rd year Biology student.
Interview with Nikita-Kiran Singh
ABOUT NIKITA: As a medical student with a background in philosophy, journalism, and dance, Nikita loves exploring the intersection between art and medicine. She's passionate about health advocacy and using the humanities to foster empathy and creative approaches to challenging subjects such as medical ethics. Nikita volunteers as a member of the Edmonton Global Shapers Hub and as her medical class’ Local Officer of Global Health. She was previously the Editor-in-Chief of The Wanderer Online, an Edmonton-based publication, and Vice-President Community Engagement of the University of Alberta Medical Students' Association.
Can you tell us a bit about ence first and then learned how aryourself and your journey tistic medicine is, too. The science is important for understanding the leading up to medicine? foundations, but the arts entail unI’ve wanted to be a doctor since I derstanding people and their stowas ten years old. In fifth grade, we ries; I really love that medicine dehad a science unit about the heart mands that we use both. and I fell in love with learning about physiology. I started asking You performed a Pecha Kucha questions about what it was like to talk called, “When Your Heart be a doctor, and loved that you get is Your Head.” Can you describe to form meaningful connections your experience preparing and with patients every day. So, along presenting a Pecha Kucha? Why the way, I fell in love with the sci- did you choose this medium of
presentation? There were a few things that drew me to performing at Pecha Kucha Night. First, a few friends of mine had performed at Pecha Kucha Night in Edmonton and I loved how they communicated their ideas so creatively and concisely. I wanted to do a talk too but initially didn’t have a topic in mind. However eventually, a few experiences inspired me. I kept hearing stories about people close to me having THE MUSE
Interview with Nikita-Kiran Singh
negative encounters with healthcare in general, feeling as though their emotions made them seem like less credible sources of information. Several people told me they felt like their doctors didn’t value their lived experience as a kind of information. For example, feeling that their pain was being dismissed and not taken seriously. So, I chose “When Your Heart is Your Head” to challenge the way we dichotomize thinking and feeling. What I liked about the Pecha Kucha format is that it forces you to be succinct and to utilize imagery. It’s 6 minutes 40 seconds, structured at 20 seconds for 20 slides, which is an impactful format for getting a message across, because it’s concise. You’re also not supposed to use words on your slides, so the visual format is really powerful. I picked my 20 pictures first, then chose one word that each image reminded me of, and finally wrote a sentence or
two for each picture. It was a really fun, creative process. Through the Pecha Kucha, I wanted to explore how the emotions that people experience both as patients and as doctors are important sources of information. If we only look at things from a textbook point of view, we discount all the information that arises from patients’ lived experiences, which in turn, affects patient care.
"We tend to view people as less logical if they're expressing emotion, even though you can be emotional and logical at the same time." Was there a particular personal story that inspired you to look into the disconnect between logic and emotion? My undergraduate degree was in the biological sciences with a minor in philosophy. Within philosophy, there are discussions about the “person” and their “lived experience”. I found it really interesting how those ideas connect to medicine. The individual person is a source of information even if they don’t understand medicine like a doctor does. I also found it strange that we tend to view people as less logical if they’re expressing emotion, even though you can be emotional and logical at the same time. Someone can be calm, cool, and collected —but totally wrong. You
can be crying or smiling when you say something, which affects how others perceive your message, but it doesn't change the actual content of what you’re saying. I wish we did a better job of understanding how our biases come into play, to deconstruct the message from how it’s conveyed. A few years ago, I was in a meeting and a colleague bravely pointed out that a leader was violating an important policy, and he responded to her by making very disrespectful personal comments. Understandably, she became frustrated and started crying. From there on out, most people in the group discounted her opinions and became apprehensive about listening to her. But the fact of the matter was that she was totally correct about the policy violation despite the rest of the group’s discomfort. Even though this wasn’t medicine related, it was the first time I saw a clear example of someone being discounted because they expressed their emotions, which I thought wasn’t appropriate at all. I’ve witnessed related examples in medicine, where there’s a tendency to attribute pain to anxiety or to suggest a patient is exaggerating their pain, which can lead to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnoses. There is research that highlights how this phenomenon occurs more commonly with women. So, it was a combination of experiences in both my professional and personal life
that got me interested in why we cine, we try to get to answers, but discount individuals as experts of it’s often unclear. Knowing how to their own lived experiences. navigate this sort of uncertainty is really important in philosophy. I Why did you choose to complete loved the class and wanted to learn a philosophy minor? more, so I switched my minor. Really, it feels more like philosophy It’s a funny story—I’m not entire- declared me than the other way ly sure! It feels more like philos- around. ophy chose me. I was planning to minor in French, but when I went Do you think choosing philosto French class on my first day of ophy as a minor helped you undergrad, it just didn’t feel right in in medical school and in your my gut. The professor was kind and path? the class seemed great so I didn’t understand logically why it wasn’t Absolutely. Philosophy is about right. I went home so confused, how to think —not just what to and searched for what classes were think— and to manage the disstill available. Philosophy was the comfort of realizing you might be only class open at that time in my wrong. Philosophy is about reasonschedule. I thought there was no ing, what it means to be human, way I would like philosophy, but I and understanding different sourcswitched in, went to my first class, es of information, which is applicaand instantly felt like I was at home. ble to everyone. I think sometimes philosophy is perceived as being "Philosophy is about impractical, but learning about how people think and what it means to how to think —not good both have very practical just what to think— be implications. So, I’m grateful that and to manage the dis- I’ve had the philosophy background comfort of realizing to practice thinking about those you might be wrong." questions. For me, it was that feeling —that sense of I’m in the right place at the right time. The class was about ethics and what it means to be good, and I found those questions so intriguing. What I love about philosophy —and what makes it applicable to medicine— is that it operates in the grey. It’s more about questions than about answers. Of course, in medi-
during our conversation and I don’t even remember why. But we just naturally had this bond and she is so kind and empathetic, along with being a skilled opera singer. She's extremely talented, artistic, philosophical, and wise. She has a PhD in Human Ecology and Population Health Studies and does incredible research that aligns with societal need. For example, she works on addressing health concerns for incarcerated women. Through her work, I’ve learned how we can use the arts in medicine to positively affect people’s lives. She cares about human beings in a way that's difficult to express; she is genuinely curious about knowing someone’s story. Again, when we talk about emotions and logic, they really are not two separate entities. She is an example of someone who is able to derive and utilize information to make a person feel understood. She is a healer in every sense of the word.
