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Seminars and Events

All events are FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

  • On-street parking and paid lots nearby – arrive early to ensure you find a spot!
  • Wheelchair accessible space & bathrooms
  • ASL interpreters provided upon request.
  • Please refrain from using scented products in order to ensure the comfort and safety of participants.
  • Contact: CCM Coordinator Zoreslava Osiv, MBA at osivz@upstate.edu or 315-464-2345 or CCM Executive Director Rebecca Garden, PhD, at gardenr@upstate.edu or 315-464-9795.


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Seminars 2019-2020

Graphic Medicine: Can Comics Improve Our Health?

MK Czerwiec, Nurse Comic Creator
Thursday, January 23, 2020, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
New Academic Building 4414BC (Accessible through Weiskotten Hall)

SUNY Upstate Medical University
766 Irving Ave., Syracuse, NY 13210

Learn how the growing field of graphic medicine can benefit all involved in health/care, whether in the clinic, the classroom, or the community.

In this talk, nurse, cartoonist, and co-founder of the field of Graphic Medicine MK Czerwiec (Comic Nurse) will discuss how comics can help improve our health by making health education more engaging, by amplifying the perspectives of patients and families, as a tool for conducting and translating our research, and as a means by which we can explore our experiences with health, illness, disability, and caregiving.

Cultivating Care: A Graphic Medicine Workshop

MK Czerwiec, Nurse Comic Creator
Friday, January 24, 2020, 10:00 – 12:00 Noon
Setnor Hall 3509/10 (Accessible through Weiskotten Hall)

SUNY Upstate Medical University
766 Irving Ave., Syracuse, NY 13210

Engage with graphic medicine exercises to explore creative, reflective, and inclusive practices for care of self and others.

This will be an engaged "hands-on" workshop in which participants will have the opportunity to participate in graphic medicine exercises led by MK Czerwiec, a leader in the graphic medicine field. The workshop will give students, faculty, staff, and community members new ways to explore experiences of health, disability, illness, healthcare, and health science education.

In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids

Travis Rieder, PhD
Thursday, September 19, 2019, 5:00 – 6:30 PM
Weiskotten Hall, First Floor (Medical Alumni Auditorium)
SUNY Upstate Medical University
766 Irving Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13210

Opioids are powerful pain medications, but they are also dangerous—as America has seen all too clearly over the last decade, when use of the drug has driven an unprecedented drug overdose crisis. This dual nature of opioids sets up a potent dilemma for doctors, patients, and the broader healthcare system: how do we use opioids responsibly against the backdrop of this epidemic?

That’s the question that Travis Rieder set out to answer after he saw the benefits and the risks of opioids a little too up close and personal, following a motorcycle accident in 2015. With the experience of a pain and opioid therapy patient and the perspective of an academic philosopher and bioethicist, Rieder’s work asks all of us to think carefully about proper use of these drugs. His talk will overview some of the central themes of his book,In Pain, which was published by HarperCollins in June 2019, including: how good are we actually at treating pain? How did we get to the point we’re at now, where opioids are killing tens of thousands of Americans each year? And how do we fix it?

Link to Book: https://www.amazon.com/Pain-Bioethicists-Personal-Struggle-Opioids-ebook/dp/B07JZBPPL1

Link to TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/travis_rieder_the_agony_of_opioid_withdrawal_and_what_doctors_should_tell_patients_about_it

Link to Fresh Air Interview: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/07/08/738952129/motorcycle-crash-shows-bioethicist-the-dark-side-of-quitting-opioids-alone

Art in Medicine: A Science of Desirable and Detestable Bodies

Rachel Fein-Smolinkski, MFA
Thursday, October 10, 2019, 5:00 PM
Health Sciences Library, Weiskotten Hall, First Floor
SUNY Upstate Medical University
766 Irving Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13210

