Cross-Pollinations: Canadian Health Humanities Virtual Rounds Series

The Canadian Association for Health Humanities and the League of Canadian Poets are partnering to deliver a series of monthly rounds focused on health, arts and humanities. These live sessions will feature both artists and professionals in the Health Humanities field for a multi-faceted conversation about topics related to healthcare, art, healing, and humanities.

In this ground-breaking new series, health humanities and poetry come together under the same scope, combining artistic expression with health practice and research. The conversations of Cross-Pollinations will illuminate new and emerging insights and perspectives on healthcare opportunities and challenges, healthcare approaches and advances, as well as build bridges of connection between health professionals, humanities and the arts.

This series is ideal for people in arts communities, poets and writers, as well as those working in healthcare.

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.


Next event:

Poetry, Poetics and Experiential Knowledge of Disability

with Emilia Nielsen and Tea Gerbeza

Wednesday November 24, 2021 at 6pmEST/3pmPST.

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.

Register for this event today!

Emilia Nielsen is Assistant Professor of Arts, Medicine and Healing in the Health & Society Program at York University. She is the author of a scholarly text, Disrupting Breast Cancer Narratives: Stories of Rage and Repair (University of Toronto Press, 2019), and two collections of poetry. Body Work (Signature Editions, 2018) was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, the League of Canadian Poets’ Pat Lowther Memorial Award and took third place in the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry. Her first book of poetry, Surge Narrows (Leaf Press, 2013), was a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award.

Tea Gerbeza (she/her) is a disabled and neurodivergent queer poet, writer, editor, and multimedia artist creating in Treaty 4 territory (Regina, SK) and on the Homeland of the Métis Nation. Tea holds an MFA in Writing from the University of Saskatchewan and an MA in English & Creative Writing from the University of Regina. In 2019, Tea’s poetry won an Honourable Mention in the 2019 Short Grain Contest. Most recently, her scanograph, “My Father Catches Me Confronting Memory,” won an Honourable Mention in Room magazine’s 2021 Cover Art Contest, and she was a finalist for Palette Poetry’s 2021 Emerging Poet Prize. Find out more on

Upcoming Events

  • December 29, 2021: A recorded poetry reading featuring Leanne Dunic, Fiona Tinwei Lam, and Armand Garnet Ruffo
  • January 26, 2022: Monica Kidd, Pam Hall, and Andrea Thompson
  • February 23, 2022: Shane Neilson and K. Hughes
  • March 30, 2022
  • April 27, 2022
  • May 25, 2022
  • June 29, 2022
  • July 27, 2022
  • August 14, 2022

Past Events

Provide feedback on past events here.

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 29, 2021 – Palliative Care and beyond: Palliative care researcher 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. Watch the recording here.


August 25, 2021 – Narrative 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. Watch the recording here.

June 30, 2021 – Literary Lessons on Doctoring: Maryam Golafshani, 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, who read from their Trillium Award-winning poetry collection Sick. Read Maryam’s talk here, and Jody’s set here; view the recording here.

May 26, 2021 – Let’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. View the recording here.

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. View the recording here.

March 3, 2021: Jen Sebring and Lauren turner explored 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.”. View the recording here

January 27, 2021: Launch event Featuring poets Charlie C Petch, Ron Charach, Samantha Jones and Rajinderpal S. Pal. This event was poetry-packed and an excellent celebration of this new series and collaboration.

This Series is sponsored by the League of Canadian Poets, the Canadian Association for Health Humanities and the Health Arts Research Centre.