For practicing physicians, what advice do you have on providing comprehensive, objective care, without sacrificing the value of subjective experiences Who is one of your biggest in- (e.g. emotions)? spirations that led you to do the work that you do in the medical I think it’s important we acknowlhumanities now? edge how the subjective and objective may differ, but truly influence One of my mentors is Dr. Louanne one another. They’re not dichotoKeenan and she is one of the most mous. In medicine, we write SOAP incredible human beings I have ever (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, met in my life. When I first met Dr. Plan) notes. “Subjective” is about Keenan, we actually cried together patients’ symptoms and their exTHE MUSE
Interview with Nikita-Kiran Singh
perience and “objective” is about their vital signs and/or lab results. It’s important that we divide those two because it gives us space to
As the field of medical humanities is growing, what changes do you foresee or hope to see in the healthcare system?
cussing what financial or cultural barriers are in place that stop people from accessing opportunities in medicine, we’re engaging in artistic questions. Understanding science doesn't necessarily answer that question. So, we should really value generalism, expertise in different fields and different experiences, and how they all work together. Our theme for this issue is “Generations”. How might you interpret this theme in relation to the work that you do?
think about them individually, but we should also think about how the two interact. If one doesn't line up with the other, then we need to ask, “Why not?”. For example, if someone is in pain and we can’t find an “objective” reason why, that doesn’t mean there isn’t one. But ultimately, the person is still experiencing pain and that is something we need to address. I think with every patient, asking what matters to them is essential. Framing things that way is crucial because the patient remembers how you treated them, whether or not you listened to them and the concerns they have. Taking an approach of wanting to learn the patient’s experience grounds us in both the subjective and objective. THE MUSE
I hope to see more people come in with a background in the humanities. We see a trend towards specialization even at the undergraduate level, but I don’t think it needs to come at the expense of generalism. We do talk about the importance of generalism within medicine, in regards to the scope of one’s practice as a physician, but I think we should also view it more broadly in terms of our backgrounds and experiences that we bring to medicine. For example, exploring other avenues of study and gaining as well-rounded an education as we possibly can. The second change I hope to see is more diverse representation in medicine in terms of socioeconomic status. That’s one area wherein there is a role for the arts in medicine through advocacy. When dis-
Thinking of the word “generations” reminds me of something Justice Murray Sinclair said when discussing reconciliation in Canada. He explained that because it took seven generations to create the problems facing Indigenous peoples today, it will take generations to address those problems. I think it’s important for us to look to history as a series of lessons, and to learn as much as we possibly can from our ancestors in the interest of leaving our world a better place than when we arrived. “Generations” also makes me think of hope. We can use what we’ve learned from the past to build a future that’s more equitable. That’s my hope both inside and outside the sphere of medicine. ’
Interview with The Art Therapy Project Conducted with Martha Dorn, Executive Director of The Art Therapy Project & Lindsay Lederman, ATR-BC, LCAT, ATCS, Clinical Director of The Art Therapy Project THE MUSE
Interview with The Art Therapy Project
Can you tell us a bit about the ative process to help individuals exprogram? plore personal challenges, manage stress, process trauma, and increase The Art Therapy Project received self-awareness and coping skills. its official nonprofit designation in Group art therapy provides a safe July 2010 and in September 2011 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and supportive environment where programming began for female vet- clients can work with peers who erans, trauma survivors and at-risk have experienced similar trauma youth. Since opening our doors, and help each other heal inside and The Art Therapy Project has served outside of the studio. All of our climore than 6,200 clients, and we are nicians are masters-level, licensed very proud to have been named as and board certified art therapists. a Top 100 Philanthropies of 2018. In collaboration with two dozen Program Partners, The Art Thera"Since opening py Project offers 39 weekly on-goour doors, The Art ing art therapy groups plus a numTherapy Project has ber of special workshops. Program Partners identify which of their cliserved more than ents would be most appropriate art 6,200 clients" therapy group participants, eliminating the need for us to screen cliThe Art Therapy Project is dedi- ents and provide case management. cated to helping trauma survivors Currently, The Art Therapy Project through the creative process. Cen- runs groups for at-risk youth; vettered around challenges of Family, erans dealing with Post Traumatic Violence and Health, we are the Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic only nonprofit in New York dedi- Brain Injury (TBI), Military Sexucated solely to providing guided art al Trauma (MST), homelessness, therapy to those seeking hope and substance abuse and/or adapting support. We go beyond tradition- to civilian life, children in the fosal talk therapy. Our clients and art ter care system, 9/11 survivors, therapists work together to turn survivors of domestic violence and negative energy into positive. sexual abuse, court-involved youth, individuals dealing with substance The Art Therapy Project provides abuse issues, youth with complex art therapy at no cost to trauma medical issues, adolescents from survivors who would benefit from low income communities, and surit but cannot access or afford it. vivors of torture. For some, traditional talk therapy has had little or no success; art Why is Art Therapy beneficial therapy, a unique combination of for confronting issues veterans art and psychology, is an effective face? way of using the power of the creTHE MUSE
