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Pam Ressler Presenting "Creating Haiku for Healing, Health and Change" at Medicine X at Stanford University

For my West Coast friends, I hope you will be able to join me at Medicine X Change at Stanford University.

Creating Haiku for Healing, Health, and Change 

Learning Objectives: 

1 Explore the connection between poetry and healing

2 Create micro poetry in the form of haiku

3 Discuss how co-creation of haiku facilitates empathy in healthcare

The problem: Our healthcare system is based on disconnection. For patients, they are swept into this disconnected world with a new or changing diagnosis, an unfamiliar landscape that is disparate from the life they have lived. For clinicians, they are thrust into a system that focuses on fixing body parts that have failed, and a sense of disconnection from the suffering that they observe daily. Current healthcare is grounded in fixing but not adept at healing. The chasm of disconnection further widens when we separate ourselves from the experience of simply being human. 

What the audience will learn: In this 90 minute collaborative workshop participants will join together with our everyone included team of nurse researcher, physician and e-patient to bridge the chasm and build community through co-creation of haiku. Why haiku? Haiku are poems structured in form and simplicity, accessible to many ages and literacy levels. They invite observation, thoughts and emotions that are grounded in the present. Haiku are micro poems that can be said in one breath yet profoundly express many aspects of the human experience. They invite connection around ambiguity. Physician and poet, Rafael Campo states, “I think of poetry as a kind of primary care. It’s so based on the experience of community, of joining together”. Each January for the past several years, team member, Pam Ressler, has issued an online daily haiku challenge through her blog and on Twitter. Amazing connections have happened through sharing of haiku in this way. Individuals have participated from throughout the world, including early participants, Brian Stork and Britta Bloomquist. We have all experienced healing and understanding in the 21 syllables we create. Our team will teach others to create, share, connect and change ourselves with haiku. 

PPI/Co-production plan: This workshop is based on creating, collaborating and sharing with multiple stakeholders. Workshop participants will be encouraged to build community around co-creation of haiku for healing, health and change.

About the teachers:

Pamela Ressler, MS, RN is an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in the Pain, Research, Education and Policy Program and the founder of Stress Resources. Her work with connection, mindfulness and resilience informs her research and her life. Her haiku and photos can be found at

Britta Bloomquist is an ePatient from Duluth, Minnesota. She holds a B.S. in mass communications with a minor in health. She has lived with health issues for over 20 years, including, but not limited to, Ankylosing Spondylitis and mental health ailments. Britta has found writing to be healing as she has struggled with major traumas in her life and chronic illness. She enjoys journaling and blogging.

Brian Stork, MD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urology at the University of Michigan. His current area of research interests is the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) on physician mental health and behavior. He is also a children’s book author and beekeeper. His physician and patient blogs can be found at

Earlier Event: September 13
Meditation Maintenance
Later Event: October 2
Group MBSR Begins