A discussion of the work made from Archives & Special Collections at SUNY Upstate Medical University Health Sciences Library. A Science of Desirable/Detestable Bodies is a site-specific installation in SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Health Sciences Library. It includes large-scale prints of patient portraits from the clinical photographs collection in The Archives and Special Collections, sci-fi inspired studio tableaux of historical artifacts and medications from the object collection, images produced through biomedical imaging techniques (e.g. x-rays, photomicrographs) and illustrations from rare books and medical texts. These images reflect the courage, pain, and complex private narratives embedded within the institution’s history. As a former patient at Upstate, I have been dependent upon, beholden to, and present within the historical narrative of the institution. With this autobiographical influence in mind, there is a private subjectivity signified within each image of patients preserved in the archives. Using the sci-fi genre as a license to sublimate my scopophilic (visually indulgent) relationship with the aesthetics of science, I explore how knowledge is produced, documented, and disseminated in favor of assuaging the pain of others within the histories of institutionalized healthcare, and question what sort of historical narratives are embedded within medical archives.



Psychiatric Disability, ‘Crip’ Culture, and Health Humanities: A Lecture on Madness, Graphic Medicine, Disability Studies, and Health Humanities

Elizabeth J. Donaldson, PhD
Tuesday, October 29, 2019, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
114 Bird Library (Peter Graham Scholarly Commons)

Syracuse University
222 Waverly Ave, Syracuse, NY 13244

Drawing Out the Public Sphere: A Workshop Focusing on Psychiatric Disability

Elizabeth J. Donaldson, PhD
Wednesday, October 30, 2019, 10:00 – 12:00 Noon
304 Tolley Humanities Building

Syracuse University

Graphic Medicine: Can Comics Improve Our Health?

MK Czerwiec, Nurse Comic Creator
Thursday, January 23, 2019, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
New Academic Building 4414BC (Accessible through Weiskotten Hall)

SUNY Upstate Medical University
766 Irving Ave., Syracuse, NY 13210

Cultivating Care: A Graphic Medicine Workshop

MK Czerwiec, Nurse Comic Creator
Friday, January 24, 2019, 10:00 – 12:00 Noon
Setnor Hall 3509/10 (Accessible through Weiskotten Hall)

SUNY Upstate Medical University
766 Irving Ave., Syracuse, NY 13210
‘Cripping’ Graphic Medicine is part of the 2019-2020 Syracuse Symposium on SILENCE.

More Past Seminars and Events

The Changing Face of American Abortion Laws: Medicine, Politics, and Policy

Jonathan Parent, PhD, Political Science, Le Moyne College

September 16, 2016 While no legal restrictions on abortion access existed in the late 18th century, statutes targeting the practice began to appear by the 1820s. Indeed, New York was among the first states to ban abortion, passing what was at the time arguably the most draconian law against the procedure in 1828. By the turn of the 20th century, the intentional termination of a pregnancy was a felony in every state in the country. The conflict over abortion policy in American society, then, is far from a recent development, despite the sea change represented by the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. How supporters and opponents of legal abortions have understood, articulated, and framed their positions, however, has shifted dramatically over time. This talk will focus on how Americans’ perceptions of abortion have evolved from a concern on the part of physicians about the safety of the procedure to an ongoing debate about a woman’s constitutional right to terminate her pregnancy that dominates political discourse to this day. What is revealed from this longitudinal look is a fascinating story of how medicine, politics, and the law all intersect in an attempt to create policy surrounding one of the most controversial issues in our society.

Deaf Awareness Panel

Michael Schwartz, PhD, Monu Chhetri, Jennifer Wissman and Roman Kazragis

September 22, 2015 A conversation with a deaf Nepalese New American who interprets for the refugee community, a deaf law professor, an international sign language interpreter, and a deaf educator.

The knowledge and skills that clinicians gain from this informative conversation can translate into improved communication—and thus better healthcare—for all sorts of people, whatever their culture and communication modality.