Art therapy is a unique form of psychotherapy that involves art making and talk therapy techniques. This approach makes it easier for people to communicate and express themselves, while fostering self-awareness and increasing self-esteem. Art is often considered a universal language, one that humans have used to communicate and express themselves for thousands of years. When individuals are feeling stuck in traditional therapies, whether due to difficulty expressing feelings verbally or accessing painful memories, art therapy can provide an effective alternative to help them in a creative and safe way. Structured art therapy groups are beneficial for clients who have histories of PTSD, sexual abuse, and addiction. Using a variety of materials including clay, colored pencils, paint, photography and/or collage materials, the group explores issues by focusing on the process of creating expressive art. While the final art product has meaning, it is the art process and how the client created the piece that is usually of most value. How the client created the art can help individuals to understand recurrent and unhealthy patterns of coping that may inhibit healthy functioning in their daily lives. Throughout the art-making process, the therapist observes and engages clients in processing and developing their imagery. Stimulated
by the process, clients can be inspired to tell their emotionally significant story through the artwork and personal reflection. Together, client and therapist explore the stark memories of trauma in a safe, controlled environment while experiencing the satisfaction associated with creating art. Clients often share a sense of freedom disclosing very personal details of themselves in a protected and safe environment, with peers who would understand and support them. What kind of effects do these art therapy interventions have on veterans? Why is this important? Art therapy is a treatment method that uniquely combines art and psychology to explore problems and potentials of individuals and provides an opportunity for individuals to “revisit” rather than “re-live” traumatic experiences. Traumatic memories are stored as images in the right hemisphere of the brain, often making it challenging to find words to describe the memories, as language resides in the left hemisphere of the brain. Art therapy can be an effective treatment for reaching traumatized individuals, many of whom have been unable to progress with traditional talk therapy. All of our services are provided in a group therapy format which provides a number of benefits that individual therapy cannot always address. Group therapy allows for socialization and decreasing feelings of isolation, as well as an op-
portunity for clients to impart their own strength and knowledge to others, which can help support their own healing. Our veterans groups deal with issues around PTSD, MST, TBI, transitioning into civilian life, changing family dynamics and self-identity. Our program is intended to help veterans get back on their feet and move forward with their lives. Each veteran sets personal goals for themselves before beginning one of our groups. Often these goals include improving social interaction, gaining personal insight, and exploring emotional triggers. Other goals are more tangible: sleeping through the night, making new friends, getting a job, managing an addiction, leaving their house at night. Our clients are welcome to attend art therapy sessions for as long as they wish. Some are with us for a year, while others have been with us since we started offering programs. Who else could benefit from art therapy? How so? Art therapy is an effective treatment for people experiencing developmental, medical, educational and social or psychological impairment. Individuals who benefit from art therapy include those who have survived trauma resulting from combat, abuse, and natural and manmade disasters; persons with adverse physical health conditions such as cancer, traumatic brain injury and other health disabilities; and persons with autism, dementia,
depression and other disorders. Art therapy helps people resolve conflicts, improve interpersonal skills, manage problematic behaviors, reduce negative stress and achieve personal insight. It provides an opportunity to enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of art making. Art therapy may also assist with development of language to describe and process traumatic experiences through establishment of stronger connections and symbolic communication. Our theme for this issue is “Generations”. How might you interpret this theme in relation to the work that you do? The stigma of going to therapy still exists today, despite the growing understanding of its benefits for anyone from any background or walk of life. As an organization that provides art therapy services, our hope is that we reach people in need of help who may otherwise not have found it. As an increasing number of people come out about their traumas and get support to heal, we hope that generations of young people will see that speaking up is a positive thing, that saying I need help is okay.
