Literature & Medicine® is a nationally recognized humanities-based professional development program for health care workers, that engages clinical staff members in reading and discussion programs facilitated by humanities scholars. Through reading, reflection, and conversation, the program invites care-givers to better understand and empathize with the experience of their patients, as well as their peers. Long-term program evaluation provides strong evidence that the program increases job satisfaction, lessens burnout, improves communications skills, and builds “cultural competency” among participants, all towards the desired end of improving the quality of health care for patients.
California Humanities has implemented the program in Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Centers in California since 2010 under a licensing agreement with the Maine Humanities Council, which developed and manages the program across the nation (25 Councils participate). We are currently offering the program at VA hospitals in Fresno, Palo Alto, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco and plan to expand to other health care facilities soon.