Karen Gold, PhD

Karen Gold

Karen Gold is a narrative-based medicine (NBM) practitioner with 25 years’ experience as a clinical social worker and hospital educator. Her PhD research on clinician writing and the role of narrative in healthcare introduced her to a rich collection of poems, essays and personal narratives written by healthcare providers. She was inspired to follow up her studies with narrative medicine workshops at Columbia University and certification as a creative writing facilitator.

She has been facilitating writing groups for clinicians, trainees, and others for over 10 years. In the narrative-based medicine world she is particularly interested in themes of writing to promote resiliency, memoirs of illness and disability and relational poetry. Her work has been published in journals and anthologies, including a recent reflective essay on poet Mary Oliver.

Damian Tarnopolsky, PhD

Damian Tarnopolsky

Damian Tarnopolsky, Ph.D., is Writer-in-Residence with the Health, Arts, and Humanities Program at the University of Toronto and has taught courses in narrative-based medicine at the Centre for Faculty Development, Massey College, and the Writing as Craft virtual retreat. He started A Rooster for Asclepius: The Toronto Health Humanities Writing Group, and now leads its digital reincarnation, “Plums in the Icebox: Writing for Health Practitioners” with co-founder Dr. Shane Neilson.

A novelist, short story writer and playwright, Damian Tarnopolsky has been nominated for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, the Journey Prize, and the CBC Literary Award, among others, and his play The Defence won the 2019 Voaden Prize. His essays and reviews have appeared in The Walrus, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Review of Books, Reader’s Digest and elsewhere, and he owns and operates Slingsby and Dixon, an editing company that works with fiction writers, businesses, and academic institutions.

Guest Faculty

Ronna Bloom, M.Ed C. Psych

Ronna Bloom

Ronna Bloom is a teacher and the author of six books of poetry. Her most recent book, The More (Pedlar Press, 2017) was longlisted for the City of Toronto Book Award. Her poems have been recorded by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, translated into Spanish, Bangla, and Chinese and have been used in the work of architects, filmmakers, doctors, academics, and spiritual leaders. Ronna has been the Poet in Community to the University of Toronto since 2008 and is currently also the Poet in Residence in the Health, Arts and Humanities Program at U of T. In these roles, she offers students and health care professionals opportunities to articulate their experiences through poetry and reflective writing. She brings 25 years of experience as a psychotherapist to her work as a teacher and facilitator. Her Spontaneous Poetry Booths and RX for Poetry have appeared in hospital waiting rooms, bookstores, fundraisers and arts events in Canada and abroad. www.ronnabloom.com

Jillian Horton, MD

Jillian Horton, MD, is an award-winning medical educator, writer, musician and podcaster. She completed a residency and a fellowship in internal medicine at the University of Toronto and has held posts as an associate dean and associate head of internal medicine. For sixteen years, she has cared for thousands of patients in an inner-city hospital. During that time, she had three sons and mentored hundreds of students. Horton now leads the development of new programs related to physician wellness, and won the 2020 AFMC–Gold Foundation Humanism award. As a teacher of mindfulness, she is sought after by doctors at all stages of their careers. Long before she was a physician, Horton was a promising writer. She completed a master’s in English at the University of Western Ontario before beginning her journey into the heart of medicine.

Allan Peterkin, MD

Allan Peterkin

Allan Peterkin is a full Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at the University of Toronto, where he heads the Program In Health, Arts and Humanities and serves as Humanities Faculty Lead in both Undergraduate Medical Education and Post-MD Education.

He is the author of 15 books for adults on medical humanities, cultural history ,narrative medicine, human sexuality and physician wellness including “Staying Human During Residency Training-How To Survive and Thrive After Medical School” (now in its sixth North American edition and a first UK edition).

His recent textbooks in the medical humanities include “Portfolio To Go: 1000 Writing Prompts and Provocations for Clinical Learners” (University of Toronto Press), “Keeping Reflection Fresh : A Practical Guide For Clinical Educators” (Kent State Press) and “Health Humanities In Postgraduate Education : A Handbook To The Heart of Medicine” (Oxford University Press). He has published 4 picture books for children , including “The Flyaway Blanket” ( Magination Press) and National Geographic “Kids’ Dream Journal” .

Dr. Peterkin is a founding editor of ARS MEDICA: A Journal of Medicine, The Arts and Humanities and has been a humanities editor with the CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) and Medical Humanities (BMJ). He sits on advisory boards with the International Health Humanities Network, AMH (The Association of Medical Humanities-UK) and was a co-founder of CREATING SPACE (Canada’s annual, national health humanities conference.)

He was also instrumental in founding the Canadian Association For Health Humanities

Michael Roberts, MD, FCFP

Michael Roberts

Michael Roberts, is an Assistant Professor, Health and Humanities Lead and Professional Development Coordinator in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. An Innovator and Medical Education Scholar in the use of reading and writing to encourage reflection and resilience, Dr. Roberts has facilitated Narrative Medicine training through Faculty Development locally and nationally within the field of Family Medicine. He is co-author with Dr. Allan Peterkin, “Narrative Means to Professional Ends: New Strategies for Teaching CanMeds in Canadian Medical Schools” (CFP 2012). Dr. Roberts was recently recognized for his contributions to Mentorship, Scholarship and Curriculum Development as a recipient of the Award of Excellence from the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Jane Zhao, MSc

Jane Zhao

Jane Zhao is a lover of comics because when she has no brain or patience for words, she escapes into image. She is a graduate of the Masters in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University and studied neuroscience at McGill University. She currently works as a health services researcher in Toronto, Canada. She is the co-facilitator of the Mixed-Media & Medicine (MMM) group and former co-founder of the Graphic Medicine Reading Workshop through the Health, Arts and Humanities program at the University of Toronto. Talk to her about poetry, Donna Haraway, health policy, and muscle pain.

Faculty Disclosure

It is the policy of University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine, Continuing Professional Development to ensure balance, independence, objectivity, and scientific rigor in all its individually accredited or jointly accredited educational programs. Speakers and/or planning committee members, participating in University of Toronto accredited programs, are expected to disclose to the program audience any real or apparent conflict(s) of interest that may have a direct bearing on the subject matter of the continuing education program. This pertains to relationships within the last FIVE (5) years with pharmaceutical companies, biomedical device manufacturers, or other corporations whose products or services are related to the subject matter of the presentation topic. The intent of this policy is not to prevent a speaker with a potential conflict of interest from making a presentation. It is merely intended that any potential conflict should be identified openly so that the listeners may form their own judgments about the presentation with the full disclosure of facts. It remains for the audience to determine whether the speaker’s outside interests may reflect a possible bias in either the exposition or the conclusions presented.