Interview with Dr. Kerry Ann Murray Artwork by Hana Brath
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? I’m a final year psychiatry resident at Dalhousie University. I’m originally from rural Southwestern Ontario; my parents were tobacco farmers in Norfolk County. I have a younger sister who lives in Delhi (Del-HIGH, Ontario, not India). I’m a Pisces. I’m married to an American. I completed my undergraduate degree at McMaster University in THE MUSE
"I learned so much from my supervisors and patients."
the Arts and Science Program with a Major in Psychology, before going on to do a Diploma in Counselling Psychology at UBC, and then medical school back at McMaster. I did an elective in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, before deciding to do my family medicine residency in Cape Breton. I knew I wanted a
non-urban program and the island was an amazing training environment; I learned so much from my supervisors and patients. In 2008, I did something completely different and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. I went to Afghanistan in 2011-12. In 2015, I was fortunate enough to be sponsored by the military to return to residency training in psychiatry and chose Dalhousie to get back to Nova Scotia. I spend as much time as possible in Bad-
deck where we have a renovated old manse on a river. I love the rural life. What first inspired you to pursue psychiatry, and how did poetry come into the picture? I joined the military as a family doctor and was later given the chance to retrain through the military in a specialty of my choosing. The first time around, I had considered psychiatry instead of family medicine, but the length of training and the level of debt I was carrying at the time were pragmatic factors that influenced my decision to do a shorter residency. Ten years later, when I had the opportunity presented to me, there was no doubt in my mind that psychiatry would be a good fit for me and I am grateful that I’ve had the chance to do another residency. I think family medicine is a great foundation for what I’m doing now. I don’t regret the time and experience it brings to my work as a psychiatrist. I think poetry and my love of literature have always been in the picture –I love books, and reading is necessary for me to keep my brain occupied. Poetry to me is arithmetic with words and language –I enjoy the challenge of solving and decoding what a writer is trying to convey, and experiencing how things resonate emotionally. Reading a poem is very much like being present for a patient as it builds on the same skills of empathy, listening, patience, and curiosity, and openness to different interpretations of the world.
"The positive and negative impacts we can have on the lives of our patients and their families is something I always carry with me. "
of our patients and their families is something I always carry with me. I suppose poetry was a natural choice because it is the medium I seem to connect with –and I also knew that it made sense to narrow my focus on one area of Narrative Medicine to see what I could find about the intersections between psychiatry and poetry.
As the field of Narrative Medicine is so broad, why did you Is there a particular experichoose to explore poetry and ence that you’ve had/witnessed not another art medium? whereby poetry significantly impacted the way in which psyI have a longstanding interest in chiatrists approached patients both reading and writing poetry. and/or their careers? Sue Goyette’s book, The Brief Reincarnation of a Girl, (2015, Gas- Personally, during a very difficult pereau Press) was quite influential rotation in my psychiatry training, in inspiring my residency project, I decided to do something that I as I happened to read it just be- considered completely non-medical fore returning to school in 2015. at the time and found (by chance) The ‘girl’, Rebecca Riley, was four a poetry course at Dalhousie with years old when she died from a tox- Sue Goyette. It was about two ic combination of quetiapine, val- years after reading her book and it proate and clonidine in her system. seemed like kismet when her name Her parents were charged and con- came up as an instructor, so I convicted of first-degree murder; Re- tacted her and asked if I could audit becca had a diagnosis of ADHD and the class since it was a fourth year bipolar disorder by a psychiatrist in course and I was outside the departMassachusetts, whom she had been ment (Advanced Creative Writing seeing since age 2. There was a his- 4000- Poetry). It usually runs weektory of neglect and abuse by the par- ly for a full year, however the year ents according to the court records, I attended, it was compressed into but something about the story and one term for 3 hours twice a week Sue’s book stuck with me. There in the evenings. Anyone who has are so many layers and versions to done residency knows that 3 hours most stories, which is something I is a significant time commitment experience regularly in my work as in addition to hospital duties and a psychiatrist. The tragedy and the call. On those nights I came directpotential for outcomes to have been ly from the hospital up the street; I different were also jarring as a new was often on call and had to answer trainee. The positive and negative pages during class or leave to assess impacts we can have on the lives someone in the ER. Other times I THE MUSE
Interview with Dr. Kerry Ann Murray
was on post-call, having slept a few hours that day after a 24-hour shift and looking like the walking dead. It was workshop-based and at the time was such a lovely reprieve from the rest of my existence. Sue is an inspiring instructor and I have never regretted the time I spent in her class. She was kind enough to be one of my project supervisors as well, so it was helpful to speak with her about what I was finding and thinking throughout the process. I believe that class certainly brought me back to myself, allowed for time to write and create, and in the process, helped steer me back on course.
relationships in the growth of physicians during their careers. General practitioner, a pediatrician and accomplished poet Dr. William Carlos Williams wrote: It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.
"Williams taught his medical students that each patient should be approached as a poem –unique, mysterious and an opportunity to confront our shared humanity."
