Cross-Pollinations: Canadian Health Humanities Virtual Rounds Series

The HARC is excited to be supporting Cross-Pollinations: Canadian Health Humanities Virtual Rounds Series. Cross-Pollinations is an exciting series that will connect the perspectives of health, humanities and the arts in new ways, combining artistic expression with health practice and research. The conversations of Cross-Pollinations will illuminate new and emerging insights and perspectives about health care opportunities and challenges, health care approaches and advances, as well as build connections between health professionals, humanities and the arts. To access a description and a hyperlink to all of the recordings, please visit the following link. This one-credit-per-hour Group Learning program has been certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada for up to 12  Mainpro+® credits.

To register for all Cross Pollinations events, please visit this link.

The following information can also be found on the League of Canadian Poets website.

Sign up for all events in the CAHH Series here and receive a reminder for each event 


Next Event



Past Events

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Cross-Pollinations will feature poet Sandra Huber and health humanities scholar Amala Poli. Sandra will read from her book “Assembling the Morrow: A Poetics of Sleep” (Talonbooks, 2014), which is a poetic and scientific exploration of sleep. Meanwhile, Amala Poli will present on her doctoral research on sleep paralysis in the context of the modern sleep crisis and its possibilities for a health humanities intervention.

Sandra Huber is a writer, researcher, and educator. She has a PhD in Interdisciplinary Humanities from Concordia University, where she focused on the media and techniques of contemporary witchcraft. She wrote Assembling the Morrow: A Poetics of Sleep (Talonbooks, 2014), based on a collaboration with sleep scientists in Lausanne. Sandra currently lives in Tio’tia’ke / Montreal and is trying to find more time for fresh air, astrology, cats, and sunsets.

Amala Poli is currently a doctoral candidate in the English department at Western University. Her research examines narrative as a form of evidence for sleep paralysis through a health humanities perspective. She is a writer for Synapsis, an online health humanities journal, and the author of Writing the Self in Illness (Manipal Universal Press, 2019) on life writing and how it reshapes knowledge about disease.

March 29, 2023: Ashley Kilabuk-Savard and Dr. Allison Crawford. View the recording.


February 22, 2023: Kyla Jamieson and Sadiqa de Meijer View the recording

November 23, 2022 Kung Jaadee and Lisa Striegler View the recording

October 26, 2022: Malika Sharma and Rebecca Salazar. View the recording

August 31, 2022: Dr. Ted Jablonsky and poet Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch.  View the recording.

June 29, 2022 – Christine Anonuevo and Jennifer Wickham. Christine Anonuevo presented information about her current research project that focuses on the health of racialized womxn in northern geographies and Jen shared place-based poetry as an embodiment of Wet’suwet’en ways of knowing and being. View the recording.

March 30, 2022 – Dr. Mary Pat Sullivan and Martha Gould. The Rare Dementia Support (RDS) Impact Study is a five-year research study funded by the Economic & Social Research Council and National Institute for Health Research (UK). This work is a collaboration between Nipissing University in North Bay, University College London (UCL) in England, and Bangor University in Wales and led by Professor Sebastian Crutch at the Dementia Research Centre, UCL. It is the first major study of its kind to learn more about the support needs and care preferences of people affected by a rare or young onset dementia. This research includes the exploration of the use of poetry as a methodological tool to: (i) empirically and theoretically understand the experiences of people affected by rare or young onset dementia across different stages of dementia; and (ii) assess the potential of poetry to engage the public and raise awareness about different forms of dementia, other than Alzheimer’s disease, that are more likely to be diagnosed in younger people.

February 23, 2022 – Poetry & Medicine: Developmental Stages with S.K. Hughes and Shane Neilson. In this presentation, S.K. Hughes, a practising family physician, reads poems that are in relation to her identity and medical training. Shane Neilson reads parts of a lyric essay that explores what thinking poetically meant and continues to mean at different stages of his medical career. The format alternates such that Dr. Hughes reads poems pertaining to a particular stage of training and Dr. Neilson reads lyric fragments that explore what being a poet even meant then in his corresponding (but not commensurate) medical context.

