Building Healthcare Collectives Project to Host Symposium

As part of a $140,000 grant from Humanities Without Walls (HWW), the Building Healthcare Collectives (BHC) project is holding an interdisciplinary health services research symposium in East Lansing, Michigan, April 11-13 at the Henry Center for Executive Development on the campus of Michigan State University and Sparrow Hospital.

The goal of the BHC project is to center humanities expertise in healthcare by creating an infrastructure through which clinicians, health services and humanities researchers, community partners, and activists can work together to solve key problems facing the U.S. healthcare system, with a specific focus on health equity. 

“We are so excited to work on this project, which builds capacity for research teams for action-oriented research that can affect meaningfully the lives of patients and the communities in which they live,” said Dawn Opel, Assistant Professor in MSU’s Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures and a member of the BHC research team. “The Symposium is a unique opportunity to develop and sustain research teams across disciplines and workplaces who share a similar set of values and want to improve access to and quality of healthcare for all.”

The Symposium is a unique opportunity to develop and sustain research teams across disciplines and workplaces who share a similar set of values and want to improve access to and quality of healthcare for all.

Dawn Opel, Assistant Professor

The BHC Symposium will cover a variety of topics such as guiding concepts for humanities-driven health equity research, leveraging the humanities in health services research, grant writing, team building, project plan development, and community-engaged research. There will be workshops featuring MSU partners, the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative and the community-engaged research of Diane Doberneck, Associate Director of the National Collaborative for the Study of University Engagement at MSU.

The Symposium is limited to 50 Fellows from Michigan State University, The Ohio State University, and institutions across North America who were chosen through a competitive application process

However, the Grand Rounds lecture at Sparrow Hospital on Friday, April 12, at 10 a.m. is open to the public. The lecture, entitled “Leveraging the Humanities in Health Services Research,” will be presented by Bill Hart-Davidson, Associate Professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures and Associate Dean of Graduate Education for the College of Arts & Letters at MSU; Adesuwa Olomu, Professor of Medicine and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine at MSU; and Karen Kelly-Blake, Assistant Professor in the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences in the College of Human Medicine. Clinicians who attend the Grand Rounds lecture can earn one credit of continuing medical education credit.

Photo of brown brick building with trees and plants in front of it
The BHC Symposium will be held at the Henry Center for Executive Development.


The BHC project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between researchers at MSU’s College of Arts & Letters’ Critical Diversity in a Digital Age Research (CEDAR) collective and The Ohio State University’s Department of English. The research team includes:

  • Jacqueline Rhodes, Professor and Chair of MSU’s Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
  • Dawn Opel, Assistant Professor in MSU’s Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
  • Eric Rodriguez, Doctoral Student in MSU’s Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures
  • Elizabeth Marks, MSU
  • Christa Teston, Associate Professor in OSU’s Department of English
  • Margaret Price, Associate Professor in OSU’s Department of English
  • John Jones, Associate Professor in OSU’s Department of English
  • Liz Miller, Graduate Research Associate in OSU’s Department of English

For more information on the BHC, visit the Building Healthcare Collectives website.