The Desire to Heal: A Doctor’s Education in Empathy, Identity, and Poetry.
doors open, 4 p.m.
72 East Concord Street
Empathy in Medicine
Importance of Identity
Poetry in Patients’ Words
SPH Reads is a school-wide program hosted by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The 2019 selection, nominated by the Queer Alliance, is The Desire to Heal: A Doctor’s Education in Empathy, Identity, and Poetry, by Rafael Campo.
A memoir published in 1997, The Desire to Heal is a collection of essays exploring the author’s Cuban-American identity, his coming to terms as a gay man and physician during the emergence of HIV/AIDS in America, and his inescapable bond to the young patients—mostly brown-skinned gay men—he and his colleagues could not keep from dying.
Dr. Rafael Campo is a physician and a poet. He is a primary care practitioner at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and a professor at Harvard Medical School. He has published eight books of poetry and won several poetry awards. He is the editor of the Poetry and Medicine section of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Rafael Campo, Poet and Physician, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Jerome Groopman, writing in the New York Times Book Review, says of his work, “Valuable and moving…he is undaunted by the ugliness of the physical deterioration apparent before his eyes, seeking always to capture the beauty of the human soul in struggle with physical reality;” while the Los Angeles Times proclaims it “reminiscent of Chekhov…in the way language comes up out of the body.” The poet Sydney Lea, in a review for The Hudson Review, affirms “Campo chooses ritual gatherings not to celebrate our alienations, but our commonality, in which for the good doctor hope resides. Rafael Campo is inevitably a poet of heartbreak, yet he remains a poet of accompanying hope.”
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