Could you tell us a bit more about your own training to be a psychiatrist and how you foresee poetry’s integration into the curricula for psychiatry train- His long-standing friendship with American poet Ezra Pound had a ing? profound impact on his career as (I submitted a version of the follow- both a poet and a physician. Dr. ing for the Dangerous Ideas section Williams taught his medical stuof the CFPC conference last fall. It dents that each patient should be wasn’t picked up, but in a nutshell, approached as a poem –unique, I think it somewhat answers this mysterious and an opportunity to confront our shared humanity. question): The physician-poet link is as old We often speak of mentors in med- as the gods, but not often discussed icine and the importance of such in modern evidence-based guidelines; Apollo and Minerva were "My dangerous idea both ancient gods of medicine and is to integrate inter- poetry. With respect to psychiatry, Sigmund Freud proclaimed “everyested poets and other where I go, I find a poet has been humanities mentors there before me.” When John Keats (visual artists, writ- turned from medicine to poetry in the early 1800s, the prevailing attiers, scholars, etc.) into tude at the time was that his medical background was “below the dignity residency" THE MUSE
of a poet.” My dangerous idea is to integrate interested poets and other humanities mentors (visual artists, writers, scholars, etc.) into residency training programs to address the humanities void that many trainees undergo in their liminal stages of training. Medicine is both an art and a science –and patients feel the impact of this absence in their everyday encounters with our strained system. Perhaps drawing on poetry can provide us with some direction in these troubled times – or at least help us acknowledge the lack of what we find here.
Our theme for this issue is “Generations”. How might you interpret this theme in relation to the work that you do? Well, I guess the word “generations” reminds me that I’m solidly in the Generation X department and training with many millennials, given that I returned to training after more than ten years of practice. It has been an interesting experience to do a second residency at a different point in my life. Strauss and Howe’s generational archetypes come to mind –which is interesting reading for those working in a multigenerational workplace –it helped me understand why my cynical side as a Gen X ‘nomad’ can contrast sharply with the optimistic confidence of a millennial ‘hero’.
The Unspeakable By Neil Surkan Artwork by Peri Ren
This last time we sit together, she looks through me like a lake looks, gently, through a tree, wading dog, or helicopter, then pulls eggnog through a bendy straw, drifts off. Now I see why she’s given up words, their cruel, general pointing: how can this version still be called my grandmother? Names tear when stretched, cave, wash up splintered on the shore. My grandmother loved a me I can’t remembering being. Now she slips through an unspeakable storm – is that coming or going?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Neil Surkan is the author of On High (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2018) and Super, Natural (Anstruther Press, 2017). A PhD Candidate in English at the University of Calgary, he is the 2018-19 Writer-in-Residence in the Cumming School of Medicine.
Alberta #3 By Bradley Necyk Artwork by Alice Lu
n May 2017, I spent a week in the Mood and Anxiety Unit at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health conducting arts-based research. During my time in the unit, patients and I co-created art and I heard so many stories of illness, but also recovery. When I got home from that trip, I went manic. I have lived with Bipolar Affective Disorder for 13 years, and this was the most severe manic episode I had ever experienced. I took lots of field notes from the experience, as I realized I was in a
unique position —I was someone researching mania and recovery and was, also, someone manic and on a recovery journey. After I had recovered, I spent months collecting the field notes and finding throughlines to other experiences and collections of writing that had accumulated during my doctoral studies in psychiatry. In November 2017, I compiled all the notes into a performative narrative that would be read out loud. Below is a shortened version of the work that became Alberta #3.
* In May 2017, when I met Derek, I thought he worked at the hospital. He was very pleasant, well spoken, and approachable. I felt like I knew him, or had known him, like I would know him if I remembered hard enough. His glasses looked broken, and his ability to hold eye contact was spastic. In that moment, I cared deeply for him, like a brother. But there was a sense that maybe he was me —it’s something I don’t understand yet. THE MUSE
There was no hesitation in becoming close with Derek. We shared a madness experience, coarse and twisted, knotted, strung along a stretching expanse. It’s not just the physical genetic trace expressing from our genome, some still present common ancestor, but transitory: we are all there, somewhere untouched, but not always accessible.
"It's not just the physical genetic trace expressing from our genome" * In the winter of 2016, I was standing in front of my great-grandparents’ graves, reading to them about their daughter, in a land I haven’t been to before, and it was like a flash of lightning placed me both before and after, an intergenerational being, and I wondered who am I from and who am I to? I became present to my place in a vast line of parents who have all died, and that, somehow, I must learn how to die as a parent. * “Don’t forget Paraskevia (Smokey Lake) where your ancestors are buried,” reads a note attached to a picture taken in the 1990s in Smokey Lake, Alberta. The picture shows my father and THE MUSE
my paternal grandparents with their backs to the graves of my great-grandparents. I visited that site recently and the gravestone remains new —shiny black marble, etched with names and dates. The new stones were placed on the day of the photo, to replace the worn stones from their prior Ukrainian funeral, etched by wind and time. When I received this photograph, the note obscured all three figures, leaving only the surrounding space of the graveyard, a place at once familiar (I had seen this image, or one like it, before) and yet made strange by the effacement of paper and words: this is where your ancestors are buried. Watching my daughter’s hair lighten to a fair blonde, considering her crisp blue eyes, and seeing the ultrasound photographs of her malformed kidney, I couldn’t help but remember something: a woman I have never met until finding her nested in my daughter, my maternal grandmother. I never had any pull to her until I watched her son die, my daughter Ellie become ill, and the near miscarriage of my second daughter (Did my maternal grandmother ever miscarry?). I wanted to understand her at one point, and then, at another point, I didn’t want to understand her anymore. Instead, I am trying to understand myself, to make room in myself for this role as a father.
