Archive for the ‘Health’ Category


How does your garden grow?

June 23, 2009
We have one, little, purple pepper sprouting!

A tiny, purple pepper from the Indiana Humanities Council's victory garden.

It’s amazing how much better fresh vegetables taste when you’ve grown them in your own backyard.  You understand the work that went into planting and tending them; you’ve tracked their growth and development like you would a small child, counting down the days until you can pluck them from the Earth and place them in a salad bowl.

I haven’t always felt that way. When I was younger, I was my dad’s designated garden helper. I loved working outside, but not in the weedy, hot, buggy garden. I despised weeding around bean plants and hated breaking them and taking the ends off even more. I convinced myself not to like green beans so that I wouldn’t have to pick them. It didn’t work. But I still went through childhood hating plenty of veggies.

Then, in my twenties, something radical happened. I started to try vegetables I gave up on years ago, and—walla!—I actually liked them. It turned out that I loved spinach, I could tolerate broccoli, and, yes, I even found out how to enjoy steamed green beans.

I became a gardener at home (by my own free will), and this year, a gardener at work (check out pictures of our garden, here), which exposed me to an even larger assortment of vegetables. I had gone 26 years without eating a fresh radish and I spent 26 years removing radishes from salads and avoiding them on assorted vegetable trays. I had never eaten kale, or swiss chard; never picked snap peas off a plant and ate them while standing in the garden. And in one month, I’ve know done them all.

Gardening has provided me with delicious and healthy food, but also a way to connect with my dad, my co-workers, and my fellow gardeners at the Mayor’s Garden Plots. It spurs conversation, reduces my reliance on commercialized vegetables and makes me feel better about myself and my community.

How does your garden contribute to your own personal growth?


Literature and medicine go hand in hand

June 1, 2009

Written by Emily Beckman, assistant scholar for the Medical Humanities/Health Studies Program at IUPUI.

Healthcare workers including physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and others need exposure to and involvement in the humanities.  Literature provides opportunities for exploration which most of us would not experience in real life, exercising our moral imaginations.  Great novels and short stories take us to far away places to meet people very different than ourselves.  Literature expands our imaginations, enabling us to better relate to and empathize with others whose experiences are very different from our own. 

Together with the Indiana Humanities Council and the Medical Humanities-Health Studies Program, IUPUI, St. Vincent Hospital has joined other U.S. hospitals and health care facilities in hosting a Literature and Medicine:  Humanities at the Heart of Indiana Health Care program.  Each of six seminars provides an innovative humanities reading and discussion program for health care providers that encourage them to connect the world of science with the world of lived experience.  The discussion group will meet bi-weekly this summer at St. Vincent Hospital, taking humanities into the heart of the workplace, directly affecting the way in which work is performed, and quite literally integrating the humanities with health care.  The seminar gives participants an opportunity to reflect on their professional roles and relationships through the lens of literature, and to have the opportunity to share their reflections with their colleagues in health care. The selected readings in the Indiana Lit and Med Program supply rich accounts of the illness experience from varying perspectives. 

If healthcare workers are able to relate to patients and other healthcare workers on a more empathetic, and humane level, not only will healthcare institutions become more humane places of healing, but communities at large will benefit as well.

For more information, visit


I’m Back and Welcoming a New Hoosierati Blogger

November 4, 2008

Well, after two weeks out of state and then two more weeks out of my mind I’m finally settling back into the routine and hope to be back over here blogging more regularly. The election being over sometime tonight/early tomorrow morning will be a huge help. It would be a horrible understatement to say that I’ve been “distracted” by the events culminating today.

But enough about me; I have great Hoosierati/IHC news.

It is my hope for this blog, among other things, that we can get some actual humanists in here blogging in addition to me. Not that I am not a humanist of some degree but actual practitioners–people out there doing the work of the public humanities. That’s the kind of information I think the IHC should be in the business of spreading around because I think that’s the kind of information I think you want to read.

Which is why I am delighted to say that two local radio shows coming off WICR (on the campus of the University of Indianapolis) will be popping up here occassionally to share some things with us. One of the two shows is Hoosier History Live, hosted by historian Nelson Price (also an author and “connoisseur of all things Hoosier”).

The other show is Too Many Cooks, “a whimsical yet informative public radio program about cooking, cuisine, and entertainment featuring the Midwest’s consummate food journalist Patti Denton, and the international Gala Award winning special events designer Gary Bravard.”

So there you have it, not only is the IHC now officially a “group blog” and all that entails, but its on the verge of going multimedia! You have been warned.These are indeed, my friends, exciting times.