Medical Humanities is an interdisciplinary field of medicine with includes the humanities, social science and the arts and their application to medical education and practice.

My work in this field began in 2015 working with the office of Career, Life and Service at Grinnell College to build a partnership with Des Moines University, an osteopathic medical college. Applying methodologies I have developed for embodied experiences as reflective tools, students from Grinnell join me and DMU faculty working with medical students by using reflective art practices to supplement a medical student’s acquisition of procedural skills with a conscientious attitude for professional identity development in moral, ethical and service considerations.


National Endowment for The Arts Creativity Connects: Medicine in Motion

Beginning in the summer of 2018, Celeste will be working with Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival as the lead investigator to adapt the core curricular concepts of Jacobs Pillow Curriculum in Motion® for Medicine in Motion. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts Creativity Connects, this partnership between Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and Berkshire Health Services will examine how the arts, and dance in particular, can be used to address challenges and needs specific to the medical field. The project will bring together JPCIM® Artist/Educators, medical practitioners, and administrators for a series of workshops and symposia to research how dance and the JPCIM® approach can improve the health and morale of employees, nurture creative problem-solving, and promote well-being.


I have presented on my work in this field at the following conferences:

  • Health Humanities Consortium, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH April 7-9, 2016 Paper: “Case Study Medical Humanities: The tools of Choreographic thinking in Medical Education”
  • Community-Campus Partnerships for Health (CCPH), May 11-14, 2016 ,New Orleans, Louisiana. Workshop: “Using Social Justice Theatre and Movement Exercises to In-Body, Understand, and Overcome Systems of Power and Oppression”
  • Health Humanities Consortium, UT Houston, Houston, TX March 9-11, 2017 Panel: “The Undeniability of the Body: The role of dance with both patients and medical practitioners” with Rachel Balaban and Julie Strandberg, Brown
  • University, Artist and Scientists as Partners Association of Directors of Medical Student Education in Psychiatry (ADMSEP), Santa Ana Pueblo, NM June 15-17, 2017 Poster: “Use of Story Circles Experience with Entering Medical Students” with Lisa Streyffler, Ph.D., Dept. Behavorial Medicine, Medical Humanities and Bioethics, Des Moines University.