Announcing the Year of Health as Theme Year 2014-2015
January 21, 2014, Volume 60, No. 19
In 2014-2015, the Provost’s theme year topic will be the Year of Health, devoted to the investigation of health, wellness and welfare across many areas.
Health is an area of primary concern to all of our constituents. Many of Penn’s resource centers are actively involved in it—Penn Medicine, an internationally famous center for care, teaching and research; our School of Nursing; the Center for Public Health and others. But the topic is equally engaging across all of Penn’s schools. The study of medicine, medical care and health in general is key to understanding history and even interpreting literature and art. It is a driving force in business and a major factor in technological development. Equally, it’s a fundamental concern in law, ethics and religion.
The Year of Health is the eighth in the theme year series, and it seems particularly timely now. On the national level, issues of healthcare and insurance are on the frontline. In addition, this year we celebrate the 250th anniversary of the Penn Medical School, which was founded in 1765. In January 2015, Penn Med will open a new advanced care and trauma center.
As with all theme years, the goal is a topic that can engage the entire Penn community—undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff and alumni—and offer collaborative program opportunities across the campus and into the community. The Year of Health is exceptionally well positioned for this kind of exploration.
Additional information about the theme year and its history can be found at: www.yearofhealth.org
Year of Health Grants Program
To further the goals of the theme year, the Office of New Student Orientation and Academic Initiatives will sponsor Year of Health grants that will support opportunities for programs and research. The Grants Committee will evaluate each proposal based on the strength of its relationship to the topic, the quality and innovation of the project and its potential to engage and involve the Penn community. We encourage multi-disciplinary and/or collaborative projects between Penn student organizations and academic departments/programs.
Proposals can be submitted directly through the Year of Health website. Grants of up to $750 are available to Penn faculty, students and staff, either individually or in groups. Groups are limited to one applicant per academic year. There will be some additional funding available for special projects—generally, larger conferences, speakers or special symposia that are co-sponsored by several Penn Schools or Centers. Examples of programs that received additional funding during the Year of Sound include several courses offered through the Ben Franklin Scholars program, the English department’s Winter Reading Project and a day-long interdisciplinary symposium on Sound and the Brain.
Year of Health Grant guidelines and application form are available on-line www.themeyeargrants.org Submitted proposals will be reviewed in cycles beginning April 1, 2014.
For More Information: contact: David Fox, director of New Student Orientation and Academic Initiatives, firstname.lastname@example.org (215) 573-5636.
Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down Penn Reading Project Book 2014-2015
The Provost, the Council of Undergraduate Deans and the Office of New Student Orientation and Academic Initiatives are pleased to announce that The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman will be the text for the 2014-2015 Penn Reading Project (PRP). On the afternoon of Monday, August 25, 2014, groups of first-year students and faculty leaders discuss the book as part of New Student Orientation for the Class of 2018. (Please note that PRP will take place on Monday, rather than Sunday.)
The Spirit Catches You explores the story of a Hmong family, refugees from Laos who immigrated to California, whose young daughter was diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Despite the best intentions of everyone involved—medical workers and family members—cultural misunderstandings led to tragedy—but as physician and writer Perri Klass put it, Fadiman’s book, published in 1997, “changed how doctors see themselves and how they see their patients. Anne Fadiman celebrates the complexity and the individuality of the human interactions that make up the practice of medicine while simultaneously pointing out directions for change.” The steering committee at Penn, who chose the book, also praised the way The Spirit Catches You explores both global medical issues, as well as those central to American healthcare practices. PRP, now entering its 24th year, was created as an introduction for incoming freshmen to academic life at Penn. Past Penn Reading Projects have included Adam Bradley’s Book of Rhymes, John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, Jane McGonigal’s Reality is Broken, Rose George’s The Big Necessity, Neil Shubin’s Your Inner Fish, Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture, Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia—as well as Thomas Eakins’ painting, The Gross Clinic. Information about the Penn Reading Project and its history can be found at: www.yearofhealth.org
Faculty members and senior academic administrators in all twelve schools are invited to take part as PRP discussion leaders. A copy of the text will be sent to discussion leaders and students in July, along with additional information about the Reading Project. If you wish to sign up, you may go directly to the database: www.prpleaders.org (If you registered last year, you can simply update your information and also indicate if you’ll participate in this year’s prep session and lectures).