graph with the note on it, I never thought much of it. My aunt has always been eccentric, sending me odd notes, so I just put it to the side. However, for years, which included a move to a new house, I never removed it from my desk. It stayed piled amongst the ever-changing table of refuse, yet it was always there. In the winter of 2016, it brought me and my father to my paternal great-grandparents’ graves. On the first trip, we found our way to the “Necyk” farm, one that was sold over 70 years ago, and spoke to the current farmer. We spoke of the farm’s history and we could tell that the farmer cared deeply for this land. He took us on a drive through the fields. My father then spoke about how his grandmother had a miscarriage in these fields. It was in that moment that I experienced time both fast and slow. I haven’t been able to understand that yet.
My father asked if there was still a pile of rocks in the center of the farm. The farmer took us there. My father explained the farm that was assigned to my grandfather as he brought his family from Ukraine, and it was a field of rocks. It would take him years to clear the field, each year slowly revealing more land to farm. Seeing that sculpture of rocks struck me. I felt my great-grandfather’s labour, frustrations, and time. I could see why my grandfather never went into farming and instead became When I first received that photo- a school teacher.
Later, my father and I visited his mother’s parents’ graves. There was an area off from the grave site, deeper within trees, for unnamed (unbaptized) babies and people who had committed suicide. The graves were so worn you couldn’t read any of the names, and no one had replaced them, unlike my great-grandparents’ graves. I wondered if they were my relatives (With my disorder the statistical odds of me committing suicide are incredibly high). I walked up to the top of a small hill and, on that crisp winter day, I could see for miles. I saw the rail line that my ancestors would have come on from Ukraine. I saw a great many things that weren’t visible. In September of 2016, I began to think of my unknown grandmother. My maternal grandfather had been dead for years now and I still hadn’t cried for him. I wondered what my grandmother thought of his death. She would know about it because she is close to one of my cousins who would have told her. I wondered what their love looked like before they did all those tough things to each other. I thought more of Spedden, Alberta, the city I started writing about years ago. I promised myself that I would go there for the film and for myself to see this land, but slowly I started to see the relation between this place and the woman I would never meet. I wrote about both of them. I wrote about the deep sadness I felt trying to hold
all these things in my life together, and I could see how she was not able to. I think of my Bipolar diagnosis years ago (Would she have been diagnosed with the same?). People say that when they see Elliot, they see my mother. Last weekend, at my brother’s wedding, my cousin, the one that is in contact with my grandmother, said that my mother looked identical to her mother. There is a photograph of my 7-month-old mother sitting in a bath in the kitchen sink smiling. Her mother left a few months before. How did my grandfather take care of four children alone? His family lived in Saskatoon. Who helped him? I have no idea where his parents are buried. I imagine myself alone with my children. My daughter is now the age of my mother in that photograph. Would she smile at me without her mother? (Would I still be there?) This last month, my wife and I took Elliot off her daily antibiotic, which was meant to prevent infections from overtaking her kidneys. My mother had kidney problems. So did two of my cousins on my mother’s side. What else of you is nested in my daughters? Are you a good person?
I’m talking to a 5-year-old child named Holden as he swims in the outdoor pool where I have my feet cooling. He wants to know what I am writing. I say I am trying to remember something. He asks: “When did it happen?” I say, “A few months ago.” He asks: “Don’t you just remember?” I reply, “I am trying to.” *
"I wondered what that recovery would have been like if we could have been together. It was so lonely."
I went manic three-weeks after I left you. It was the worst episode of my life. I thought of you often during that month. I wondered what that recovery would have been like if we could have been together. It was so lonely. Remember when we went to the music room on that last day? I recorded your hands as you improvised on the piano. Your voice was captivating. That day you were returning down, slowing, and coming to realize all the things you had been through. It looked painful; you were losing control, but it was * part of your journey. It wasn’t until I broke that I was able to start In the summer of 2017, I am in putting all these experiences torural Pennsylvania writing about gether. you, thinking about you, being * with you, my Derek. Are you doing well? Are you still out there? I think of you, my daughters. How
many things I want to share with you, and how I won’t be what I am now, but will be an old man when that day comes. I am sitting on a small sofa bed in Greenwich Village, New York City, August 11, 2017, 11:46 pm, 33 years old, watching a documentary of Bob Dylan with my dad. This is the first time we share this experience together. He is 66. * In June of 2017, I don’t have distinct memories that I could record, other than that I took my pills, read a lot, and painted. On a Sunday, I woke up and went downstairs. Mary was crying, and I could tell Candace was exhausted from being up with the girls multiple times last night. I muttered with hate to her, “Why did we have kids?” Candace shut down and started to cry. Then, Elliot asked me for one of those small boxes of cereal that you could pour milk in and eat directly from. I tried to open it with my fingers, then a knife, but I couldn’t open it because I was crying too hard. Candace rushed me up to the bedroom. I continued to cry. Elliot came in and asked me what was wrong. Candace said I hurt my leg but that I would be okay. Elliot placed a stuffy in my hand. Candace left me to cry. We talked about many things, things that I don’t want to remember saying. Things no one should ever say. I don’t know how long I was there. THE MUSE
I heard Candace call my mom, herself crying, and ask for help. Soon, I heard them enter the front door. Candace came up and asked me if I wanted to kill myself, and I said I couldn't be left alone, as I cried. I fell asleep for many hours.
