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Texas Health Dallas Conference Explores Healing Power of Literature in Medicine

DALLAS — The 4th annual Literature and Medicine Conference at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas offers physicians, scholars and authors an opportunity to take a deeper look at the connection between literary understanding and expression and the care of patients. This year’s events will feature two prominent figures of the literary world: award-winning poet Rafael Campo, M.D., and best-selling author John M. Barry.

“This conference allows us to explore the intersection of compassion and science at the bedside and how the written word can influence healing hands,” said Dr. John Harper, holder of the Ewton Chair in Cardiology at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and the Literature and Medicine program director. “Through literature we gain a better understanding of the human condition and can discover ways to connect with our patients on a deeper level using our healing words as well.”

Due to the overwhelming success of last year’s event, a poetry session was added to this year’s Literature and Medicine Conference.

“There was a desire by past attendees to focus on how poetry can also be used as a vehicle to bring together compassion and science at the bedside,” Harper said.

The poetry workshop, co-sponsored by the Southern Methodist University English Department, is scheduled for Sept. 19 and will feature Dr. Rafael Campo. The event will be held on the SMU campus at the Meadows Museum. Later that evening, Campo will lead a poetry lecture at the Fogelson Forum at Texas Health Dallas.

Campo is a professor and practicing physician of internal medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He also teaches in the creative writing MFA program at Lesley University. His most recent books include Diva, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry, and The Enemy, which won the Sheila Motton Book prize, given for the best collection of poetry by the New England Poetry Club. His work has been widely anthologized, and has appeared in the Best American Poetry and Pushcart Prize series.

On Oct. 24, The Literature and Medicine Conference will convene at the Fogelson Forum on the Texas Health Dallas campus. Featured keynote speaker John M. Barry will lead a lecture followed by a brief Q&A session and book signing.

Barry is a New York Times best-selling author whose books have won numerous awards. In 2005, the National Academies of Science named The Great Influenza: The story of the deadliest pandemic in history, a study of the 1918 pandemic, the year’s outstanding book on science or medicine. His articles have appeared in journals such as Nature and Journal of Infectious Disease as well as in other publications ranging from Sports Illustrated to The Washington Post, TIME and Newsweek.

Prior to the conference, students, residents, physicians and others were encouraged to reflect on their professional roles and experiences through shorts stories, poetry, fiction and personal narratives during a writing contest. The winner, who will receive a $500 grand prize, will be announced at the Oct. 24 meeting.

This year’s literary events are supported by the Lupe Murchison Foundation and the Dr. Bob and Jean Smith Foundation. For more information or to register for one of the lectures or workshops, visit

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is an 898-bed acute care hospital and recognized clinical program leader, having provided compassionate care to the residents of Dallas and surrounding communities since 1966. U.S. News and World Report has ranked Texas Health Dallas among the nation’s best hospitals in digestive disorders, orthopedics, and neurology and neurosurgery. An affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, Texas Health Dallas has approximately 4,000 employees and an active medical staff of more than 1,000 physicians. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit

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