January 26, 2022 —Artist in Residence programs at medical schools. Poet Andrea Thompson opens this event with a powerful set of poems, before joined by Monica Kidd (MD) and Pam Hall (visual artist, former artist in residence at Memorial University). Monica shares the case study of the Memorial experience in a pre-recorded conversation with two other people who facilitated it: then-dean of the medical school, Dr. Ian Bowmer, and Patricia Grattan, former director of the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador. Recording coming soon.

December 29, 2021 – A recorded poetry reading with Leanne Dunic, Fiona Tinwei Lam, and Armand Garnet Ruffo. In this hour-long video, each poet shares beautiful, vulnerable, and intimate work that embraces, rails against, and coexists with illness, medicine, and healing. We hope during these strange final days of 2021, you can find a moment to sit with these poets’ generous readings and reflect on your own relationship with health, healing, and art.

November 24, 2021 – Poetry, Poetics and Experiential Knowledge of Disability: In this conversational exchange, poet and professor Emilia Nielsen and poet and multimedia artist Tea Gerbeza explore the many ways disability shows up in life, art, and writing. Reflecting on the impetus for their own critical and creative work in disability studies and crip theory as well as the many questions that remain unanswered where the representation and reality of disability is concerned, Nielsen and Gerbeza urge for a rethinking of disability poetry so that it might include fierce love, pleasure and even joy all while unpacking ableism and ableist common sense logics. Here, the poetry and poetics of disability aspire to be as disruptive and unruly as the bodies and minds from which the work emerges.

October 27, 2021 The Poetics of Psychosis: In a close reading of Khashayar Mohammadi’s poetry, Mohammadi and poet-physician Bahar Orang engage in discussion around language, consciousness, and being. From the creative freedom of psychosis to the medical and societal rejection of psychotic individuals, this discussion spanned personal, professional, creative, and existential experiences of psychosis from its manifestation in the body to the nuances of its language.

September 29th, 2021–  A presentation from Hsien Seowh of McMaster University, discussing the health care podcast The Waiting Room Revolution. Hsien Seow, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Oncology, McMaster University and the Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care and Health System Innovation. His interests are to improve the experience of facing serious illness for patients and families. Funded research focuses on provider education, home care interventions, and patient-family experience. He earned a PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and a BSc from Yale University. His research website is He is the co-host of the popular health care podcast The Waiting Room Revolution, a public facing education about a re-imagining of palliative care, with a new season launching in September 2021.  Hsien Seow was joined by poet and anesthesiologist Conor McDonnell for a rich, 90-minute discussion encompassing poetry, care, language, communication, and how each of these things influences life, medicine, and art

August 25, 2021Narrative Medicine: Exploring our personal experiences along with interactive narrative exercises as medical students and physicians with Narrative Medicine as a tool for self-reflection and community building. Originally developed by Rita Charon from Columbia University, Narrative Medicine invites us to turn to the humanities to guide the way we think about our medical practice and interactions. Finding ways to connect and share human experiences has been especially critical during the pandemic, and these virtual sessions have grown into spaces to share stories of burnout, professional identity, and healing. This event featured a presentation from Zamina Mithani, Nancy Duan, and Karen Wang of the University of British Columbia, with a reading from poet Conyer Clayton.

June 30, 2021-Literary Lessons on Doctoring: Maryam Golafshani presented “Literary Lessons on Doctoring.” Maryam, now half way through medical school, reflects back upon her own literary education and experience with mental illness to try to fill in the gaps of all medical school has failed to teach her: what it means to care for another, to come close to suffering, and where to find beauty amidst it all. Maryam was joined by poet, Jody Chan, author of the Trillium Award-winning collection sick. Jody is a writer, drummer, organizer, and therapist based in Toronto. They are the author of haunt (Damaged Goods Press), all our futures (PANK), and sick, winner of the 2018 St. Lawrence Book Award and the Trillium Poetry Award. They can be found online at and offline in bookstores or dog parks.Maryam (she/her) is a mad—in both senses—medical student by way of previous degrees in English literature and critical theory. She lives as a settler in Tkaronto with her grumpy senior calico cat named Pepper. Maryam is considering training further in psychiatry, mostly because she’s so critical of it. Broadly, her research and writing explores what medicine is and does discursively, phenomenologically, and politically—and how it should change.