the rotation of the earth, the momentum around the sun, around the center of the galaxy, and of the pull of everything towards everything within the supercluster of galaxies we were within. I felt the void colder than cold. Dan and I still talked. I realized there is no place to escape, that I am stuck in this husk of flesh on a rocketing planet, in an indifferent universe. I wondered: Why am I not getting the ecstatic revelations, the communions with God that Derek got? Why is mine so meaningless and devoid of hope?
I awoke with Candace by me. She asked if I was okay. I felt drained yet somehow better. I told her I hated myself for what I said. It was Father’s Day and I couldn’t remember the faces of my children. My parents were watching them downstairs as Candace and I were on the bed upstairs. I couldn’t see anything anymore. All clarity was I found my dad sleeping in the car gone, and I was without affect. I in a parking lot. We came home, don’t remember the rest of the and I continued to paint. day, but I know I took my pills that night. * *
"He listened. I knew I wasn’t making complete sense, but he listened anyway." Sometime later, my dad drove me to the university to see a friend. I laid out several papers I wanted to write with him. He listened. I knew I wasn’t making complete sense, but he listened anyway. As we sat outside a hard rain hit and we rushed inside. We talked, but I was looking out the window. Did it always rain this hard? I became intensely aware of my body being pulled down onto our planet. I felt
I finally ate. My mind was fast, and I thought I was going to throw up. I was dizzy, not the kind that would make you fall, but a kind that unbalanced your soul. I told Candace about this, and she sent me to the pharmacy to fill my anti-psychotic medication. She suspected I was in a manic episode and I would have to slow myself down with drugs. When I entered the pharmacy, there were aisles and aisles of ordered and repeated objects of care: deodorant, toothpaste, tampons. As I walked through the aisle, my visual experience fell out of sync with reality —the standard seamlessness of my visual field, time itself, became a falsity, like a grand illusion. Walk-
ing down that aisle, time became a flat disc, where everything that was or would be rotated for infinity, and I would be in that aisle forever (I think I dreamt about this aisle before). Driving home, the sky opened, and the crisp blue prairie sky took a new vibrancy, and just then every generation of my ancestors looked at it too, and I became an intergenerational being —I made a kinship with everyone before me, and with all my children’s children’s children. We all shared that sky. * I took my medications and slept that night. I woke up and couldn't focus my eyes. I went downstairs and my family, my children, were not my own anymore. I thought back to Sunday, when I had wondered how many pills I would have to take to die. That is when Candace called my parents for help. They came, and I felt ashamed. My dad went into the garage to look at my paintings. He turned to me and cried and held me. I saw myself crying and holding an adult Elliot. I saw a thousand of my ancestors crying, but then I realized the physicality of my father's body.
He was becoming old. His control over the world, over his children, was waning. I felt so much sadness that he saw me this way. Then I had a vision of Elliot, and I was so scared when I would have to hold her like my father was holding me now. I told him I would get better.
dren’s children. I feel the world in pain, a geological pain. I feel eco-sickness as I breathed in the smoke from the forest fires in the north. I feel eco-anxieties as a rain hits, one that hits particularly hard, that pours over my gutters and breaks my ancient elm tree. What will their world be? How I finished the large painting. I saw could I have brought them into Derek. I saw his broken glasses, this? I feel intense guilt. how similar he and I looked, I felt the wear on his notebook and saw I think to 2046 when Elliot will be his gentleness and intellect. He my age now. She will have firstwas 12 years older than me and hand experience of a natural disashad been hospitalized six times ter. What impact will that have on before. I thought my life would be her psyche? Will these eco-traudifferent than his, but one month mas begin an epigenetic cascade after meeting him I was here, into a bipolar episode? Will I hold now, in this room, with these her like my father held me? pills, drinking them down, and thinking about how to kill myself. * I think to my ancestors, stretching back into the Holocene and before. What did their love look like? Had they had children with my disease? Had they grieved them? What was it like for them to hold their child? I think forward to my children, and their children, and their chil-
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bradley Necyk is a multimedia artist and writer in Canada, whose practice engages with issues of medicine, mental health, and precarious populations and subjects. His works include drawings and paintings, still and motion film, sculptures, 3D imaging and printing, virtual reality, and performance. Currently, he is a visiting artist-researcher at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto and is a PhD Candidate in Psychiatry at the University of Alberta. Bradley sits on the boards of several professional bodies and is a Scholar at the Integrative Health Institute at the University of Alberta. He has also taught Fine Arts at the University of Alberta and MacEwan University for the past seven years.
