We are pleased to invite you to take part in a conversation with Dr Stephen Bergman (Shem) (Massachusetts & Balliol 1966), author of the bestsellers ‘The House of God’ and ‘Mount Misery’, on the role humanity plays within medicine. Shem will talk about his most recent novel and the power of writing in dialogue with Dr Romina Mariano (South Africa-at-Large & Queen's 2016).
Dr Romina Mariano (SA-at-Large & Queen’s 2016) is a clinician scientist who is passionate about neuroscience and mental health. She is a medical doctor from Johannesburg, South Africa who recently submitted her DPhil in Clinical Neurosciences. During the first year of her medical internship at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, she was told by a senior doctor on the ward “you cannot be a successful medical intern unless you have read The House of God”.
Samuel Shem, pen-name of Steve Bergman, is a novelist, playwright, and activist. A Harvard and Harvard Medical School graduate and a Rhodes Scholar (Balliol ’66; D.Phil.), he is Professor of Medical Humanities at NYU School of Medicine. His first novel The House of God, is a world classic. In 2020, the Washington Post listed it “One of the twelve Novels that Changed the World.” On Publishers Weekly’s 2016 list of “The 10 Best Satires of All Time” it was Number 2 (#1 Quixote; #3, Catch-22). Another novel, The Spirit of the Place was winner of two American national book Awards. With Dr. Janet Surrey he wrote: the Off Broadway play Bill W. and Dr. Bob, about the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous; the novel The Buddha’s Wife, and We Have to Talk: Healing Dialogues Between Women and Men.
Shem has given talks on six continents, “Staying Human in Medicine: the Danger of Isolation and the Healing Power of Good Connection.” In 2002 he published a classic essay in Annals of Internal Medicine, “Fiction as Resistance.”