May 26, 2021Let’s Talk About Art Therapy!: Jessika Welch took participants through the benefits, misconceptions and the various populations that art therapists can work with, both clinical and non-clinical. Medical Art Therapy will be briefly explored as well as externalization from a narrative based approach. Resources on free and accessible brief Art Therapy will be shared and questions are welcome! After our presentation on art therapy, poet, registered psychotherapist and author Ronna Bloom will join our presentation for a spontaneous poem and thoughts on her multi-faceted work. Ronna Bloom, poet, registered psychotherapist and author will joined the presentation to provide spontaneous poetry and thoughts on this multi-faceted work.


April 28, 2021- Party Like It’s 1699: The Political Economy of Medical Education in an Era of “Societal Needs”: Canadian medical education currently finds itself governed by competency-based frameworks based around societal needs. But whose “societal needs” are at the heart of these frameworks? Using an approach of critical discourse analysis, this talk examined the Professional Role of CanMEDS, the discursive construction of “societal needs”, and consider what effects this elaboration may have for the learners, the medical education field, and society writ large. After an informative presentation by Brett Schrewe, Kate Marshall Flaherty performed a spontaneous poem, and shared some of her own work and perspective on health, healing and recovery.


March 3, 2021-Jen Sebring’s presentation will explore the emerging scholarship of “sickness” as a critical methodology, and how it might be useful in humanizing medical care for those living with chronic illness or disability. Rooted in feminist theory and disability studies, sickness as a methodology considers not only the embodied, felt experience of living with illness, but also the politics of navigating healthcare as a body that biomedicine cannot “fix.” Jen draws on lived experiences of chronic illness and disability, including that from their own life, to propose a methodological framework that privileges care over cure, and counters conventional understandings of health and wellness. Poet Lauren Turner will provide a poetic reading and reflection for attendees. Jennifer Hammond Sebring (Jen Sebring) is a Master of Science student in the Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba. Jen is an artist-activist-scholar whose work engages narratives of illness and social studies of medicine through a feminist lens. They have publications in Crossings (2019), Marvels & Tales (2020), and Still Living the Edges: A Disabled Women’s Reader (Inanna 2021). They currently work as a research assistant on the SSHRC-funded project, Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology and Access to Life. Their thesis looks at the effects of repeated healthcare encounters experienced by women and gender-diverse people living with chronic illness. Jen’s research is supported by Research Manitoba, and they are a Sex-and-Gender Science Trainee through CIHR’s Institute of Gender and Health. They hold an Honours BA in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Winnipeg. Lauren Turner is a disabled poet and essayist. Her chapbook, We’re Not Going to Do Better Next Time, was published by knife | fork | book in March 2018, and her full-length debut, The Only Card in a Deck of Knives, came out with Wolsak & Wynn in August 2020. Her work has appeared in Grain, Arc Magazine, PRISM International, Poetry is Dead, Cosmonauts Avenue, The Maynard, The Puritan, BAD NUDES, canthius, and elsewhere. She won the 2018 Short Grain Contest, was a finalist for carte blanche’s 2017 3Macs Prize, and made the longlist for Room Magazine’s 2019 creative non-fiction contest. Originally from Ottawa, she lives in Tiohtiá:ke/Montréal on the unceded land of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation.


January 27, 2021- Launch Event: The launch event featured the talented poets Ronna Bloom, Charlie Petch and Ron Charach. The launch event took place on January 27, 2021 at 6PM EST via Zoom to kick off the Virtual Rounds series.