The Examined Life Conference: Writing, Humanities and the Art of Medicine

April 11 to 13, 2011 at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA

Logo: Examined Life Conference: Writing and the Art of Medicine Logo: Examined Life Conference: Writing and the Art of Medicine
  •  The University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine will host our eighth annual three-day conference focusing on the links between the science of medicine and the art of writing. 

    Featured Presenters

    These events are free and open to the public. To participate fully, we recommend that you register for the conference.

    • Andrew SolomonAndrew Solomon

      Andrew Solomon is a writer and lecturer on politics, culture and psychology.  Solomon’s newest book, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, published on November 13, 2012, won the National Book Critics Circle award for nonfiction; the J. Anthony Lukas award; the Anisfield-Wolf Award; the Books for a Better Life Award; Yale University’s Research Advocacy Award; the GRASP Friend and Benefactor award; the Fountain House Humanitarian Award; the Mike Wallace Award of the University of Michigan; the Columbia Gray Matters Award; and the Distinguished Achievement Award in Nonfiction of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. Read more at

    • Louise AronsonLouise Aronson

      Louise Aronson is a geriatrician, writer, medical educator and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). She received her MD from Harvard Medical School and her MFA from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. Currently she holds an Arnold P. Gold Foundation professorship for humanism in medicine and directs the Northern California Geriatrics Education Center, the UCSF reflective learning curriculum, and UCSF Medical Humanities. Her scholarly work focuses on reflective writing and public medical communication. She has received the California Homecare Physician of the Year award, a Geriatric Academic Career Award, the Cooke Award for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, the Lieberman Scholar Award, the AOA Edward D. Harris Professionalism Award, and numerous awards for her literary writing. Her work has appeared in literary and medical journals and in the lay press, including the New York Times, Narrative Magazine, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the Bellevue Literary Review. Her first book, A History of the Present Illness, was published by Bloomsbury in 2013. Read more at

    • Hedy WaldHedy Wald

      Hedy S. Wald, PhD is a Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University where she oversees the reflective writing curriculum in the Family Medicine Clerkship and conducts faculty development. She served as a Fulbright Scholar (medical education) in Israel and is a Gold Humanism Foundation Harvard-Macy Scholar. Frameworks for assessing reflection and for guiding faculty feedback to students' reflective writing which Dr. Wald helped develop are currently in use within health professions education in the US, England, Israel, Canada, Spain, Ireland, Australia, Austria, Lebanon, and Taiwan. She conducts interprofessional faculty development workshops internationally on the use of interactive reflective writing in fostering reflective capacity and professional identity formation in health professions education and her research on this topic has appeared in numerous academic journals. Her comments on interactive reflective writing in health professions education have been cited in the Wall Street Journal, LA Times, and Chicago Tribune. Dr. Wald has co-authored chapters on fostering reflection to enhance interprofessional education, using abstract art and narrative to promote reflection in health professional education, and on Holocaust and Medicine as a medical education agenda. Her creative writing, reviews, and poetry have appeared in Newsweek, The Lancet, Family Medicine, Ars Medica, Chest, the Humanizing Medicine blog of the Gold Humanism Foundation, and JAMA.  Her JAMA essay "In the Here and Now" about coping with her father's Alzheimer's' dementia was cited as an "excellent essay in eldercare" by the NY Times. A mother of four and grandmother of two, she enjoys long-distance bicycling, swimming, and creative writing.

    The University of Iowa is among the nation’s premier centers for creative writing, and its programs attract writers from all over the world. A dozen Pulitzer Prize-winners, numerous National Book Award recipients, and four recent US Poet Laureates have attended the University of Iowa. The University is home to the International Writing Program, the Nonfiction Writing Program, the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and the Iowa Review. It is also home to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the first creative writing degree program in the United States, and the model for contemporary writing programs.  Iowa City itself is a UNESCO City of Literature.

    Purpose and Objectives

    The program seeks to encourage healthcare professionals, medical educators, patients and their family members to define methods for incorporating writing and humanities into medical education, patient care, and/or professional development schemes;  identify the role that humanities activities can play in such activities; identify avenues to pursue that can improve their creative or reflective writing; describe and utilize the mechanics of writing for publication.  These objectives are intended to improve practice by giving healthcare professionals and medical educators tools to enhance their understanding: of patients' needs; the ethical, emotional, and psychological requirements of their professions; methods that can be used to increase the well-being and communication skills of medical learners, healthcare providers, and patients; and knowledge of publication practices.

    Join the email list and stay up to date

    We use our email list sparingly, generally to update you on the progress we're making toward the coming year's conference.  It's basically the list of people who get first notice of the call for presentations and the opening of registration.  Look for the signup box at the top of every page.

  •  Our sponsors help keep the conversation going.

    You can help by sponsoring at one of these levels:

    • Your logo on our conference bags: $500*
    • A 1/4 page ad in our professionally printed programs: $100 to $150
    • Your item inserted into our conference bags: $100
    • Your logo and a link to your website on our site: $50**
    • Sponsor a specific attendee or presenter: $255.

    To find out more, contact David Etler at 319.335.8058, or become a sponsor now.

    *This option must be arranged prior to one month before the conference.

    **Link and logo will remain on the site from the date your sponsorship begins until the conference date after the upcoming conference date--more than a year, in other words!