The Central Dogma of Humanity: From Gene unto Generations By Heba Khan Artwork by Grace Huang
The mutation in this gene repeats And replicates Over and over again Until it has won The war of natural selection, Been proven to be the fittest trait In the race of survival and yet, I can see the fate Unfold from this denatured belief That relief from grief Is a treat, only the mutated reap And that selflessness and altruism Are misnomers and not synonyms For a way of life, we have evolved to live. This mutation has been transcribed From gene unto generation, Imbibed in our values, That value only ourselves, And selflessness it seems, Was selected against, While altruism, in its place Deems we may have kindness hidden in the seams of our hardcover spines And please do remind Me, do you remember why We've become so blind With this mutated insanity In this human race against humanity
This mutation has translated Over generations, Into the loss of the educated Into ignorance and it is estimated That sometime in the future, The selfless will become extinct That in the battle of nurture and nature To be selfish has become human instinct The time has come to remove the suture From our minds, succinct And open them to be more than the consumers We have been taught to distinctly exist as The time has come to reclaim the lost proteins in this process of translation The time has come to undo the damage in the gene and save our mutated generation
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I am a third year Kinesiology student who thoroughly enjoys writing. I especially enjoy writing about the sciences, because it allows me to combine my passions. In the future, I aspire to work in the field of health care.
forever time By Katie Ann Lee
Artwork by Lyan Abdul
the thought of time passing scares me. the blink of an eye, the flick of a pen, look away for what seems like a second and everything, everything, from the colour of the sky to the sound of the wind to the feeling of the sun on my skin is different, is new. the solution is ours, is order. arbitrary beginnings and ends; these are seconds, and hours, and days, and years of books and discoveries and people grouped in forever time. I am told that we are the iGen, X, Y, Z marks the spot where the world can be held by human hands in the form of a swipe and a tap and a Click to purchase, Click to select, But most importantly, Click to know and be known. We share our data, and our thoughts, and ourselves, How much of our world is contained within the www, and it within us. Yet very much still, a generation of Individuals, as all those before. Always people, always time. So, whether baby, or child, or glossy-eyed teen, Or all those who raised them, whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve grown and whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve seen. We are people and people, and big picture minds, That press and progress Forward in grand, forever time. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Katie Ann Lee is an undergraduate nursing student, who has always loved creative writing. She has drawn a particular interest to poetry as it offers the writer so much freedom in terms of structure, making it feel like a train of thought or stream of consciousness. She writes poems to explore and reflect on her ideas of the world, herself, and the people in it.
Connections By Heather Zhao
This multi-medium, acrylic and sharpie on canvas, aims to capture the collectivist culture integrated in immigrant Eastern-Asian families. The connected lines for faces symbolize that a part of our ancestors is integrated with our physical identity. This shows us that a face can tell thousands of stories about our origins. It also shows that every patient background is unique as represented by their individualistic faces and that each physician should treat them as such. ABOUT THE ARTIST: Heather is a third-year Health Sciences Student who likes to paint in her spare time. She is interested in cultural approaches to health and explores some of these ideas through her artwork.
Events Creating Space VIII Conference
The Bigger Picture This semester, The Muse hosted its inaugural mental health workshop and exhibit, The Bigger Picture: Addressing Mental Health. The event showcased dozens of students’ artwork and poetry, and continued conversations of mental health through a guided activity that allowed students to develop their own artistic creations. Check out some photos from the event on The Muse Facebook page!
For Better or Verse This past fall, The Muse and McMaster Unspoken collaborated to present “For Better or Verse,” an evening of spoken word performances and artistic showcases! The event served to celebrate the medical humanities, allowing artists to share stories relating to health and well-being. The night was memorable for artists and the audience alike. While the refreshments were surely sweet, the stories shared were much more filling to the heart. Poets included McMaster students, alumni, and special guest, Fira Astrali. Additionally, poems and artwork were featured around the room. To wrap up the night, an “open mic” provided an opportunity for the audience to share their own words, as well. Spoken word is just one of many mediums we may use to share and understand the medical humanities! Stay tuned for other events to not only enjoy, but learn from.
The Muse Recommends Hannah History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Series: The Hannah History of Medicine and Medical Humanities Series is an annual series of talks and workshops that spotlights medical humanities with an interdisciplinary perspective. All are welcome to attend. Creating Space IX (CSIX) – The Canadian Association For Health Humanities (CAHH): Creating Space Conference, the annual meeting of the CAHH, seeks to include scholars, educators, artists and practitioners whose work involves the health humanities and gives further insight on the interdisciplinary nature of healthcare. The Muse presented at the Creating Space VIII conference in Halifax in 2018. THE MUSE
EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Katherine Kim Nikki Wong
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