Border Crossings:
Communication Across Cultures and Languages in Health Care

Jeremy Brunson, PhD, Monu Chhetri, Jennifer Wissman

March 19, 2015 A professor of sociology and sign language interpretation, a Deaf Bhutanese woman who leads the community-wide Deaf Refugee Coalition in Syracuse, and a sign language interpreter with international experience discuss issues of cultural and linguistic differences in health care and best practices for cross-cultural communication and collaboration.

Does Lethal Language lead to Lethal Treatment? End-of-Life Issues

William J. Peace, PhD, Renee Crown Honors Program,
The Jeanette K. Watson Distinguished Visiting Professor
Humanities Center, Syracuse University

March 28, 2014. We will discuss the decision-making strategies that take place immediately after devastating injuries, focusing in particular on decisions to remove patients from life-sustaining treatment. Of particular interest are patient autonomy, the notion of dignity, terminal sedation, and VSED (voluntary suspension of eating and drinking).

The story of Timothy Bowers, the hunter who was taken off life-sustaining treatment twenty-four hours after experiencing a devastating spinal cord injury, will serve as a test case.

Disability: A Complex Interaction in a Globel Context

Mujde Koca-Atabey, PhD, Center on Human Policy, Law and Disability Studies, Syracuse University

November 6, 2013. Disability is defined differently in different parts of the world, and the experiences of disabled people are largely shaped by these definitions. The talk explores how disability can lead to anxiety or growth, depending on personal, social and cultural circumstances.

Dr. Sarah Loguen Fraser's Legacy:
Gender, Race, Medical Education, and Health Disparities

Sarah Berry, PhD, English Department, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

April 29, 2013. Dr. Sarah Loguen Fraser was one of the first Africa American women to earn a medical degree in the United States. Why and how did she address healtcare disparities 150 years ago? What challenges to diversity in meicine do we face today, how are diversity in medical education and healthcare disparities linked, and how can we address these challenges?

Disabilities, Illness, and Medicine: Poets as Patient Educators

Jim Ferris, Stephen Kuusisto, Laurie Clements Lambeth

March 28, 2013. Why do we teach poetry, memoir, and creative prose written by those who seek health care alongside anatomy, the basic sciences, and the organ systems and read it as a part of lifelong learning? How can the perspectives of those who have had deep experiences with health care as patients shape the way you practice medicine and nursing?

Join us for a creative conversation with poets and disability studies scholars whose writing looks back at health care from the patient’s perspective.

Cognitive and Dialiectical Behavior Therapy as Health Promotion Strategies

Jaak Rakfeldt, PhD, Social Work Department, Southern Connecticut State University

March 25, 2013. The presentation will focus on the wellness fostering aspects of Cognitive and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (CBT/DBT). While CBT and DBT are recognized as present-focused, action-oriented, evidence-based best practice psychotherapies for many forms of mental health and substance use problems, CBT/DBT strategies, skills, and techniques may also serve to promote general health and well being as well.

The Consortium for Culture and Medicine Celebrates 30 Years & Honors Dr. Robert W. Daly

Dr. Robert Pickett, Dr. Thomas Ewens, and Dr. Robert Daly

April 14, 2009. The Syracuse Consortium for the Cultural Foundations of Medicine was founded in 1978 by Dr. Robert Pickett, Syracuse University, Dr. Thomas Ewens from Le Moyne College. and Dr. Robert Daly, SUNY Upstate Medical University (left to right).


The Consortium for Culture and Medicine is a collaborative endeavor between SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse University and Le Moyne College to engage in scholarship related to the cultural foundations of medical theory and practice. It serves a unique function by aligning the three institutions and uniting scholarly exploration across them – moving beyond discipline-specific or profession-centered education to a truly interdisciplinary pursuit of knowledge. 

For info contact Consortium Director Rebecca Garden. All Consortium Seminars are wheelchair accessible; sign language interpretation available upon request.